Blueprint of the Perfect Body

Ryan Terry's guide to getting what the judges are looking for in Men's physique competitions.

Blueprint of the Perfect Body

As men’s physique competitors, we should strive for that perfect beach body look—aesthetically pleasing and in proportion. We train just as intensely as any bodybuilder aiming for that perfect X shape, but the difficulty lies in conditioning without becoming bulky or letting one muscle group dominate another. So, how to achieve this look?


When looking at a men’s physique competitor on stage, the first thing that always stands out to me is a wide set of shoulders. I find that this helps to create the illusion of a smaller waist and, thus, a V taper. The best exercises I’ve found to help achieve this are to hit my shoulders firstly with a large compound movement involving all heads. This usually involves a type of press, either dumbbell or overhead barbell, followed by a side lateral movement to really isolate the lateral head of my delts. This, in turn, will help create that width. Here is one of my favourite shoulder work-outs for achieving that look:

Shoulder Workout

2 warm up sets

Side lateral raises: 15-20 reps

Dumbbell press or plate loaded shoulder press: 15-20 reps

3 giant sets

Dumbbell or plate loaded shoulder press: 8-12 reps

Side lateral raises heavy weight: 10-12 reps

Drop set, 50% of weight: 15-20 reps

Finish with heavy partial raises: 10-12 reps (for added resistance, get training partner to force on elbows)

3 giant sets

Rear dumbbell flyes on incline bench: 10-12 reps

Standing bent over dumbbell flyes: 10-12 reps

Cable rope face pulls: 10-12 reps


Cable shoulder press: 3 x 10-12 reps


Heavy dumbbell shrugs: 3 x 12-15 reps

For the cable shoulder press exercise, I set a seated bench between the cable crossovers and aim to pyramid up my weight on the stack each set aiming for around 10-12 reps, then straight into a standing dumbbell shrug aiming to increase the weight each set but still reaching 12-15 reps. This superset takes me nicely into my trap focused exercise. For traps, I like to use either a barbell shrug or plate loaded shrug, nice and basic, really focusing on that squeeze.

3 giant sets

Barbell shrug or plate loaded shrug: 8-12 reps

This shoulder workout will hit all heads of the shoulders and give you that increased intensity from the higher rep ranges and drop sets, which will give your shoulders a much more aesthetic and pleasing look.

Next Up: Chest

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