When it comes to creating an effective workout there are many different variables to take into consideration. Progression scheme, a goal of the program, exercise selection and many more.
In my personal opinion, old-school strongmen had the best looking and probably the most functional bodies that were ever seen. When I’m thinking about old-school strongmen, I mean Eugen Sandow, Edward Aston, and other great athletes form their times. Their physiques had just enough muscles and were lean enough to look just great and be maintainable year round. They were also strong and flexible.
What type of training would be the best to achieve that old school greek sculpture-like appearance?
Definitely a good old fashion strength training. Focusing on specific movements that target muscle desirable muscles.
Here is what we should be focusing on:
1 Heavy Overhead Press
Doesn’t matter whether it’s with the barbell, dumbells kettlebells, one arm or handstand push-ups variables ( although you probably know my favourite among mentioned).
Heavy overhead pressing work wonders when it comes to building boulder super-hero shoulders. And let’s be honest well-developed shoulders are crucial for that type of look. Focus on getting progressively stronger in this exercise and add a bit of lateral raises work at the end of your workout and after time… by a new T-shirt, so you don’t look like in clothes after younger brother.
2. Pull-ups/vertical pull
Wide back is what creates a V-taper look. And pull-ups are No. 1 exercise to bring up your lats. Pull-ups/chin-ups are what most of us should be doing. If you cannot do them yet, try band assisted pull-ups or jumping pull-ups with slow negative or even Australian row. If normal pull up is to easy for you, add weight, or try archer pull-ups and work yourself up to the one arm pull-up/chin up.
Few tips here, pull from your elbows, touch the bar with your chest, and focus on putting a pressure on your small finger this way you will feel more lats engagement.
3. Rows/ Horizontal pull
While pull-ups will definitely do the job for lats. Rows will strengthen your trapezius and over-all middle back muscles. Again the variable is up to you ( barbell, dumbbells, machines, body weight, front lever rows) whatever you like and makes you feel your entire back working.
4. Horizontal Press
When it comes to building big bodybuilder-like chest, the bench press is probably the best thing you can do. However, if you want tighter, well-defined chest then different push-ups variations or vertical pressing like dips will do an amazing job for you. Whichever variant you choose, focus on performing it with a perfect form and lifting heavy.
If performed with a good form this is one of the best exercises for rock-hard abs, it has plenty of progressions and engages all abdominal muscles. Just an amazing 6-pack builder.
6. Squat variation/Deadlift
Alright, old-school strongmen probably didn’t squat a lot due to the fact that they had to do the clean before squatting. But heavy deadlifts and flips with kettlebells are some of the stuff that they were doing in circuses. So if you want more of a slim looking legs focus on front squats, pistol squats or deadlifts. Low reps and high intensity. If you prefer bulkier legs though then back squats are your best choice.
That’s it. Utilize incorporate these movements into your routine. Focus on progressive overload, eat well, and keep it enjoyable and if you want to look great, you will get to your goal faster than you think.