Americans are always looking for ways to improve and better themselves; we're a nation that continually seeks progress and sets its goals as high as possible. And no other country's citizens are more interested in building a muscular, appealing body than those of the United States. That said, what exactly is the ideal physique? After all, we're sure you'd love to have one.
In our minds, the best physiques possess a dramatic V-taper above the waist — wide lats, delts and pecs — and an inverted V below the belt - a narrow waist and wide quads.
In other words, the ideal body shape is that of a perfectly symmetrical X, and our eight-week program aims to help you produce just that. In a country where capitalism rules, why not capitalize on all that your muscles have to offer?
The workouts in our Red, White and Huge program are all about helping you sculpt a superhero's silhouette and build width in all the right places — shoulders (middle delts), back (upper lats), arms (lateral head of the triceps), thighs (outer quad sweep) — while minimizing width in the midsection.
And how do you whittle the size of your waist: By avoiding all ab and oblique training? Um, no. While you want to make sure all of your oblique work is done for high reps using only your bodyweight to avoid building mass, you can use another trick, too: a weightlifting belt.
Scientists from Duke University Medical Center (Durham, North Carolina) found that lifters who performed deadlifts without a belt involved their obliques more. This could make your waist thicker, which detracts from your V-taper. When test subjects wore a belt while deadlifting, they used their abs more and obliques less.
Because your chest typically adds thickness to the sides of your frame, pec development is essential to an X-frame physique, particularly the upper and outer pecs. Well-developed upper pecs — spanning your torso from one shoulder to the other — and outer pecs accentuate shoulder width. Hence, our program focuses on these areas as well.
Red, White and Huge is an intensive eight-week program broken down into two four-week phases.
However, use these techniques on only the exercises that target the X-frame muscles (middle delts, upper lats, triceps' lateral head, outer quads, and upper and outer pecs).
Phase 2 incorporates higher reps to build more refined muscularity and, in turn, accentuate the X-frame. This phase employs the pre-exhaust intensity technique to zero in on the target muscles. For example, perform lateral raises, which focus primarily on the middle deltoid head, to pre-exhaust that area.
When you then move to overhead presses, you'll fail when the middle delts fail as opposed to when your arms give out. This is the best way to ensure that you target the muscle of interest. Moreover, supersetting the pre-exhaust exercise pairs really cranks up the intensity and promotes hypertrophy.
The second phase of the program involves a lot of single-limb movements to focus on the individual X-frame muscle groups. Cable work is also emphasized because it places continual tension on the muscles.
In the sample training split on page 78, shoulders fall at the beginning of the week and chest comes later. This is atypical for an M&F split, but because the delts are a critical muscle group in developing width, they take a higher priority than chest during this program, as does back.
For The Entire Red, White & Huge Program, Pick Up The November Issue Of M&F, On Newsstands Now!
To Find Out How To Eat For An X-Frame, Visit www.muscleandfitness.com.