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While some may say they work out primarily for performance, virtually anyone who hits the gym does so, at least in part, to improve their appearance. The great thing is that little tweaks here and there can make dramatic improvements in your physique. Apply some of these aesthetic workout tips, and you’ll enhance your shape in no time.
One of the main goals of any aesthetic workout is to reduce bodyfat, as a leaner body is going to always be a better-looking body. While getting your diet in check is generally considered the most effective for fat loss, adding a solid dose of cardio to your workout will help hasten the process.
Many trainees think that you should either only do HIIT (high intensity interval training) or long, slow cardio to shed unwanted bodyweight. The benefit of the former is that it doesn’t take as long, and it’s become widely recognized that the body continues to burn calories for several hours after your workout is over. However, a growing concern with HIIT according to a 2006 paper in the Journal of Sports Sciences, is that the post-workout calorie burn might not be as high as everyone originally thought.
At the same time, you still see some trainees who espouse primarily long, slow aerobic cardio to burn calories. They like to cite that not only has it been proven in the lab to work, but has been the primary fat loss choice of bodybuilders for as long as anyone can remember. The obvious problem is that it can take several hours per week to burn enough calories to make a real difference.
A “best of both worlds” approach would be to mix the two. Pick your favorite cardio activity, do an easy warmup, then 5-10 minutes of hard intervals (say 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off). After that, follow up with another 20-30 minutes of easy aerobic cardio. Doing this 2-3x per week can get you the fat loss benefits of both sides, while making up for both of their shortcomings.
Most trainees (especially the guys) who try to improve arm development have a tendency to focus primarily on the biceps. The problem with this is that the triceps actually make up 60% of the upper arm as there are two biceps muscles, but three triceps muscles. If building bigger “guns” is going to be part of your aesthetic workout, be sure to do as much triceps work as biceps work, if not a little bit more.
Keeping the upper arm theme going, while full, thick biceps look good, a biceps with a defined “peak” looks even better. This is why including any curl variation in which your palms face each other in your aesthetic workout is a good idea. These curls target the outside head of the biceps called the brachialis, and it’s this muscle that “bunches” together when you contract your upper arm to create that “peak” on top. Hammer curls for 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps are a good choice.
Too often trainees center their leg workouts around squats, leg presses, leg extensions, and hamstring work. This is fine, but a well-rounded aesthetic workout would also include direct movements for both the glutes and calves. Including hip thrusts for 3-4 heavy sets of 8-10 and standing calf raises for 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps would benefit both men and women who want to improve overall lower body development.
One tip you can apply to almost any area of your aesthetic workout is to slow your rep cadence down to better stimulate the muscle. It’s common to see trainees use weight that’s too heavy, do their reps fast and sloppy, or even simply just “go through the motions”. None of these will contribute to better muscular development. Instead, they’ll just waste your time and possibly get you injured.
Instead, lower the weight, and perform your reps in a slower, more controlled manner. You don’t have to necessarily count a prescribed number up and/or down, but one to two seconds in each direction should fit the bill. This will be slow enough to ensure proper muscle fiber stimulation, but still be fast enough that you’ll be able to use adequate weight, thus not short-changing any strength gains.
These times might seem fairly minor, and that’s really the point. You don’t have to overhaul your entire aesthetic workout in order to get better results. Instead, placing attention in a few key areas can dramatically improve your physique results with minimal additional effort and/or time.