Cover Stars Workout
Most gurus in the bodybuilding industry put all their focus into getting big, strong, and freaky lean – basically stage-ready for a bodybuilding contest. While that look is great, and while it does take a ton of willpower and dedication to achieve, it’s not what everyone wants! Some guys would rather look like cover stars, the ones they see on the front of every mainstream fitness magazine, and in just about every ad where the models have their shirts off.
Overall, training for a cover model physique isn’t that different from bodybuilding training. You’ll still need to lift heavy, eat right, get plenty of rest, and just optimize your overall lifestyle for muscle gain and fat loss. Still, there are definitely a few things you’ll need to differently. Your diet, training schedule, and progression throughout each year will have to reflect your goal to build and maintain that lean, aesthetic look. Here are the most important components of any cover stars workout!
Building The X-Frame
Also known as the class V-taper, the coveted “X-frame” is important in any physique sport, but it’s especially crucial for cover models. To build that shape, you’ll need wide shoulders, sweeping lats, and quads that flare out to your sides. When you stand up tall and present your physique, these muscles should form a clear “X” shape!
Ironically, the best lifts for building these muscles are the exercises everyone assume fitness models don’t do! Squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and heavy rows will build your legs, back, and shoulders faster than anything else, and you’ll fast-track your way to your ideal physique by including them in your routine.
What about becoming “blocky,” you ask? To be honest, most people just mean “fat” when they use that word. While heavy squats and deads will do a little to build up your abs and obliques, it’s damn near impossible to create significant hypertrophy in the muscles around your waist. You’ll keep your waist tight and maintain your taper with a year-round strict diet. More on that later.
The Right Proportions
Aside from your overall X-frame, you’ll need to accentuate certain smaller muscles to build the ideal cover star physique. In particular, your biceps, chest, and side delts will really need to pop!
For your biceps, the name of the game is curls, curls, and more curls. Stop listening to the “experts” who say you don’t need direct arm work! Nobody ever build an impressive pair of guns without paying them a lot of attention. Focus on arms and only arms on one day of each week, and hit your bis with dumbbells, barbells, machines, and more. And, while your biceps are the real money-maker as a cover model, don’t neglect your triceps, either!
For your chest, you’ll want to focus first on the upper pecs with incline benches, incline dumbbell presses, and incline flyes. Combine a couple of these movements at the beginning of each chest session, and follow those up with flat pressing, more machines, and some more flyes to finish off.
Finally, you’ll need to do TONS of side raises to build up your medial delts – the part of the shoulder that gives your upper body a full, rounded look from the front. Dumbbells are great, but don’t forget cable and machine variations. There are some great side raise machines out there that will really force you to strictly focus on your shoulders, not your traps.
Oh, and don’t think that accentuating these muscles groups means you can neglect the others! Unless you’re already an advanced bodybuilder, you always need to focus on building overall size, especially in your legs and back. Your cover model aspirations will just require that you do a little more work for those mirror muscles.
Dieting for Size And Aesthetics
The right diet – this is the toughest part of building and maintaining a cover star body! You probably got into lifting because you actually like it, but staying lean year-round is going to require some serious willpower and dedication to eating right 90+ percent of the time.
Whereas most bodybuilders get a little bulky in their off seasons, and while extra food does allow for extra mass gains, you’re not going to be able to let your diet slip – at least not if you want to look like a cover star throughout the year! 5-6 meals per day, 7 days per week, you’ll need to focus on lean proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates around workout times ONLY! It’s excess carbs – even healthy ones like oatmeal and rice – that will keep you from getting and staying six-pack lean. If you want to optimize fat loss and avoid fat gain while building muscle, don’t eat carbs at any other time of the day.
Aside from nutrient timing, you’ll also need to determine the proper overall amounts of food for your goals. If you’re trying to gain purely lean muscle, you will need to gradually gain weight – about 1 or 2 pounds per month. If you’re trying lean up, you’ll want to lose around a pound per week. Keep a close eye on how your physique actually looks, but let the scale be your guide when gauging long-term progress on any given diet, and adjust your calorie intake accordingly.
Fortunately, you won’t need to slave away at a boring diet for EVERY meal, though. In fact, the occasional cheat meal can actually enhance your progress! If you’re a naturally lean guy, allow yourself 2 cheat meals per week, but make sure they’re just MEALS – not hours-long carb binges. If you tend towards the fatter side, go with 1 moderately-sized cheat meal per week, but only once you’ve dropped below 15 percent body fat or so. If you can’t see any ab definition at all, your body doesn’t need a cheat meal!
Thanks to the author: Justin Woltering (www.justinwoltering.com)
Get more like this
in your inbox
Sign up for our daily email with fitness and nutrition tips, diets and weight loss programs, health news, and more.