“I think the main motivation for me with this whole bodybuilding experience is knowing that there's no such thing as ‘the perfect body’, But I'm gonna chase it as hard as I can.”
These words were said by 5 time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath. Phil recognizes that not even his physique is perfect, and just like all of us, he has weak points that he wants to improve. Too often, there are competitors who train and compete for years, yet they always seem to come into shows without improving their weak points while accentuating their strengths. This can lead to some major flaws in symmetry and proportion. I can see why this occurs, we like to train the body parts we are good at, we like to do what we are strong at, but body sculpting is an art that requires symmetry and planning. Neglecting this major aspect in our sport will often lead to discouraged competitors with a low placing.
The good news is, anybody can fix this issue with some careful observation and perhaps a judge’s opinion. Every show in the OPA offers the option to obtain a video critique from the judges which highlights what one should improve on for the next show; this is the first step in assessing your weaknesses. You must also analyze, why this is a weakness in the first place. The OPA judges are very helpful and clear when it comes to this, they are the ones that will be deciding placings, not your buddies at the gym that think it’s cool for you to hit one rep maxes every week.
A trend I notice in the athlete’s I train, is that the body parts they lack most are always left on the back burner, if they have time for it they’ll train them, or they won’t train it with as much intensity as they could because it is uncomfortable. But you must do something you’ve never done before, in order to see results you’ve never had before. If this is the case, it is just a matter of prioritizing that body part by training it earlier in the week, by having increased nutrients around that specific body part, and by really making sure you push yourself as hard as you do with other body parts. In this instance, it might not be a bad idea to look for a reputable trainer, or training with a knowledgeable partner. A good look at your weekly programming might also be worth reviewing, this ensures you are prioritizing these body parts and giving them enough time to recover.
Another common reason for lacking body parts is related to poor mobility and lack of a strong mind muscle connection. I mention both at the same time because these two can go hand in hand. In order to maximize the development of a muscle, it must be taken through its full range of motion (from a fully stretched position, to a fully contracted position) throughout a given workout. Many have mobility issues that will prevent them from reaching these extremes for a certain body part (for example, if you have tight hip flexors, you cannot fully stretch the quadriceps at the bottom of certain leg movements, causing you to lose the tension on the intended muscle, thus not maximizing your potential muscle gains and perhaps leading to injury). If you are not able to maintain constant tension on a given muscle, this leads to the next issue, the often neglected mind muscle connection.
This is very important for physique athletes because contractions and stress upon a muscle are what make it grow; if you are not able to contract effectively, you will not be able to develop a muscle to its full potential. Too many times, people at the gym just move weight around from point A to point B, but that is not our goal, the goal is to contract a muscle as hard as we can against said weight and maintaining constant tension. Focusing on these specific contractions can lead to colossal gains in the long run. Many times people cut themselves short in contracting by picking a weight that is too heavy for them, or by being distracted and just moving weight, but changing your physique involves a lot of mental fortitude and focus.
If you are an athlete that wants to keep improving their physique, keep these things in mind and prioritize the body parts that you are looking to improve the most. This can be achieved with a specifically tailored program, by making sure your muscles are appropriately mobile, and by focusing hard on contracting specific body parts. Keep in mind this is a sport of symmetry and proportion. The judges have certain criteria they look for in a physique, so placing well involves working on your weak points. Make sure to follow these tips and leave the judges” wowed” at your next show.
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.