Aesthetics and exercise selection

10.151 Once you have built good overall development, aesthetics may play a large role in the exercises or specific variations you employ. If you are a function-first strength trainee, such as a powerlifter, aesthetics may be of little importance but strength balance should be very important. If you are primarily a bodybuilder, aesthetics may heavily influence your exercise selection.

10.152 As already noted in this chapter, training your neck, calves and grip is an important part of overall aesthetics.

10.153 You may choose exercises for specific purposes, or you may avoid certain exercises. If your pecs respond well to the supine bench press, and are large, do not hammer away at the same movement and overdevelop your pecs. Move to the incline variation instead, or perhaps the parallel bar dip. If you get little or no lat development from dumbbell rows, find a core exercise that does develop your lats. If you get little or no biceps development from lat work, include direct work for your biceps.

10.154 Once you are already well developed and know how specific exercise variations work for you, you may select or modify your exercises accordingly.

10.155 Regardless of whether or not you put aesthetics high on your priority list, you will probably find an exercise or two that you can, relatively speaking, do much better at than the other exercises. You will then have the option of making a natural strength more outstanding. ^is will let you achieve something exceptional (both in poundage and development) in that limited area. Alternatively you could back off in your natural bias(es), to try to get balance throughout your body. My advice is to make the most of any natural strength(s) you have. But the final choice is yours.

10.156 As explained in Chapter 4, there is the matter of how lean you are and how visible your development is. For an appearance-first bodybuilder this is a major factor.

10.157 Finally, remember to pay attention to your posture and gait. How you hold your body, and walk, has a big bearing on how you present your muscular development.^

Exercise selection alone can make the difference between training success and failure. And even if you are using the best exercises, if you do not use perfect exercise technique you will get nowhere but into the quagmire of injuries, frustration and failure.

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^e understanding of good exercise technique is one thing, and vital in its own right. But being able to practice it yourself is another matter. Intelligent use of a video camera will help you to develop good exercise form. See the insider's tell-all handbook on weight-training technique for detailed instructions on how to use a video camera to increase training productivity.

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k A any people get themselves so concerned with what Jil. is the "best" rep cadence (and rep range, pace of training, and many other matters) that they forget that of first importance is good and safe form, hard work, and progressive poundages. Even if you had the "perfect" combination of rep cadence, rep range and pace of training, if you use sloppy form, do not train hard, and use stagnant training poundages, you will never build a big and strong physique.

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