Q: I’m not a competitive bodybuilder or physique athlete, but I want to look muscular for more sex appeal. I train all my major muscles, but I want to specialize on the muscles women notice. Any ideas on which ones those are and the best way to make those attention-grabber muscles pop?
A: Several years ago IRON MAN did a survey, an anonymous poll of a number of women about their likes and dislikes concerning the male physique. The results were very interesting…
One of the key questions was, What is the physical attribute that first attracts you to a man? You want to know the answers because those would be the sex-appeal bodyparts you should specializing on. What were the bodyparts and muscles women notice? Drum roll, please… It was a dead heat between broad shoulders (40 percent) and muscular arms (35 percent). (There was another interesting result, which you’ll see in a moment.)
We want to stress that it was an anonymous survey because most women, when asked, won’t admit to being attracted to muscles. A good example is a story from Steve’s college-dating days…
She was the most gorgeous woman I’d ever been out with: straight, sun-bleached blond hair cascading down her back; legs that seemed to go on forever; a face like an angel’s; smooth, tan skin; and a limber, well-muscled body from years of being a cheerleader. I felt mighty cocky walking into the nightclub with her clinging to my arm—and I gloated even more when I saw my friends sitting at a far table with their mouths hanging open. I waved at them and whispered to her that one of them was a state bodybuilding champion. ‘Ooh!’ she said, pretending to swoon. She wasn’t impressed…
I’d shown her bodybuilding magazines plenty of times, and she had absolutely no interest. She said muscle guys were gross, so I didn’t even think of my bodybuilder buddy as a threat—till we walked over and I saw her zero in on the 18-inch arms hanging out of his shirt. Her eyes suddenly glazed over, her breathing got rapid, and I felt my ocean of confidence turn into a tidal wave of paranoia—for good reason.
Sure, I’d been training, but I’d also just finished final exams, so the gym hadn’t been a priority. Needless to say, my physique couldn’t compete at that point—but it wasn’t supposed to matter, remember? Bodybuilders were ‘gross,’ or so she thought until she saw a muscular set of arms in the flesh.
She talked and flirted with the guy for the rest of the night as I wallowed in depression. The silver lining: I learned something, and my next few workouts were very intense. In fact, I added about 1 1/2 inches to my arms in about a month.
So while a lot of women will tell you that muscles don’t matter one iota, maybe it’s because they haven’t been up close and personal with a set of well-developed shoulders and arms—a 3-D experience that can trigger certain primal instincts. But wait… What about abs?
Well, in the survey a flat stomach came in third at 20 percent, behind delts and arms; however, in a separate question, when asked if tight, rippling abs on a guy are a turn on, more than 70 percent said yes. So you should definitely add abs to your specialization list (awesome arms probably won’t counterbalance a bloated belly).
How do you specialize? First, to make sure your other bodyparts remain up to par—and continue to grow—train them with full-range Positions of Flexion. You could do two sets of the big midrange exercise and one set each of the stretch- and contracted-position move. So for your quads, you could do two sets of squats, followed by one set of sissy squats and one set of leg extensions. Do that 4-set sequence for all the bodyparts you are NOT specializing on.
For those you are—arms, delts, and abs—the simple method is to do two to three sets for each Position of Flexion exercise. So for delts, you could do 3 sets of dumbbell upright rows (midrange), 2 sets of incline one-arm laterals (stretch), and 2 sets of standing laterals (contracted). You could also do that for arms—curls, incline curls, and concentration curls; lying extensions, overhead extensions, and pushdowns—or try our more precise approach…
In the X-traordinary Arms e-book (available as a FREE bonus as noted below), we have one specialization workout for biceps width, one for biceps peak, one for triceps width, and one for triceps sweep—to make sure your arms look huge from every angle. Each one is a 6-set POF routine, two sets in each position, and they are plugged into a basic four-day POF workout split, with only 3 to 4 sets for the other bodyparts.
As we said, you can simply add sets to the shoulder routine and also to the abs workout for added development in those muscle groups as well. As you saw with the delt example, we suggest three sets of the big midrange exercise and two sets in the other two positions.
Why not three sets on the big midrange moves for biceps and triceps? Because they get a lot of residual work when you train other bodyparts—triceps get hit when you train chest (bench presses, incline presses) and biceps get hit when you work back (pulldowns, rows, etc.). You can’t get carried away with too many sets for bi’s and tri’s, even when specializing or you can overtrain them.
Keep in mind that the biceps and triceps are relatively small muscle groups, so the precise six-set routines and the constant variation of alternating two different arm specialization workouts, different exercises at each, will give you excellent size-surging, attention-grabbing results.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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