Yesterday, I mentioned Steve Reeves, one of the most symmetrically built bodybuilders ever at 6’1” and 215 pounds…
While his genetics played a massive role in his look, he maximized that in the gym by attention to detail—for example, striving for equal measurement of his neck, upper arms, and calves, plus he trained his shoulders first in his workouts.
He considered his bodyweight and measurements ideal, with a 52-inch chest, 29-inch waist and 18 1/4-inch arms.
He believed that 18 1/4 inches was big enough for his arms at his height, as he did not want to get too big and destroy his aesthetics (more on that in a moment).
His recommendation for the “ideal” look was to take his “perfect” weight of 215 and add 15 pounds for every inch over 6’1”, or subtract 10 pounds for every inch under his height…
6’2” = 230
6’1” = 215
6’ = 200
5’11” = 190
5’10” = 180
5’9” = 170
This is in-shape weight, but not crazy shredded. How do some of the more aesthetic bodybuilders from more recent times stack up, like Frank Zane?
Zane was 5’9” and competed at a bodyweight of around 185. That’s a bit heavier than Reeves’ recommendation—and he’s more cut; however, Zane no doubt had denser development from his use of anabolics. Hard to deny his perfection in the above photo. Motivating to say the least…
A bodybuilder often compared to Reeves is Bob Paris…
On the left is when Paris won the NPC American National Championships and Universe in 1983. He is 6’1” and weighs 215. Interesting that those stats are exactly what Reeves recommended, although again, he is more cut.
On the right is after Paris turned pro a few years later. He pushed to get bigger, and as his bodyweight moved to around 225, he started destroying his aesthetic appearance. Mass was necessary to win the Olympia, but he never broke the top five.
Would he have placed higher at a lower bodyweight closer to his aesthetic ideal? Probably not. Mass monsters were in vogue; however…
Today there is Classic Physique. Canadian Chris Bumstead has won that division of the Olympia three years running: 2019, 2020, and 2021. Here he is on the right compared to Bob Paris on the left…
Bumstead is also 6’1”. He competes at around 220 to 225 pounds. That’s heavier than Reeves’ recommendation, but you can’t deny his combination of mass and aesthetics.
Better than Paris? That’s in the eye of the beholder. While Bumstead has more flare to his lats, Paris has longer muscle bellies in his quads and forearms, better calves, longer triceps, and a shorter neck, all of which, in my opinion, gives him an aesthetic edge.
The point of all of this, other that to show some of the best aesthetically pleasing physiques, is to motivate the hell out of you, and convince you to use weight training to sculpt for balance and symmetry.
Again, genetics is a gigantic governing factor in how much aesthetics you can create, but illusion is a big part of the equation too.
Focus on shoulders to make your waist appear smaller. Minimize the bulbous-pectoral look if you have narrow clavicles and or long pecs. If you have a short neck, minimize trap development—or if you have a long neck, train it along with your traps for growth.
Sculpt your perfect physique: Get the ideal exercise for each muscle, the best add-on moves for ultimate mass, complete 35-minute workouts, exercise start/finish photos, and details on building muscle fast and efficiently in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
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