In personal training, a good trainer can use the art of aesthetics to help create physical illusions
An aesthetically pleasing body varies from person to person due to body types. For example; building 1 inch in the shoulder creates the illusion of 1 inch less in the waist as the body taper has changed. Even though all bodies are different this change can apply to every body type.
When I assess a physique, I look specifically at 3 things, your bone structure, the balance of your proportions, and your posture.
Your Bone Structure
Bone structure determines the muscular potential and the size of the individual. For example an endo or mesomorph will be more prone to carrying muscle mass than an ectomorph. Bone structure also can be used to determine the amount of body fat an individual will hold. The endomorph will usually carry the most, the mesomorph is the perfect medium and the ectomorph will generally have the least amount of body fat but struggle to build muscle. Keep in mind that endomorphs are not doomed to a life of high body fat percentages and ectomorphs can gain lean tissue under the proper training. Assessing bone structure is important when deciding which approach to use in the planning of an exercise program and other lifestyle adjustments such as diet and aerobic regimen.
Balancing Your Proportions
Proportions are the way the body lines up aesthetically. Good and balanced proportions give an appearance of symmetry and even flow throughout the body. Generally, for a female an 8-10 inch Chest to Waist to Hip differential is a desirable first goal. This ratio is designed to accentuate the hour glass appearance.
For the rest of the body, 10-12 Inch arms, 18-22 inch legs and 12-14 inch calves are typically the standard. Again, these measurements will vary person to person, but you’d be surprised how many females will fall into this bracket.
For males this differs greatly. It is desirable for a male to have the same neck, calf and arm measurements. This gives common thickness to the physique and a more powerful presence. An average to good size for this measurement is usually between 15-18 inches depending on samotype. From there an 18-20 inch shoulder to waist differential will create a look of v-tapper. This is probably the most difficult to achieve as it requires solid shoulder development coupled with a trim waist. This look can also vary from person to person. For example, an endomorph with a 55 inch shoulder girth and a 35 inch waist will have a similar taper to an ectomorph with a 47 inch shoulder and a 27 inch waist. Both will look impressive in their own right.
The key is that the taper creates a powerful illusion. Thigh thickness tends to fall between 22-26 inches again depending on bone structure. These are the general standards for people, however, there are many exceptions based on genetics, ethnicity, and stature.
When I look at a client’s posture, I generally look for a few key indicators of trouble.
The first is the hunch forward. Generally caused by a weak back and shoulder muscles, the hunch is common with sit-down computer jobs or jobs where inactivity for 40 hours per week is the norm. This leads to stiffness, tight chest and muscles.
The second is the short hip. The majority of my clients suffer from weak glutes and very tight hip muscles. This is due to sitting all day and general weakness in the muscles.
The third is lateral shifts in the body from right to left or vice versa. You would be amazed at the imbalances created from using our dominant side to perform most tasks. Keep in mind some postural issues are directly related to conditions of the spine. These are not what I’m discussing.
After getting an understanding of your body type, symmetry and posture the structural component of my assessment is complete