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Width Woes

The underlying structure of your physique has already been predetermined by your genetics. You can’t change the genes that you possess for building muscular size and you can’t change the canvas you are applying your craft to. The width of your clavicles, the width of your hip structure, and how that presents is just simply something you have to work with. For those of you out there who were blessed with wide shoulder structures and small waists, consider yourselves to have a one-up on the rest of us. For those of you who seek to make changes to your overall look by creating the illusion of having a smaller waist than what you genetically do and being wider than what you actually are, here are a few strategies you can employ to ensure this happens.

Build Laterally

Building muscle truly is an art form as you have the ability to see a vision in your mind of what it is you want to look like and then you work towards achieving that look through training. When trying to build the greater illusion of being wider than your structure will naturally allow you to look, you have to pack on muscle in the right places. These areas include the side deltoids, the biceps brachialis, the short head of the triceps and the vastus lateralis of the quad which is commonly referred to as the quad sweep. To ensure you are incorporating exercises that will build in these areas, make sure you include movements such as dumbbell lateral raises, hammer curls, close grip bench presses and close stance leg presses in your programs that specifically target those areas. In doing this, you will be building upon your physique laterally which will eventually give you that wider look with a smaller waist.

Waist Check

Second to packing on mass in the right areas, would be ensuring that you don’t pack on any mass in the wrong area; namely your midsection. You want to be doing all that you can to ensure that you don’t exaggerate an already wider than desired area of your structure by allowing your midsection to get out of control. Unfortunately, due to the large amount of food you have to consume to build massive amounts of muscle, the midsection can often times be collateral damage. Your best bet here is to train your core every day with high reps and lightweight if any. You actually don’t want to build muscle here you just want to refine. Next, use your belt to hold everything in place when performing the big lifts that require you to place a lot of pressure on your core for stability and power. Finally, stop doing side bends with a dumbbell in your hand when training your obliques. This won’t bring in your waist from the side. It will make it bigger. The obliques are already naturally a thick muscle so there’s no need to give them any reason to be thicker.

Build Width from the Back

What you may not realize, because you view your physique from the front most of the time, is that to really possess that wide look you are in search of, you have to include how you look from the back in that thought process as well. Wide lats make a huge difference when your physique is viewed as a whole and any lack of development in that area will significantly contribute to that narrow look you are trying to get away from. Rowing exercises are excellent for building thickness in the back but to grow wings, you have to start incorporating pull-up movements and pull-down movements with a wider than shoulder-width grip and focus on stretching out the lats on each rep before driving down hard through the elbows and into the hips. Some people have even gone as far as having two back days; one that focuses on width and one on thickness. That’ll be up to you of course but make sure you are always conscious of building width in your lats.

If you’re anything like me, you realized early on that the chances of growing taller were going to be slim to none so all of the effort may as well be placed upon growing wider. It’s pretty awesome when you see someone who looks like they need to turn sideways to get through the door so if this is one of your goals in life, start working on the strategies mentioned above. Again, ultimately your structure is going to determine just how wide you can get but it doesn’t determine how much change you can make to your physique. If you’re willing to put in the work, then your body will be willing to change. Keep training hard and eventually, you’ll achieve the look you’re after.

Author: Dana Bushell

Gym Star Team Member