Call off the arms race: if you’re still obsessed with your biceps and triceps, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage in the dating war. In fact, if your workouts are mainly focused on the muscles you see in the mirror – including your pecs and abs – you may as well start waving a white flag.
Why? Because when it comes to attraction, a body that’s ready for action in the running, fighting, saving-cats-from-trees sense gives off visual vibes that you’re an evolutionarily viable catch. According to one study from the University of Windsor in Canada, for instance, how attractive men were rated by the opposite sex correlated almost perfectly with their shoulder width and upper-body taper – or how close they were to the V-shape that signals functional upper-body strength. Think classical statue, not Austrian bodybuilder – proportionally, Michelangelo’s David is close to the ideal masculine shape.
So how do you make yourself look like an action hero? Simple: train like one. ‘By adding functional moves to your training, you’ll build a body that’s more hero than lump,’ says Pieter Vodden, trainer with gymjones.com. ‘And you’ll also be prepared for anything life might throw at you.’ Which, hopefully, will include one or two (non-plastic) ladies.
According to a survey of 1,000 women conducted by lingerie company Bluebella, most ladies favour model David Gandy’s lean look over big muscles.
How to get it Gandy does wide-grip burpee pull-ups, which build a broad back and give a metabolic hit to burn fat and reveal your abs. Do a press-up, then jump up and grab a pull-up bar, using the momentum to help get your chin above it. For the rest of Gandy’s routine, visit davidgandyfitness.com.
Women prefer a man whose shoulders are roughly 1.6 times the width of his waist, according to a study in the Archives Of Sexual Behaviour.
How to get them Punch things. Boxers have huge delts because the shoulder muscles respond well to ultra-high-rep training. ‘Do punch-out drills,’ says fight coach Ross Enamait. ‘Hit the bag with straight jab-cross combinations as fast and hard as possible for 15 seconds, then rest for 45. Repeat ten times.’
Time to roll up your sleeves. In a poll on reddit.com’s Ask Reddit, forearms were overwhelmingly voted in as the discerning woman’s favoured symbol of masculinity.
How to get them Rowing – yanking on that handle will make your forearms burn and grow. ‘Do it Tabata style,’ suggests Vodden. ‘Do 20 seconds’ work and rest for ten seconds. Repeat until you can’t row 100m in the 20 seconds. Fifteen rounds is good, 20 is excellent.’
In Bluebella’s survey, ladies bolted David Beckham’s pins to their perfect Franken-celeb. The man himself says running and jumping, rather than using a leg press, build strong lower limbs.
How to get them Try the cone jump, favoured by coaches worldwide. Line up four cones (or similar markers) about 50cm apart. Jump over the first and then the next without pausing, and so on till you reach the end. Repeat twice, then rest for 60 seconds and do two more sets.
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