Training Talk: Which Muscle Group is Most Important for Aesthetics?

Roger “Rock” Lockridge
Written By: Roger “Rock” Lockridge
September 18th, 2017
Updated: June 13th, 2020
Categories: Articles Training
31.8K Reads
Training Talk: Which Muscle Group is Most Important for Aesthetics?
Which muscle group is most important for an aesthetic physique? Is it your chest, back, legs, arms, or shoulders? Read more and join in on the discussion!

Welcome to another edition of “Training Talk”. So far we’ve covered several different topics regarding how we train in the gym as well as various forms of exercises.

This month we’re changing course and discussing a topic that’s a little different.

Instead of talking about developing our physiques, we’re going to talk about the physique itself.

Everyone has that one bodypart that stands out or a certain muscle group that we as athletes consider our strongest.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was known for his massive chest, Hulk Hogan will always be remembered for flexing his “24 inch pythons”, and LL Cool J had been revered for years for his incredible abs.

Taking this to a local level, you probably know that one guy or girl who has the awesome (fill in the blank).

The point here, there is something that makes those physiques stand out and we’re going to discuss what muscle group will help your physique stand out the most.

Complete Line of BPI Supplements

Chest

We’ll start this topic like many of us start our week in the gym – with chest. In powerlifting, having that thick, barrel-like chest helps them because it minimizes the amount of distance the bar has to travel when they prepare to compete in the bench press portion of the meet.

Related: Training Talk - Which Bench Variation Builds Your Chest Best?

In bodybuilding, it’s more about how that pair of pecs looks. From top to bottom, the chest needs to be thick and detailed. The upper pecs definitely need to be developed if you want a shot at winning a show. Either way, when a guy walks in a room and that chest looks like it’s being restrained from the t-shirt the athlete is wearing, there’s no question whether he lifts.

Shoulders

“Shouldering the load”, “the weight of the world on his shoulders”, “boulders for shoulders”, there are several phrases out there that symbolize shoulders for strength and power. Having wide shoulders help make your waist look smaller.

In regards to strength and function, they assist in almost every chest and back exercise in some way, shape, or form. Then there are the traps which are technically part of the back but are associated with delts because the visible part of the muscles being so close to the shoulder area.

How many of you wrestling fans out there have seen Goldberg after he speared some dude flexing and having those traps rising up like mountains? I can remember seeing that as a teenager and thinking “I want my traps to look like that!”

M&S Female Building Aesthetic Shoulders

Back

It’s been said for years that bodybuilding contests are won from the back. The wider, the better. There’s something inspiring to most lifters about seeing wide lats flaring out and seeing them stick out as they go down to a small waist.

It isn’t just about width though. You need to be able to see detail from the back of the shoulders all the way down to the lower back. Some of the most intense lifts in the iron game are back moves. Bent over rows, pullovers, and some guys associate the deadlift with the back. So, having a big back is a sign of power for many as well.

Arms

You know a bodypart is popular when there’s an emoji for it, am I right? Look, we all know what it was that really made millions of guys out there start clanging and banging. It was seeing some big and jacked dude in a photo or walking somewhere with a massive pair of pipes sticking out of his shirt.

Then there was the first time you got a massive pump in the biceps and triceps after one of your first workouts. That feeling instantly became addicting.

Having big arms and hitting that biceps pose is what is most associated with muscle in general. It makes sense why so many people want big arms.

M&S Athlete Building Aesthetic Arms

Abs

When we think about Thanksgiving dinner, we don’t think too much about the potatoes, rolls, or any of the other fixings and side dishes. We think about the centerpiece of the table, the main course, the turkey.

So how come when it comes to training, there isn’t more attention paid to the centerpiece of the physique which is the abs?

Whereas the biceps are associated with muscle, the abs are associated with fitness in general. This applies to both men and women. Having a small and lean waist is an undisputed sign that you’re in shape.

Glutes

There was a song back in the 1990’s that was written in tribute to this area. Everyone should be concerned about the glutes but this area is most associated with women like big arms are most associated with guys.

Related: The Real Benefits of Stronger Glutes

Ladies feel that having well-developed glutes completes the physique and is an important part of how their legs look so they train that area as intense as they do any other major group. Guys don’t focus too much about the glutes in terms of looks but to be a great squatter or deadlifter, they should be taken more seriously.

Legs

How many memes and funny pictures have we seen of guys with a comic book like upper body but walking on scrawny legs? Even the drawings of muscle men back in the day were created with smaller legs.

Here’s the thing though. A true sign of a guy that is serious about his training has muscular legs. Flaring quads, hanging hamstrings, and even the calves are well-developed. The legs are the foundation of a true athlete. If you see a guy who’s walking around with a string tank top and pants in the middle of summer, you now know why. Leg day isn’t his day.

Ladies take leg day seriously too. While size isn’t the prize, development and lines certainly are. If you take two women, one who trains and one who doesn’t, and have them stand beside each other it will be real easy to guess which one lifts by the way the legs look.

Complete Line of BPI Supplements

Thanks to Mom and Dad

There are some of the people referenced above who worked hard to develop that one area they’re most known for. Then there’s those athletes we can’t stand because they could lay on the couch eating chips and still have whatever that bodypart is for them.

The fact is that sometimes some athletes are dealt the right cards from the start and others have the worst hand possible and are expected to turn it into a royal flush.

If you’re someone who falls under the latter category, take a moment to be proud that you’ve taken what you have and turned it into something awesome.

Your Turn

The best part about Training Talk is the part where you get to share your opinions and we’ve now approached that point in this edition. There are a couple of questions we want to hear from you about.

First, who was it that first inspired you to start training and what bodypart on that person stood out to you? Was it someone on TV or someone in your hometown? Obviously you don’t have to drop a name if you don’t want to but share some insight on why that person was different.

Second, what do you feel your best bodypart is and why? Is it because you like training it so much or did your parents deliver and you signed for it? In other words, is it genetic? Has someone told you that he or she wished to have your arms, abs, or whatever? We want to know.

The conversation continues in the “Comments” section below. Go.

9 Comments
Phillip Schlueter
Posted on: Sun, 09/24/2017 - 15:25

I've been training now for about 7 years, and my 69th birthday is coming in just a few days. At the age of 62 I started an exercise program and set out to get 'six pack abs'. I was inspired to also stop drinking alcohol at the same time by a young internet fitness star and later found an online training system to begin my fitness journey. I've been striving to gain strength but lately am primarily training for aesthetics. I have been given some good genetic material from my parents and had I only realized that sooner I'd be way ahead of the game. I have my six pack and some decent upper body development and since I do a fair amount of cycling my wheels are in good shape but I do feel improvement need to happen in this area. Best body part? Don't really know but as a whole I have low body fat and muscles are definitely poking out where they should. Don't know if links will work here in these comments but I'll post a link to my 69th year selfie which is up in my dropbox for easy access - taken just today, 4 days before the big day. https://www.dropbox.com/s/9c9xr52iug1c29e/2017-09-24%2012.55.43.jpg?dl=0

M&S Team Badge
JoshEngland
Posted on: Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:12

Hi Phillip,

Thank you for sharing! You're truly an inspiration. As a lifter still in his mid 20's, I hope to be killing it in the gym and lookin half as good as you when my 69th birthday rolls around!

Cheers!

Roger Rock Lockridge
Posted on: Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:16

Phillip, you're awesome! Great to read that you're doing well and realizing your potential. Thanks for reading and sharing your inspiring story. All the best.

Roger

Calvin Dalrymple
Posted on: Sun, 09/24/2017 - 14:13

Legs can't be missed, they are definitely one of the most important however I think that you have to have the balance over the whole body to get the best look. However I am only 17, have been working out since I was 10, is now just a way of life.

Roger Rock Lockridge
Posted on: Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:18

What's good, Calvin? Great to read that your training is a way of life. Taking it this seriously now is going to benefit you greatly later. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Nathaniel Rittner
Posted on: Wed, 09/20/2017 - 20:21

Skipping leg training is just wrong. I always had strong legs but I never had the size it takes time to build muscle. I started training at 17 and I weighed 98lbs soaking wet. I wanted to improve my performance in martial arts because I felt I was too small. In my first year of training I put on 22 lbs of muscle I now weigh 150 lbs at 33 yrs old.

Roger Rock Lockridge
Posted on: Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:07

Good to have you posting here, Nathaniel. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts here at M&S.

David
Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:46

When I started lifting it was to get bigger arms just like so many. I had friends with big guns and wanted my own. Luckily i was naturally gifted with stronger legs as many years of my youth spent playing outside and long bike rides can do. Now i look for legs, probably because of my bias having been gifted naturally but also because i know how crazy real hard work from leg day can be and barring real injury i can't respect those that skip leg day "because it's hard." Leg day is so valuable and amazing because of the hard work they can do. Properly trained they can take a massive amount of punishment and pain. That's why legs are the most aesthetic body part, because of the effort and work they represent when properly trained

Roger Rock Lockridge
Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2017 - 18:05

Well put, David. I can see why someone with strong legs would look for someone who has achieved similar results. Thanks for joining the conversation and supporting M&S!

Free Workouts & Expert Advice

Get a weekly email with the latest workouts, tools, expert guides and deals from M&S.