Aesthetically speaking, the crown jewels of fitness are the usual suspects: abs, biceps, abs, and glutes. Frankly, the glutes are the only coveted fitness aesthetic we’re getting right in my honest opinion. While they may continue to make the list for subconscious sexual desires, they are the only muscle group that belongs in our little ‘Top 5’ for reasons based on certifiably functional reasons. Quads typically come in a close fifth place simply because the abdominals show up twice in the top three most coveted aesthetic fitness goals. While these are understandable choices, given they’re forward facing attributes, they might not be the most rigorous preferences upon closer examination
What’s interesting about this is that from virtually any other perspective, these areas of the body wouldn’t even make a liberal Top 10 list. If we made a list of best indicators of strength, athleticism, health, or general usefulness, these muscle groups don’t hack it. The biceps, for example, aren’t even the dominate muscle group in its own upper arm segment. The shoulder is the prime mover of the upper body and clearly the star of the show when it comes to movement, albeit on the dance floor, in the gym, or on a construction site.
Let’s not get carried away, though. Aesthetically speaking, defined arms will appease the eye more than some hidden talent. Yet, even when we look at the arm, the triceps are the king. They are the driver for pressing movements and anything that requires the elbow to lockout. Plus, we can negate this “anterior” bias non-sense quickly with the obvious realization that admiration of the biceps doesn’t come from looking on from the front, anyway. What do we do? We notice a guy or girl’s biceps from the side or in some cliche flexing pose. Of course, from this vantage point we can and should appreciate the real star of the show: the triceps. Frankly, I don’t get all the biceps curls, guys
Abs are understandable. They are the anti-beer belly. One can’t be fat and have abs simultaneously, so the perceived value of the abs might have some depth to it. When you see someone with abs, you can guarantee some resistance to obesity. That has value beyond some arbitrary visual preference. While this has some implications about the lifestyle and potential performance of the individual, the argument for abs gets wishy washy when we see individuals who’ve just maintained low, useless bodyweight and fool us with the aesthetic of abs most commonly associated with health and fitness.
Want to know what doesn’t have misleading tendencies? A strong back tells the truth. Thick erectors and a wide upper back indicate capability, regardless of the presence of abs. Why we don’t swoon over muscular backs is beyond me.
Especially in the bodybuilding world, the quads are all the rage. What do quads do? They help us extend the knee, but we all know all things good in life start with violent hip extension. Get your mind out of the gutter. Things like sprinting, hitting home runs, and pulling heavy deadlifts, of course, rely on the quadriceps only secondarily. If we want a muscle group that is worth a double take over, it’s the hamstrings. These things can have beautiful curvature and add volume to the legs, but they do work. Whether it’s the speed of sprinting down the track or their ability to move heavy weight, the hamstrings trump their red headed step child quadriceps eight days a week.
It’s almost summer time and I don’t see anything wrong with admiring the human body. I just dream of the day we drool over each others “go muscles” more than our “show muscles”. Come to think of it, what sexier than a strong forearm? Anyone?.. Bueller?..
Complete 4 rounds for quality of:
5 Tempo Strict Pull Ups
12 DB Roll Back Presses
Then, complete 6 rounds for time of:
50′ Reverse Sled Drag (300/200)
3 Sumo Deadlifts (225/155)