The Workout That Will Fight Off the Gym Bro Look And Give You A Balanced Physique
He definitely lifts, but sadly he’s more focused on filling his deep V-neck T-shirt than crafting a well-balanced physique. He might act like king of the gym, but his egocentric strength training lacks imagination and is invariably hiding serious weaknesses – which become painfully apparent on legs day.
This guy is at his best when approached face-on, thanks to his habit of constantly training from the front in the following order: chest, shoulders, abs. But a sideways glance tells a different story: his shoulders slump forward over his too-tight pecs, his behind protrudes and his lower back curves because of taut hip flexors. He may hold the gym’s deadlift record, but he’d struggle to raise his hands above his head or complete a 5K without collapsing – all of which can lead to flexibility issues in later life.
Dalton Wong of Twenty Two Training started out in mobility and rehab and has seen his fair share of poor postures. “Many men who ‘train’ have that rounded kyphotic posture, leading to shoulder, neck and back pain,” he says. “They have a ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality, so they work through it. Inside, they’re in terrible shape: stiff, sore and shovelling protein into their stomach, which is distended because they can’t digest it all.” Not the kind of bulking you had in mind, is it?
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When it comes to rectifying the situation, regeneration is the name of the game. For the most part, those MMA fighters the Gym Bro wants to emulate go hard, go home and get massages. Wong suggests releasing your hip flexors with a foam roller and your pecs with a therapy ball. Not only will this improve your range of motion, it will also flush toxins from your muscles, saving you painful DOMs while boosting your bench press PB in the long run.
You should also rejig your regime to emphasise your posterior chain: “For every one chest exercise, do three back,” says Wong. Having good posture will never be a negative.
1. Y’s and T’s
3 sets of 10 reps
Hinge forward at the waist, knees slightly bent and back flat. Raise your arms over-head to form a Y-shape with your thumbs up (A).
Then reach your arms to the sides for Mr T (B). That’s one rep.
2. Single-Leg Squat
3 sets of 10 reps
Start with your right leg raised off the ground (A). With your arms outstretched in front of you, slowly lower into a squat position with your left leg bending through 90 degrees, and your right leg parallel to the ground (B).
Return to the start; 10 reps per leg is one set.
3. Prone Leg Curl
3 sets of 20 reps
Lie face down with a resistance band looped around both ankles. Tighten your core and bend your right leg at the knee (A). Bring your right heel as close to your glutes as possible before slowly letting go (B).
Do 10 reps per leg to complete a set.
Photographs: Oliver Burston