The ultimate goal of sculpting a perfect body is not more mass, rather proportional muscles. The foundations of physical perfection, as well as the ways of reaching it, were laid down a long time ago by people such as Steve Reeves, Vince Gironda and Frank Zane. They showed us that a great physique was all about proportion – a narrow waist, big upper back, strong arms, wide lats, and broad shoulders (the so-called “X” physique). These old school training methods were different and, in a way, more ‘raw’ then ones today, because their aim was building a stronger body and better performance, but facing a challenge as well. #1 Sternum Chin-Ups One of the best exercises for lat development are chin-ups, but Vince Gironda popularized the idea that it wasn’t enough to pull until the chin crossed the bar. Instead, he taught his students to perform sternum chin-ups (like a row and chin-up combined). The hands are placed a shoulder width apart, but as you pull up to the bar, the lower back is arched and the body is leaned back in order to touch the lower sternum and lower chest to the bar. #2 Make the Grip Wider A deadlift that requires grabbing the plates instead of the bar is called the Reeves deadlift (named after one of the pioneers of the X physique, Steve Reeves). The area that you must grow for an X physique is the upper back, so Reeves used to grip the plates in order to increase the stress on upper back muscles. You can opt for snatch grip deadlifts to replicate the Reeves deadlift. I must mention that, if you’re a fitness rookie, don’t even consider working on your X physique right away. You should start slow by following a beginner’s workout program, and gradually increase the strain. #3 Higher Reps Today, you might get scolded for performing power cleans for sets of above 3 reps. However, Bill Starr proposed doing power programmed power cleans through sets of 5 reps. Higher reps won’t kill you if power output isn’t the main goal, as long as you maintain proper form. They will provide a boost in testosterone and grow your upper back. #4 Front Lever One of the most underrated exercises ever is the front lever. This exercise is excellent as an all-round back exercise, as well as for torching those abs. Use it to leverage motor learning, because it gives you time to “think” about the activation of muscles (because the exercise is an isometric hold). Progression is slow, as with other gymnastic exercises, so be patient. #5 Cheat Curl Building arms comes after building wings. The standing barbell curl is another underrated exercise, but not as underrated as the cheat curl. These barbell curls were a favorite of Ricky Bruch and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Grip at just outside shoulder width, squeeze the grip hard as well as the glutes to prevent excess lower back hyperextension (at the top of the movement), control the negative, and feel the biceps. The old-timers noticed at one point that gymnastic exercises, with rings and parallel bars, weren’t a waste of time, because they provided symmetry. To chisel your body to an X physique, you can use these techniques to improve your workout routine and define your muscles to perfection. About The Author: Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and has spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for a better life. He blogs at