The torso is probably the part that most men want to develop first (along with the arms). Most of them will seek to have protruding pecs, shapely shoulders and trimmed abs. For women, with respect to the torso, even if the general tendency is to have a flat stomach and sometimes more or less visible abs, it can happen that they seek to firm their chest or also to draw more or less intensely their shoulders. So what are the good habits to put in place?
Focus on the right exercises
What are these “good” exercises? Poly joint exercises. To develop any muscle, no matter which one, it is essential to turn to the maximum of polyarticular exercises (which involve several joints).
There are tons of them, but I advise you to work with exercises that have been proven the most effective, that are adapted to your body type and that you like. Some examples of the most interesting exercises according to each of the 3 areas (pecs, shoulders, abs):
Of course, there are many more. It is just important to remember that the vast majority of results are obtained with this type of exercise (if possible polyarticular) and not with isolation exercises, like the butterfly for the pecs or elevations side panels for the shoulders.
Vary the working angles
Some people spend their life doing bench press on a flat bench to develop their pecs. It’s always better than doing nothing, but you have to keep in mind that variety is a real key to constantly progressing, and that on any muscle or muscle group.
If we keep the example of the bench press, the inclination of the bench will allow you to target more or less intensely an area of the muscles recruited. By performing a flat bench press, we will work the medial part of the pecs. But if you tilt the bench, the tension will be greater on the top of the pecs.
It is therefore interesting for developing a more specific part of the muscle but also for boosting muscle building as a whole. When the muscle is always stimulated with the same working angle, it often happens that it stagnates because it is used to this way of training and has no reason to grow any more.
Strengthen your back
To develop your torso, you have to develop your back. And this for at least 2 reasons.
The aesthetic reason:
A wide back will allow you to “be cut in a V”, which will strongly accentuate the impression of muscle mass on the torso. Indeed, the hypertrophy of the dorsal muscles is also seen from the front, under the armpits.
We can see that the physique on the left has less developed back muscles than the physique on the right, and that the torso of the physique on the right appears more muscular than the one on the left.
Even if it is difficult to compare them because they do not have the same genetics, the same characteristics, a different anabolic response (each zone reacts differently, the pecs and even most of the muscles appear more shapely on the right), etc…, they have about the same level in terms of muscle development but the more muscular lids of the physique on the right give it a visually much larger torso “Full” and developed than the one on the left .
The anatomical reason:
Muscles develop in a more or less balanced way. If you only work the pectorals and very little the dorsals, the body will slow down the progress of the pecs, and maybe even stagnate it. It is simply a mechanism of protection of the body to avoid bodily imbalances and injuries.
The goal of the body is to be functional and it is for this reason that if you work a lot on the chest and not on the back, you will generally progress less quickly than if you allow as much time for each of these two areas. Of course, some people will be less successful due to their morphology, genetics or other factors, but you have every interest in developing your back muscles to have a more harmonious physique and last without hurting yourself.
Strengthening the torso is therefore not complicated. By going straight to the point, adding variety and training in a balanced way, one can easily avoid stagnation. But don’t forget that the progression also happens on the plate, by eating in a balanced way and by making sure, for example, to consume enough zinc or omega 3 .
If you are just starting out and want more advice, in training or vegetarian / vegan sports nutrition, you can download my free guide located under this article . Train with the heart, eat with the heart.