FACT: Most men work out in the attempts of looking good. Not to get functional or for a certain sport, it’s purely to get a ripped and muscular body to show off. We work out in the hope of being and looking BETTER than the bloke who’s working out next to us. But what do women think about it all? Do they really like a guy with bulging biceps, tree trunk legs, cannonball delts or a 6 pack? After some probing, here are the top 5 physical traits (in no particular order) that women look for in men and how you can tailor your workout to appeal to the girl you’ve had your eye on.
Physical Trait No. 1 - The Butt
The good ol’ gluteus maximus. While we men may not place much emphasis on building a nice behind in favour of say abs or a thick chest, women find a well defined butt incredibly attractive. In fact, a man’s glutes consistently rank in the top 3 body parts that women find physically attractive. In terms of evolutionary instincts, a developed gluteus maximum denotes to a woman power and strength; all traits which make for a good hunter and thus a good provider. This is of course in combination with powerful and athletic looking legs. Women tend to prefer butts that are muscular and shapely which are capable of ‘filling out their jeans’ and which they can ‘grab onto’. Remember, the key word here is muscular and toned, not soft and oversized. Building a better glute and leg region will also help improve overall body shape as working out the legs will result in increased release of anabolic testosterone and growth hormone more so than working the upper body. This can have knock on effects of improving the muscularity of the entire body. Furthermore, it can also improve how well clothing sits on you, another important factor in attracting the ladies.
Tips for Building the Perfect Butt
1. Compound Exercises – As the action of the glutes and the legs often work synergistically to flex and extend the limb over two joints, legs respond well to big compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and lunges. If you’re not doing these exercises, then you’re not going to get good glutes and legs.
2. Sprints – Sprints are a great lower extremity work out. Just have a look at a sprinters legs the next time you’re viewing a track event. The highly explosive fast and hard contractions sprinting help provide a balance to the time under tension weighted exercises.
3. Going Heavy – Don’t be afraid to go heavy with the weights for your leg workout. Your legs and glutes are some of the biggest muscles in the body and capable of lifting heavy loads. Don’t wimp out. Instead, increase the weight you are doing each time, even if it’s by a small amount.
Physical Trait No. 2 - The Shoulders
Interestingly enough, shoulders consistently rate in the top 3 of most desired male body parts. Which I suppose when you’re thinking about it isn’t too surprising considering evolution has continually placed focus on the male as being the protector. Broad, expansive shoulders are considered one of the main pinnacles of strength and dominance by the male. However, women also prefer shoulders which are considered more ‘muscular and defined’ over shoulders which are just bulky. Improving how your shoulders look will also become very functional. Strong shoulder muscles will dramatically improve upper body strength whilst also improving the strength of the smaller stabilising muscles of the shoulder girdle, important for keeping you safe as you increase the poundage on other upper body exercises. Larger deltoids will also give the impression of a small waist to give you that classic V shape, another popular desired physical trait.
Tips for Building the Perfect Shoulders:
1. Presses – While the more specific movements such as front raises or lateral raises will help refine the muscle, presses are an all round great exercise for the entire shoulder and should always be utilised to help build the bulk of the muscle first.
2. Rear Delts – The most common mistake in the trainer is to forget about the rear delts, which can end up having you look uneven and rounded towards the front, which left over time can result in tight front muscles leading to a hunched look
3. Stretch – There’s nothing more comical and dysfunctional than seeing a bodybuilder fail to scratch his back due to lack of flexibility in the shoulder joint. Shoulder girdle range of movement will also become increasingly important as you age.
Physical Trait No. 3 - The Chest
An obvious choice for both men and women. Strong, filled out pectoral muscles are another body part which will enhance your look as a strong protective figure. On top of that, it makes shirts look great on you and offer the illusion of a flatter stomach. Just as our primate ancestry has showed, the chest area is an area whereby we show our masculinity by beating our chest and puffing it out. A sizeable chest not only looks menacing but will better improve your push strength. The chest is also an important muscle to improve punch efficiency as the pectoral muscles are responsible for adducting, flexing and internally rotating the humerus. So not only will a strong, large chest attract the ladies, you’ll be confident in your abilities to protect your damsel if she was ever in distress.
Tips for Building the Perfect Chest:
1. Angles – Build a rounder chest by working the chest through a variety of inclines and declines. The pectorals are an extremely large muscle and working it through different angles will help to promote better shape and form of the pecs.
2. The Mighty Push Up – An often neglected but effective, versatile and convenient exercise to do anywhere and anytime to complement the strength exercises. Push ups are also a fantastic way to build up explosive strength, an important factor for increasing the velocity of movements such as punches, etc.
3. Dumbbells – While the barbell bench press is a great exercise, it is important to always incorporate dumbbells into a good chest workout in order to correct any strength differences between the left and the right, for strength symmetry.
Physical Trait No. 4 - Waist-to-Hip Ratio
Over the years, there has always been a strong focus regarding the attractiveness of women in terms of their waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Just imagine the rise of corsets and girdles in the early 20th century. Men were attracted to females with a waist-to-hip ratio of between 0.7-0.8 as this often denoted improved fertility and better health. An ideal WHR for men also exists and lies at the 0.9 mark. Research has examined this ratio and found that it may correlate with decreased prostate and testicular disease as well as improved fertility characteristics. Of course, body fatness or adiposity also comes into play. Increased body fatness, regardless of the waist-to-hip ratio will decrease the level of attractiveness. The WHR is considered a more subconscious assessment of attractiveness, but nonetheless quite powerful as it can be observed from both the front and the back. On a side note, perhaps a better ratio for attractiveness for men would be the waist to chest ratio, a good indication of the V shape figure.
Tips for Improving Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio
1. Build Broader Shoulders – As mentioned previously, having broader shoulders creates the illusion of a slimmer waist, which can trick the viewer into thinking you have a smaller waist to hip ratio.
2. Reduce Central Adiposity – Also known as the spare tyre, losing weight and fat around the abdominal region will dramatically help improve your waist-to-hip ratio. Although it’s impossible to spot reduce, looking at losing fat overall will help reduce the waist circumference over time.
3. Build Thicker Legs – By working the legs and the glutes and increasing muscle mass, you can effectively increase the hip circumference and thereby reduce your WHR all things held constant.
Physical Trait No. 5 - Sexual Dimorphism
In layman’s terms, sexual dimorphism is what separates male from females. Facial sexual dimorphism is a major factor in what women find attractive. Facial masculinity is considered a reliable indicator of a man’s health, status in society and even perhaps fertility and virility as the development of male sexual characteristics are primarily due to testosterone levels. Such characteristics include prominent and broad cheekbones, relatively lower longer face, developed brows and a chiselled jawline or a pronounced chin and a symmetrical face. It is interesting to note also that women of increased attractiveness are more attracted to men with more masculine faces. While it is hard to change our facial structure without resorting to surgery, there are some simple tips to help promote changes.
Tips for Improving Sexual Dimorphism
1. Losing Weight – Facial shape can change with increasing or decreasing mass. Have you ever noticed that generally leaner individuals exhibit more angular facial features? By losing a certain percentage of your body mass, you can help bring out increased masculine facial characteristics.
2. Facial Hair – Having facial hair is perhaps one of the most distinct differences between males and females. While the Ned Kelly beard might be considered too much, women find men with light stubble to be the most attractive, with a full beard and being clean shaven as being the least attractive.
3. Smile Less – As counter intuitive as it sounds, while a friendly face is generally considered a good characteristic, smiling has been found to decrease the masculinity of a man and in terms of pure carnal sexual attraction, smiling rates less attractive than those who appear proud or even ashamed.
One notable mention not discussed yet is the abdominal region. Unfortunately, there isn’t a strong consensus between women regarding the attractiveness of this region. While the 6 pack is seen as the pinnacle of male perfection in male eyes, a 6 pack isn’t a necessity when it comes to physical attractiveness for females. However, a well defined or flat and taut abdominal region is still a great goal to strive to and by doing so will help improve your overall shape.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
It is of course important to mention that the above tips are simply tips and not the be all and end all of attracting females. Remember that attraction is incredibly individual, moreso for females than males. Females will take into account the whole package when considering a long term mate, however in terms of pure carnal interactions; physical attractiveness is unfortunately still the primary factor. Whichever way you look at it however, improving your physical appearance through dedication in the gym will also help to improve your health and wellbeing in the years to come, something much more important in the long run.