10 Keys To Building The Ultimate Aesthetic Physique

Anton Antipov is one of the top physique competitors and models in the world, and it’s no secret why – he’s build his once-spindly physique into the epitome of the classic V-Taper. Here are his 10 keys to building the Ultimate Aesthetic Physique.

10 Keys To Building The Ultimate Aesthetic Physique

RULE #1: TRAIN SHOULDERS OFTEN

If you want to build up your shoulders, you’re going to have to hit them more than once a week. “I don’t do it anymore because my shoulders tend to overpower everything else,” Antipov says, “but I got them this way by training them 2 to 3 times a week. If you don’t have the luxury of training them more than once a week, throw in a set of heavy military presses at the end of another body part.”

RULE #2: DON’T BE A REP COUNTER

This one may take some getting used to – it took Antipov 10 years – but it’s why you’ll see some unusual rep ranges in Antipov’s workout chart. “Numbers to me are an estimate,” he says. “Set a realistic number, but don’t limit yourself. Sometimes I come in and feel like I have plenty of energy, but other times I may feel a little more fatigued from the day before. I like to say I’m going to get at least 10 reps, but if I can go past that I will.”

RULE #3: WARM UP, BUT START BIG

“After a warm-up set or two of 20-25 reps, Antipov likes to start his workouts with heavy, compound movements that target multiple heads of the shoulder. “I always like to have one exercise where I go really heavy, and that’s usually a compound exercise,” Antipov says. “After that I start breaking it down into isolation exercises.”

RULE #4: BE INSTINCTIVE

It’s good to have an overall plan and a general idea of what you are going to train on a particular day. But Antipov likes to train by feel, giving himself the ability to do more – or less- depending on what his body is telling him. “What exercises I do, the number of sets – that doesn’t always mean I’m going to do the same thing,” he says. “I put my weak muscle groups first in the week because I know I need to train those more. But your body doesn’t know if it’s a Wednesday or a Friday. I feel like, if you’re trained your chest already but it’s something you need to work on more, you can afford to train it 2-3 days later.”

10 Keys To Building The Ultimate Aesthetic Physique

RULE #5: GET INTENSE

Drop sets, giant sets, time-under-tension training, negatives – Antipov incorporates these and a number of other intensity techniques into his workouts. For one, he doesn’t like to rest very long – 30 to 40 seconds, typically. For another, “I like to keep my body guessing,” he says, “Keep the tension there and the intensity up. I feel like I need the different techinques in order to get my body to adapt and respond. I woudn’t recommend that to someone from Day 1 if they are just working out, though. I’ve come to this point after years of training.”

RULE #6: STAY IN CONTROL

Like most personal trainers, Antipov puts a premium on using proper form. But he has another motivation – staying injury free. “I hurt my back on t-bar rows a couple years ago – I was going really heavy, the music was blasting, I had a good pump and I just let my ego take over. What I do now, and what I always teach my clients, is to always hold the contraction for one full second. If there’s no pause, you’re using momentum to move the weight and you’re not fully working the muscle. That’s why I do a lot of single-arm movements, to get even more of a contraction.”

RULE #7: TRAIN ABS OFTEN

“If you want those 3D abs, then you need to train them,” Antipov says. “Mine recover very quick, so when I’m getting ready for a show or a shoot I train them about five days a week. For most people, I would suggest 3-4 times a week.”

RULE #8: HIT YOUR ABS ON AN EMPTY STOMACH

“One of tricks I’ve learned, for me, is to train abs in the morning on an empty stomach,” Antipov says. “Not because of some fasted theory, but because when I have no food in my stomach I feel I can contract my abs that much better. It’s a little harder for me get that much of a contraction after I’ve had a couple meals. First thing in the morning, the contraction is insane.”

10 Keys To Building The Ultimate Aesthetic Physique

RULE #9: CRUNCH SLOW

“I use a slow burn method I sort of came up with for crunches,” Antipov says. “Slowly crunching up, taking 3 full seconds on the way up, exhale ALL the air out as you contract and holding the contraction for 3 seconds. Then doing a slow negative on the way down for another 3 seconds, pausing only slightly before inhaling and going into the following rep. Exhaling and getting that max contraction are very important factors.

RULE #10: CARDIO WON’T KILL YOUR GAINS

“I used to be very paranoid about losing what got me to where I am, but if you eat enough and sleep enough you’re not going to lose any muscle,” Antipov says. “I like to do cardio in a fasted state, after my ab routine. I’ll do sprints for about 12 minutes to get my heart rate up and then do steady-state on the Stairmaster for whatever time I have left – usually 20-25 minutes. My whole routine – abs and cardio – usually takes me about an hour in the morning.”

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