Adding Quality And Detail As Well As Mass

By: Seth Pauley

I see many bodybuilders that have decent size but far fewer that have size with quality, shape, and detail. Set yourself a notch higher than the average trainer and develop specific, commonly lagging areas fully for a dramatic improvement. Even if you’re not massive yet you can still add a dimension of quality. Heavy compound mass building exercises do add size but will not build a complete bodybuilder.

World bench press record holders just don’t have near the shape, cuts, striations, and overall popping in your face muscle that Mr. Olympia competitors possess. Don’t just use basic exercises exclusively cause you’ll end up with a very basic looking body – big but basic. Here are my favorite moves for adding quality and shape.


* #1 – Incline cable crossovers

I actually will use enough weight to where I have to strain to get 6 reps and then I like to immediately do drop sets for reps till I have done at least 50 nonstop reps so I can feel the movement searing and burning in striations and detail that heavy, low rep compound sets just don’t provide. Make sure you contract hard at the top of each rep. This will help out your inner, upper pecs ALOT.

* #2 – Flat dumbbell flyes

Get a really good stretch and only use the bottom of the exercise so it maintains the tension on the pecs (a suggestion of Arnolds) This one makes the lower chest line more cut and pronounced. Do these before benches sometimes for a great burn.


* #1 – Cable side laterals

These hit the lower area of the side delt where it attaches to your arm whereas dumbbells hit more on the top. I find the use of high rep drop sets very helpful in detail training.

* #2 – Supersetting rear dumbbell laterals with reverse pec dec flyes- Combine these 2 for a great burn that gets the entire rear delts heated up so they can show more cuts.


* #1 – Wide grip cable pullovers

Just grab a wide bar as if you were going to do some tricep pushdowns. Keep your upper arms straight and pull with your lats exclusively contracting very hard when the bar touches your waist and then stretching fully at the end of the rep. Emphasize feel and a hard contraction while doing detail movements not weight- that is for your compound exercises. Helps with detail more if done first in the workout.

* #2 – Hammer Strength reverse grip pulldowns

These really isolate and stretch the lats more than other pulling movements and that will help them show when you flex them out. Again go for reps and contractions more than pure poundage.


* #1 – Standing two arm cable curls from top pulley

Just go to the cables, grab em and act like your flexing for a front double biceps pose. This one gets a great burn over the top of the bis and ultra tight peak contraction.

* #2 – Alternating grip single arm tricep pushdowns

Shown to me by the guy who placed 2nd in my state last year. Support your elbow on something to hold it still while holding a cable. First press it down with your palm facing downward and bring it back up. Then turn your palm up and press it down again. Keep alternating the grip with every rep. Gives a great burn where the tricep inserts low on the elbow.


* #1 – Leg extentions done with toes pointed inward

This transfers the stress of the movement outward to the sweep of the quad more than regular sets. You concentrate on frying that exact area for lots of 1000 degree reps as the legs have a very high concentration of endurance fibers which means they need reps to be their best.

* #2 – Superset leg curls with stiff legged deadlifts

This preexhaustion tactic pushes the hamstrings way harder than normal sets and adds mass as well as detail.

* #3 – Calves

Load up a leg press with as many 45 as you can for some calf raises(pressing the sled with your toes. I have to do this because all the machines don’t have enough weight) This will probably be a good few. Do your heavy 6-8 rep set and have a spotter with you so they can take a 45 off each side. Without rest, do another set. Calves need torture like this because you have walked on them your whole life. Do at least 6 nonstop drop sets till the cows come home cooked from the hellfire you have created. At least 100 reps on this one for best results. This really helps cuts and size with calves but know that it is extremely grueling and will leave your calves scorched for a week. Try it.

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