How Are the Aesthetics of Bodybuilding Physiques Judged?

twisters exercise

A strong V-taper, good muscle proportion in the right areas, and low body fat are all part of aesthetics.

Judges assess various factors to determine bodybuilding scores. These include muscularity, body proportion, mass, and definition. Depending on the category, judges closely evaluate specific body parts such as the chest, arms, legs, abs, shoulders, and back. A couple of bodybuilders who have mastered the art of aesthetics include Steeve Reeves and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

When numerous athletes vie for a spot and possess all the qualities above, additional criteria come into play. Aesthetics, being one of them, tends to be highly subjective. However, the most visually pleasing physiques often exhibit a remarkable V-taper and an impressive outer sweep. To cultivate a noteworthy physique, it’s imperative to focus on aesthetics. Therefore, we will provide valuable tips to facilitate your journey. 

Bodybuilding Aesthetics Analyzed

An aesthetically pleasing physique is well-balanced and pleasing. It’s muscular but symmetrical, focusing on the art of bodybuilding. Below are some of the features that people who have aesthetically pleasing bodies have in common:

How to Build Aesthetics 

While genes might play a role, the bulk of getting an aesthetically pleasing physique revolves around resistance training and eating a good diet. Below are some essential tips. 


A picture of what you want your body to look like aesthetically helps. So you can find one or two bodybuilders with the exact look you desire. Later in this article, you’ll find a list of aesthetically pleasing bodybuilders.

Personalized Workouts

You can use some of their workouts when you find an athlete you like. However, it’s essential to see what works for your own body. Some routines could be effective for one athlete but not as effective for another. 

Focus on Mind Muscle Connection

Focus plays a vital role in building your body and physique. So, when you workout, use your mind-muscle connection to focus on each muscle you build. Research shows that this is effective when doing resistance training (1)

Eat Right

You must eat clean to keep your body fat percentage low. Low body fat also allows your muscles to show, improving your aesthetics. 

A high-protein diet with many vegetables is a great way to build lean muscle mass. Eating a moderate amount of healthy fats is also essential so your anabolic hormones like testosterone are firing correctly to help with the muscle-building and fat-loss processes. 


When paired with a healthy diet and resistance training, supplements can help you build muscle faster. Many bodybuilders use protein supplements to get the most out of their training (2). Other ones that can be beneficial include creatine, glutamine, BCAAs, and casein. 

How Long Does It Take to Build an Aesthetic Body

The time it will take to build an aesthetic body will highly depend on your shape when you start. If, for example, you have a good bit of muscle mass, you’ll likely still need several months to improve your aesthetics by focusing on the right body parts and losing body fat. In addition, it’ll determine how well and consistently you follow a structured workout program and diet. Moreover, your genetics play a role as well. In general, beginners should look at about a year of consistency.

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to work on putting on lean muscle mass and losing body fat simultaneously. Below are some general training rules to keep in mind.

  • Use a split routine for exercises, as this helps you focus more on each muscle.
  • Do an average of 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each routine. Research supports this rep and set scheme to maximize muscle building (3).  
  • Remember to include exercises that help you build your V-taper, such as dumbbell lateral raises and lat pulldowns

Aesthetic Bodybuilders Through Time

Many bodybuilders prioritize size, so there have been many famous big bodybuilders. Besides mass, though, bodybuilders also focus heavily on aesthetics. Below are athletes with aesthetically pleasing physiques. 

Steve Reeves

Steve Reeves

Steve Reeves looked great aesthetically, which is why his transition from bodybuilding to acting as demigod Hercules was seamless. He won competitions like Mr. Universe, Mr. World, and Mr. America.

Arnold Schwarzenegger 

arnold schwarzenegger aesthetics
The GOAT in his prime

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most well-known bodybuilders, primarily because of his physique. His physique played a pivotal role in his acting career, and he became famous for his performances in Terminator, Total Recall, and Commando. Schwarzenegger won seven Mr. Olympia’s and has a Guinness record for being the “Most Perfectly Developed Man in the History of the World.”

Chris Bumstead

CBum aesthetics
Generation Iron interviews Chris Bumstead

This list isn’t complete without the reigning four-time consecutive winner of the Olympia Classic Physique division — Chris Bumstead. CBum is a Canadian bodybuilder who has dominated the top stage since winning in 2019.  

Calum Von Moger

Calum Von Moger bodybuilding

Calum Von Moger, known for portraying a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film Bigger, has one of the best aesthetics in the bodybuilding game.

Victor Martinez

victor martinez aesthetics

Victor Martinez was the second Dominican to earn an IFBB Pro card. Now, he’s a host of the Generation Iron podcast.

Zac Aynsley

zac aynsley

Zac Aynsley, featured in the Generation film Bigorexia, has a great V-taper as a Men’s Physique competitor, which places a huge emphasis on the upper body due to having to wear board shorts on stage that hide the legs.


The concept of aesthetics in bodybuilding is often subjective, but specific characteristics define individuals with aesthetically pleasing physiques. The prevailing agreement encompasses a V-taper, low body fat, and well-defined lean muscle mass.

Developing your physique as a bodybuilder requires focusing on a strong V-taper, proper nutrition, and supplementation. Notable bodybuilders renowned for their aesthetically pleasing physique include Arnold Schwarzenegger during his prime and the current Olympia Classic Physique champion, Chris Bumstead.

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  1. Calatayud, J., Vinstrup, J., Jakobsen, M. D., Sundstrup, E., Brandt, M., Jay, K., Colado, J. C., & Andersen, L. L. (2016). Importance of mind-muscle connection during progressive resistance training. European journal of applied physiology, 116(3), 527–533.
  2. Carbone, J. W., & Pasiakos, S. M. (2019). Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Nutrients, 11(5), 1136. 
  3. Schoenfeld, B. J., Grgic, J., Van Every, D. W., & Plotkin, D. L. (2021). Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), 9(2), 32.
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.