How To Get A Physique Like Tom Daley

This chap here is Tom Daley, an Olympic British diver. Many of my London clients love his physique. Although personally, he is not my cup of tea as far as my personal aesthetic ideal is concerned, I can see what many people like, as he is certainly in good shape, and has a nice structure overall.

But what is it structurally about his body that gives him the ‘Tom Daley’ look?

Well here, using my own personal eye, I will break down what makes him good to look at and how you can train towards a body like Tom Daley.

The first thing people normally comment on when it comes to Tom Daley is his ‘abs.’ Especially the prominent oblique ‘V’ that narrows down on the bottom of his torso.

I am often asked, how do I develop ‘that line’?

First of all some points to consider.

  • Ab structure is genetic. Whilst everyone has external obliques (the line that is so apparent with Tom is the external oblique), some peoples obliques will be more prominently showing than others. However, you can develop your obliques.
  • The best way to build your abs and obliques, in my opinion, is by using core movements that you can progressively load and make harder over time. Not just by doing more repetitions. In order to build prominent abs, you need to get them physically stronger at contracting against a greater load, rather than performing endurance training (100’s of reps).

Our goal is something called abdominal hypertrophy (which means actually getting the abs bigger).

Here is Jonathan Wooldridge who I worked with last year to get this look. Now how did we get the abs and especially the obliques more prominent?

Well, we started off with basic core exercises like crunches and progressed to hanging leg lifts over the course of 12 months. We always made sure he was constantly challenged in the movements he was performing.

We also increased his caloric intake during a sustained ‘bulk’ phase (7 months) so we could add enough muscle to the core.

Eventually, when we dieted off the fat, it’s clear to see he had built a good degree of abdominal muscle.

In both pics here, he was 71kg, yet the difference in appearance is staggering.

The Takehome Lessons –

  1. Make sure you focus on getting stronger in the exercises you perform. Increase your number of reps, sets, or the amount of weight you lift to grow your abs.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ‘bulk’ to increase the amount of muscle you have in your abs. You have to be able to think long-term to build a good physique. You might even lose your abs for a while, but if you train them hard they will show even better later on.

The Most Overlooked Part of Tom Daleys Physique.

I do have to give Mr. Daley credit where its due. He fulfills one of my important principles of aesthetics, which is creating the ‘X-Frame’ this is an x shaped body, wide shoulders, narrow waist, and built legs and glutes.

Tom pretty much  illustrates the importance of good leg development to create an effective ‘narrow waist look.’

You see the good leg and ass (hamstring, quad, and glute) development is very important when it comes to making the waist look smaller.

Tom actually has quite narrow shoulders, so, up top at least, his V-Taper, is not very V-Tapered, at least comparing him to some other gym bros or movie stars that are considerably broader up top.

But, where this gentleman shines (besides his general boyish good looks, skin tone and diving skills) is in his leg development.

If you look at the guy’s quads, they are pretty big compared to the rest of him. This creates the illusion of a narrow waist, and therefore the coveted look many guys are after.

I would look at any client that wants this look to spend at least 2 days a week training legs, with gaining size the goal.

A good routine to boost leg growth would be 10×10 squats (weighted barbell squats) with stiff leg deadlifts and walking lunges as accessory movements (3×10). Using a 90-second rest in between sets.

You could try this for 4 weeks, then have a rest week, then repeat the cycle with slightly heavier loads.

This is an extremely challenging routine, however, if you eat enough, you are as close as can be to being guaranteed to gain size on the legs. I’ve had known people gain over 8kg of muscle using this method of training. And although it’s effective, its brutally hard if you pick challenging loads.

The goal is to complete all 10 sets of ten reps, before increasing the weight you lift. I used have used a similar routine as this several times in the past and it has always added size to my legs.

Once again you will need to increase your calories above your maintence level of intake in order to grow muscle on this method. Along with that keep protein intake high, 1 gram per pound of bodyweight at least. So 200g a day for a 200lb male.

In terms of making your squat better, I made this video that has a few useful tips.

But Tom Daley is a diver, not a weightlifter. 

Yes, that is correct, however, creating the aesthetics he possesses as far as abdominal development and leg development are much easier to achieve by lifting weights than by diving in my opinion.

So get in the gym and train to create the aesthetics you want.

Thanks For Reading

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