How to Increase Muscle Definition in 5 Easy Steps
Lifting weights is awesome.
There’s something incredibly empowering about grunting with each rep and watching with satisfaction as you add another 5 pounds to your weights without breaking a sweat. You love the explosion of each muscle pump and the strain of your body against the machine.
But are you getting the most out of your gym time?
The more you focus on building mass, the more you’ll end up looking like the incredible hulk rather than superman. When building the perfect body, you want to ensure that each and every muscle is defined and sculpted, and in order to do so, you’ll need to make sure that you’re taking your workouts to the next level.
Although many find that cardio “gets in the way” of their strength training sessions, you may be surprised to discover that the way you balance your cardio with your lifting can significantly increase your muscle definition.
With these 5 easy steps, you’ll not only build more muscle, you’ll reveal it to the world, cutting away the fat to display the hardcore body you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Get the Most Out of Your Muscle
1. Divide Cardio from Strength Training: Cardio is a great way to strip away excess body fat and reveal your lean muscle underneath, and experts recommend that bodybuilders get at least 20-30 minutes of cardio 2 to 3 times a week. Unfortunately, cardio often gets a bad reputation for keeping bodybuilders from bulking up and supposedly even burn away the muscle you’ve already gained.
The key is keeping the two types of workout separate. For example, if you do an intense set of squats, lunges, and other calve-building, strength training exercises on Monday, then save your cycling, running, and other cardio exercises for Tuesday or even Wednesday to allow your legs time to heal. This way your muscles can focus completely on muscle building when it needs to.
Tip: If you’re crunched for time and need to combine the two workouts, be sure that you do your weight lifting first, and ensure that your cardio exercises focus on a different muscle group than the ones you just worked.
2. Choose Low-Impact Exercises: When you strength train with heavy weights, you’re creating small tears in your muscles (resulting in next day muscle soreness). These small tears sends signals to your body that it not only needs to repair the damage but build bigger, stronger muscle fibers to adapt to the demands you place upon it.
This puts a lot of stress on your muscles, and if your cardio workouts are high-impact, you’ll be increasing your chance of injury. Running or jumping on hard surfaces can add extra wear and tear on your joints, so it’s better to give your body a break and opt for low-impact exercises such as cycling, swimming, or the elliptical machine.
3. Increase Your Intensity : Ignore everything you’ve ever learned about the “fat-burning zone” and bump up your intensity. Unless you have hours to devote to doing solely cardio each day, you won’t be burning nearly as many calories as if you simply bumped up your intensity.
Make the most out of your workout by doing short bursts of high-intensity (but low-impact) exercises followed by active recovery periods. You’ll still be burning fat and revealing that rock-hard muscle definition while simultaneously getting your heart rate up to a healthy level.
4. Vary Your Routine: When you focus on building bigger, stronger muscles, do you do the same weights and the same number of repetitions day after day?
Of course not!
So why should you stick to doing the treadmill for 15 minutes every single cardio session when you could be busting your muscles on the elliptical, building your biceps while rowing, and carving your calves on the cycling machine?
Additionally, increasing your resistance is a great way to optimize your performance. If it feels too easy, then it probably is.
5. Focus on Form: When increasing muscle definition, it’s absolutely imperative that you focus on having good form with each and every repetition. Poor posture will increase risk of injury and work all the wrong muscles. Over time, poor form and posture will take its toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees and significantly increase the risk of joint pain and reduced flexibility.
Rather than awkwardly using your back or legs to squeeze out one more repetition, just to say you completed that set, focus on making sure each muscle is perfectly aligned with every exercise you do.
Tip: Workout in front of mirror or have a friend analyze your movements while you exercise to make sure your form is correct.
These 5 surefire strategies will help you increase your muscle definition without interfering with your already establish workout routine. With a few small adjustments, you can make the most out of your gym time and finally get the body you deserve.