Far too many times, people have good intentions when it comes to going to the gym, but they fall off the wagon. A lot of this stems from the fact that they are afraid of not getting good results. Well, learning how to get muscle definition might be the exact component that’s eluded you over the years.
By building definition, you’ll feel more confident and have a really good motivator to keep you coming back for more. Besides, who doesn’t like looking good? If you look good, you’ll also feel good, and life will be great!
Choose the right exercises
When it comes to weightlifting, you have isolation exercises and compound exercises. Isolation means that you isolate, or single out, one specific muscle. A bicep curl, for example, specifically targets only the biceps on the front of the upper arm.
Compound exercises recruit multiple muscles at the same time and require you to use more than one joint. A squat causes you to bend your knees, hips and even ankles all at the same time. In doing so, it works the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Knowing this, here’s how to build muscle definition …
Perform workouts that incorporate both compound and isolation exercises, but do them in the right sequence. Since you use multiple muscles with compound exercises, you want to do these first. Then you need to “finish off” your muscles with isolation exercises.
For example, perform squats, deadlifts, leg extensions, and hamstring curls for your legs. The first two are compound and the last two are isolation.
This will recruit the most muscle fiber and give you the best bang for your buck.
Lift the right amount of weight
Muscles are built by overloading them with resistance and creating micro tears inside them. These tears then heal up and your muscles become bigger, stronger, and more defined.
Regardless of whether you’re doing a compound or isolation exercise, you need to lift a heavy enough load to get a favorable response from your muscles. Aim for a resistance that you can lift 10 to 12 times. That’s the sweet spot.
Use a full range of motion
A big part of building definition is not necessarily how much you lift, but how you lift. In other words, use a full range of motion and proper form at all times. If you are only working a muscle partially, it will get conditioned to a shortened length and you are susceptible to injury when you ask that muscle to stretch further later on down the road.
Here is an example of a full range of motion with good form. Take barbell curls into consideration.
Hold the bar against your thighs with a shoulder-width underhand grip. Keep your upper arms tight to your sides and lift the bar by bending your elbows. Keep going until your palms are right by your chest.
Squeeze your biceps and hold for a full second. Slowly lower the bar all the way down and repeat. Do not swing your hips forward for momentum and do not let your upper arms move forward.
Take time to recover
Pulverizing your muscles every day of the week will not build definition. In fact, that will get you hurt really fast. Take adequate rest breaks in between sets and make sure to take rest days. It’s OK to work out on consecutive days, but never work the same muscle groups two days in a row.
Learning how to get muscle definition is not that complicated once you have the concepts figured out. It all comes down to the basics. Master those and you’ll be a lean machine faster than you ever would’ve imagined!
Read our 101 guide on How to Build Muscle Mass
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