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What Exercises Result in Better Muscle Definition?

By Amy Hunter
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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If you want muscle definition there are a variety of exercises that you can do. The most effective way to build muscles is through strength training. A comprehensive strength training program will help you develop muscles in all parts of your body. The length of time it takes to see results depends on a variety of factors.

If you are overweight, it is possible to build an impressive amount of muscle that no one can see. A layer of body fat over your muscles will obscure them from view. If you are very skinny, even a small amount of muscle will be very visible. While slender people require less muscle to show definition, it is often harder for them to build muscle.

Many people who are trying to increase muscle definition make the mistake of only exercising the muscles that they can see when they look in the mirror. The gym is full of people doing bicep curls and bench presses. While these muscles are important, it is vital that you don’t neglect your back and leg muscles as well. These muscles are not as visible, but by strengthening them, you improve your posture and present a more balanced appearance.

To increase muscle definition, it is important to challenge your muscles. Muscle growth is the result of microscopic tears to the muscle fiber. When the tears heal, the added tissue increases the strength and size of the muscle. To build muscle size, do fewer repetitions of each exercise, but use a heavier weight. For example, if you normally do 15 repetitions of an exercise, increase the weight dramatically, but only do five repetitions.

Another way to increase muscle definition is by allowing your muscles to rest. The actual muscle growth occurs during the rest period. If you do not provide your muscles with amble opportunity to rest, you not only risk injury and burnout, but it is unlikely that you will see any significant increase in the size of your muscles.

Proper nutrition is the final component to increase muscle definition. A high protein diet provides your body with what it needs to grow. Protein also increases your feeling of fullness. If you are over your ideal weight, and would like to lose a few pounds so that your muscle growth is more noticeable, a diet higher in protein will help you feel fuller longer and provide you with plenty of energy to exercise.

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Discussion Comments

By anon317140 — On Jan 31, 2013

What if you are slender and just want to tone? My legs are really skinny and I don't want to lose weight. I just want to tone my body. I don't want to lose the little that I have. I just want to tone. My goal is my stomach. I want a flat stomach with definition. I don't want to lose weight. What can I do? I'm a female, 26 years old.

By summing — On Jul 25, 2011

The article mentions a lot of great tips but I would also like to emphasize that supplements can help a lot. This can go beyond just protein powders. There are lots of muscle supplements that can maximize the effectiveness of your workout. These have few if any side effects and they can do a lot for your muscle tone. I worked out for years taking nothing and never saw any overwhelming results. Than I talked to a supplement specialist and he set me up on a program. I started getting the results that I wanted in only a couple of weeks.

By jonrss — On Jul 24, 2011

I perform a circuit training workout that allows me to build muscle and shed fat at the same time. All of the lifts work 2 muscle groups at once so I am getting the maximum possible workout in the time that I have.

My routine works like this. There is 10 exercises. I do each one as many times as I can for 60 seconds. Then I rest for 60 seconds and do the next exercise for another minute. Once I have done all 10 I start again at the beginning and go through 3 circuits total.

The benefit of this workout is that it works you heart and your muscles at the same time. And believe me, it really works. By the end I am usually drenched in sweat and completely exhausted. But I am sticking with it because I am seeing results. In 2 months I have lost 25 pounds and developed the kind of lean muscular body that I didn't even have when I was 19.

By nextcorrea — On Jul 23, 2011

Really the best an only way to get well defined muscle is to shed body fat. You can have the biggest and shapeliest muscles in the world, if they are covered in a layer of body fat they will just look like potatoes. Getting lean is crucial to getting ripped.

The best was to loose weight is with a combination of diet and exercise. Diet wise you should cut out all sugars, watch your carbs eat on a schedule and think about going vegetarian. Exercise wise you should perform a rigorous cardio routine at least a few times a week. If you do these both and do them both hard you will start to see results in a few weeks. But you have to be committed. There is not other way to get sharp looking muscles.

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