SAVE 20% OFF any one regularly priced item or 10% OFF any one sale priced item
Understanding Muscle Tone and What Makes a Muscle "Defined"
In order to chose the most effective route to increasing your muscle tone, you must have an understanding of what muscle tone is in the first place. Muscle tone is residual tension in a relaxed muscle. What that means is that your nervous system is tensing the muscle to a certain extent while you are in a relaxed state.
Muscle Tone is a Byproduct of An Alert Nervous System
Basically a body part with great muscle tone has a strong mind-to-muscle link in that body part. If someone wants more muscle tone in a particular part of their body they need to increase the efficiency of the nerve impulses to that body part. Keep in mind that muscle tone is not a "muscle fiber" issue, it is a "nervous system" issue. This is the number one mistake that people make in their quest to increase muscle tone.
Why the "Light Weight and High Rep Approach" Isn't Effective
Lifting light weights for high reps is the conventional advice that trainers tell clients to increase muscle tone. Lifting light weights gives you an illusion of increasing muscle tone. High reps generally give the muscles a great pump. When the muscles are pumped up they will look more toned, but when the pump is gone the muscle tone is gone. If you want muscle tone for the hour you are in the gym then lifting high reps and light weights will let you accomplish that goal. If you want great muscle tone 24 hours a day, then you need a different approach.
Lifting Heavy Will Make Your Nervous System More Efficient and Increase Muscle Tone
The only way to lift heavier weights is to increase your muscle size -or- increase the efficiency of your nervous system. If your goal is muscle tone, then you should try to get progressively stronger without putting on size. A great way to do this is to lift for 3-5 reps for 5 sets or so. Do a basic strength workout, but then hit the cardio really hard after that workout. Keep your calories low as well.
Why Don't Most Strength Trainers Have Great Muscle Tone?
Most of the guys you see in the gym who are lifting heavy are also not doing any cardio and they are eating a ton of calories. They are trying to get as big and strong as possible. That shouldn't be your goal! If you want to get unbelievably defined then focus on gaining strength while losing weight.
Learn a Lesson from Olympic Level Athletes
If you have ever seen a middleweight boxer in person these guys are unbelievably ripped...so are gymnasts. These guys focus on gaining strength while maintaining or losing weight. These athletes have unbelievable muscle tone as a byproduct of their training. They aren't even focusing on muscle tone, yet they have more muscle tone than most bodybuilders. Keep in mind that most of the pictures you see of bodybuilders are after they have pumped up and have dehydrated themselves almost to the point of heart failure.
Lift Heavy, Get Stronger and Increase Muscle Tone...What's Not to Like?
Follow a basic strength training program and hit cardio hard. Train like an elite athlete and you will create an amazing body. Leave all that "pumping up" nonsense to the Mongoloid bodybuilders.
When I first got into the muscle building scene I was overwhelmed by the amount of different training programs, bodybuilding supplements, diets, articles and information there was out there. There were so many conflicting diets and training programs available and I had no idea what I “should” be doing. The result of this was about 6 months in the gym with little gains and almost no motivation to workout anymore.
I was at a complete loss and about to throw in the towel and give up. Then a guy in the gym gave me a magazine and told me to read the article in there about body types. So I did and it opened my eyes up to the reason why I wasn’t making any gains in the gym.
I am a true ectomorph (classic hardgainer) and my bodyweight was 60.2kg (132.5lbs) when I first walked into a gym. I had no idea about body types back then. I assumed (like most beginners do) that the more I worked out the bigger I would get. Thinking that “more was better” I started following a program designed for an elite bodybuilder. This resulted in gains of about 1.7kg in 6 months.
After reading the body type article in that magazine I started to understand more about how my body type worked, my metabolism, and gaining weight. Being an ectomorph I need to focus on calorie intake, long rest periods, and minimum cardio. It was only then I started making some real gains and I’ve never looked back.
So it’s important to be able to identify and understand your body type. Different body types require different training methods and diet plans. So listed below are the 3 male body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph, along with their characteristics.
An ectomorph is a typical skinny guy. Ecto’s have a light build with small joints and lean muscle. Usually ectomorph’s have long thin limbs with stringy muscles. Shoulders tend to be thin with little width.
Typical traits of an ectomorph:
- Small “delicate” frame and bone structure
- Classic “hardgainer”
- Flat chest
- Small shoulders
- Lean muscle mass
- Finds it hard to gain weight
- Fast metabolism
- Generally hard body
- Well defined muscles
- Rectangular shaped body
- Gains muscle easily
- Gains fat more easily than ectomorphs
- Soft and round body
- Gains muscle and fat very easily
- Is generally short
- "Stocky" build
- Round physique
- Finds it hard to lose fat
- Slow metabolism
- Muscles not so well defined
When it comes to training, endomorphs find it very easy to gain weight. Unfortunately, a large portion of this weight is fat not muscle. To keep fat gain to a minimum, endomorphs must always train cardio as well as weights. Usually supplements may not be needed as long as the person has a high protein intake in their diet.
A Combination of Body Types
These body types aren’t set in stone. In fact, most guys have a combination of two body types. These combinations are either ectomorph/mesomorph or mesomorph/endomorph. It is not uncommon to find a pure mesomorph that gains weight like an endomorph for example.
So which body type are you?
Given the information above you should be able to identify your body type. You may also want to optimize your diet and training to suit your body type.
ADIDAS STANDARD BENCH WITH 100-LB. WEIGHT SET on SALE now for $129.00 (reg. $179.99)
SALE ENDS Nov 20, 2014
- 100-lb vinyl weight set included
- Adjustable incline
- Sturdy design with chip-resistant, powder-coated finish
- High-density foam for extra comfort
- Dual-function leg developer and preacher curl pad
Post workout is an ideal time to eat a small meal with both protein and carbohydrates to help repair and build muscles and replenish your energy stores, respectively. It’s best to eat within 60 minutes of finishing a workout because that’s when your muscles are most receptive.
No, I haven’t made the secret potion for enlarging your penis, but you really don’t need that! All you need to know is how to use it, and while I trust that you know the basics, what you might not know are the inside tips shared amongst women. Keep in mind that most of these positions aren’t just for enhancing size – they’re amazing even if size isn’t a worry for you.
Creative rowing option number two requires a corner—and no hands. Stand with your back to the corner about a foot and a half away, elbows wide and resting on the walls, body tight and leaning slightly back. Press into your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together tightly to push your chest forward. Hold for a second, then slowly reverse the move. It’s not quite as intense as a true row, but the more you concentrate your effort, the more you’ll feel it work.
Faux Pull Ups
For this one, you’re not actually lifting your body weight up (hence the “faux”), but instead using the floor for resistance. Place yourself facedown on the floor, arms overhead in a “Y” shape. Press palms firmly down and “pull” your body forward, head up between arms, in a pullup pattern. Then press back to the start position. Bonus: You won’t need to mop later.
Fire up your lower back and glutes without adding weight by using the hinging action of a deadlift and altering gravity with hip thrusts. Lie on your back, with legs bent and knees aligned over ankles, hands by your sides or under your lower back. Press your hips up toward the sky, clenching the glutes at the top (like you do with the standing-up portion of a deadlift). Lower down with control (like you do when you’re hinging your hips back for a deadlift) and repeat. Keeping your shoulders on the floor (rather than elevated on a bench) gets your upper back in on the action, too.
Not enough of a burn?
Try the single-leg version. Setup is the same, but before you thrust, bring one leg into your chest, knee at a right angle. Extend through the glute of the leg that’s still on the ground to press your hips up.