This is probably my second most asked question. And the short answer would be; workout hard! The long answer will follow, read and learn!
Let’s start with two FALSE statement;
- High reps will make your muscle look “toned” or well defined,
- Low reps will make your muscles bulky
Your muscles look, will ONLY depend on your 1: Genetics (DNA) and 2: If they grow or not.
A muscle can only get bigger or smaller. Muscle growth is only about one thing and that is to exhaust it and put more load on it than it used to get.
When you workout and give your muscles a hard job, they will break down a tiny bit and when you rest and give your body nutrients, it will grow and become slightly bigger. By doing this, constantly, over a period of time, will make you stronger and muscles grow. You can workout your muscles in different ways.
For example; you can go to a gym or you can run.
If you look at a runner they don’t look that bulky or muscular. Probably very defined though.
Since they almost bounce because of the properties of the calf muscles and the ankles, they don’t put much stress on their leg muscles, right. And if you take a squat, for example, you bend your knee very very much, compared to a person that runs that almost has their legs straight. But most important is the resistance. This will exhaust your muscle in no time. If you do squats with your body weight compared to squats with 50 kg you will get my point! Correct resistance = Muscle growth! Read more about the correct resistance here*
I need to mention ROM – Range of Motion. This is key to muscle growth. ROM means how much you move a specific joint. Let’s take the knee joint as an example. If you have your leg straight the ROM is 0 degree. If you sit on a chair and have the foot on the floor the angle in your knee joint will be around 90 degrees.
Let’s put running in the example. When you run you might bend about 5-10 degrees in your knee joint and do a squat MORE than 90 degrees. Why is this even important?
This is super important! Why? The bigger ROM you use, the more you can exhaust your muscle and it will result in more muscle growth! More ROM will also involve the number of muscle fibers and that is also a key to muscle growth!
If you do 30+reps, you will get a bit stronger and your muscle will probably grow a bit as well. But the resistance is to light for your muscle so send signals to the cells to grow.
If you go down to around 8-12 reps, the resistance will be so big that you will start to tear the muscle fibers down. This is what you want to do! Being consistent is great! But, when it comes to sets and reps, you want to change the range from time to time since your muscle and body will soon adapt to your resistance. For example; the First time you do your personal best in a squat you do 1 rep with 40 kg.Next week you can probably do 2 reps of 40. Then 4 reps. This means that you got stronger.
To boil down everything in a couple of sentences; Your muscle look is not depending on the rep range. It will grow if you put stress on it = Weight lifting. If you want your muscle to look defined, you need to workout hard in order to build or keep your muscles and also decrease the amount of fat. You do that by following a diet.
I also want to mention that building muscles take a lot of time. We are talking about months. So; Have a plan on how you are going to work out, stick to it for 2-3 months, and then evaluate. A structure( a workout plan), consistency, and patience is the 3 building blocks that is going to take you to your goals.
If you want to grow your booty(or all kinds of muscles) you need to workout that specific muscle about 2-3times per week. Science tells us this is the load that will be good for muscle growth and it is very because of the volume. By volume, I mean the total amount of times you lift basically. If you do 4 sets a week of squats 1 time a week, you will get stronger YES! But is it enough in the long term? Probably not. My point, and what science tells us, For a person that only workout 1 time per week needs to do a lot of exercises and reps and set to get a great volume in order to break down the muscle and by that make the muscle bigger. But if you workout 2-3 days per week, you don’t need so much exercise per each day.