A common myth amongst the fitness world is that the best way to become more toned and defined is to perform lighter weight for higher reps. While lifting at a higher overall volume (more reps performed to achieve higher overall weight in total moved throughout the workout) will help you become more toned and defined, it’s not the end all be all. There is more that can help guarantee an even better lean, solid muscular physique. And I’m not even talking about diet which obviously plays a major roll in this aspect. What I’m referring to is variety in lifting intensities.
When trying to achieve a more lean, toned, and defined physique (male or female) it’s commonly paired with decreasing calorie intake and fat weight loss goals. When doing this for a long enough time to see results, you’re naturally going to lose a little bit of muscle. However, if you only lift lighter weight for more reps, you’re likely to decrease that muscle size and density even quicker.
By incorporating heavy compound lifts at the beginning of your workout, you will help maintain as much muscle as possible because you are using more muscle fibers to lift that weight. What you don’t use, you’ll lose. And unfortunately, fairly quickly.
It’s important to focus on both Sarcoplasmic and Myofibrillar hypertrophy. Sarcoplasmic is related to the muscle growth through non-contractile fibers from lifting slightly lower weight at a higher rep count/volume. Myofibrillar is the growth of the contractile muscle fibers themselves through heavy lifting. More closely related to power or strength training.
By properly incorporating both lifting styles through your workout program with a fitting diet to your body and goals, and an adequate amount of rest and sleep, you will maximize your bodies ability to decrease fat, optimize lean muscle mass as strength, and become more toned and defined as ever before!