Training for sculpture

Very often, men ask me similar questions – how, when, why, how to achieve a muscle sculpture. The issue is quite mythologized, many players believe that in the period of improvement of the definition, an exceptionally high range of repetitions should be used, it is supposed to improve the appearance of the musculature. 


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Unfortunately, the research does not mean that the performance of, for example, 20-30 repetitions in series or shortening the rest time had a positive effect on the muscles. As a rule, such treatments bring the opposite effects, loss of weight and muscle strength. Too short intervals between the series result in a decrease in the synthesis of muscle proteins. 4 For example, in the 2002 study, the group performing 20-28 repetitions did not report muscle gain, while the highest fiber increments were observed in the low groups (3-5) and the average number of repeats (9-11). To make matters worse, another Schoenfeld study from 2015 2 speaks of a small gain from using a large range (25-35 repetitions) in strength training. 

Men performed 7 basic exercises such as 

• pressing the bar down while lying, 

• military squeezing, 

• removal of the extraction bar, 

• rowing on the machine, 

• squat, 

• squeezing legs, 

• straightening the legs while sitting. 


They performed three bends for each exercise. Men trained 3 times a week, observations were carried out for 8 weeks. 

• 70-80% of the maximum weight; they performed 8-12 repetitions, 

• 30-50% of the maximum weight; they did 25-35 repetitions, 


The increase in muscle mass was greater in the group of greater weight and small range of repetitions (triceps, thigh), the only exception was the biceps maneuver – while the increase in strength in the group of 25-35 repetitions was disastrously low 

• in the high weight group for pressing, 6.6 kg (6.5%) and 23.7 kg for the squat (improvement of 19.6%), 

• in the low weight group for extrusion, lying 2 kg (2%), and for squat 10.7 kg (improvement by 8.8%) 


In the next study from 2015, the 3 group performing a lot of repetitions (weight 70% of the maximum weight, 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions,) noted a much smaller increase in strength, but also a drastically smaller increase in dry muscle mass compared to the group of 90% weight maximum and 3-5 repetitions. In terms of dry matter in the group performing 10-12 repetitions, the muscle growth was 0.1 kg on average, while in the intensity group (3-5 repetitions) up to 1.4 kg. 


Results of the experiment 

• Dry body mass (muscles) – in the volume group; before 68.5 kg, 68.6 ± 7.9 kg, 

• Dry body mass (muscles) – in the intensity group; before 68.5 kg, 69.9 ± 7.5 kg, 

• bench press while lying on a bench, volume group; BEFORE 104.5 ± 19.2 kg, AFTER 110.9 ± 17.5 kg, 

• Squeezing the bar while lying on the bench, intensity group; BEFORE 108.8 ± 31.8 kg, AFTER 123.8 ± 34.1 kg, 

• Percentage it was an improvement in the intensity group by 14.8 ± 9.7% and in the volume group by 6.9 ± 9.0%, 

• Dry shoulder mass (muscles) – in the intensity group improvement by 5.2 ± 2.9%, in the volume group improvement by 2.2 ± 5.6%, 

Ok, now the question will be asked – what does muscle mass gain have to do with improving the definition of the figure? 

Well, first of all the sculpture mentioned in the title results from the degreasing of the body. If you wear 15-20 kg of fat ballast (like an average, physically inactive man) – you can have muscles worthy of a professional bodybuilder, but unfortunately your silhouette will still look like a cotton candy or blown out. This fat is located under the skin (adipocytes), around internal organs (visceral) and inside muscles (IMTG, fat droplets in muscles, local energy source). The worst thing is that it covers the muscles and prevents them from being properly presented. 

At the end you can consider typical measures that improve the appearance of the body during reduction (eg, non-flavoring SAA, eg 30-50 mg oxandrolone daily + in the background, as supporting 250-300 mg of testosterone per week, eg enanthate), 

Do not reach for clenbuterol or DNP – the first one can send you to the hospital, the latter can destroy the whole body, can kill, is a little less toxic than potassium cyanide. 

• 2.64-3.3 g / kg body mass of good quality protein (eg lean meat, fish, WPC / WPI / WPH – concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates of whey protein), 

• 1-3 g / kg of carbohydrates (there are even more restrictive diets, where less than 50 g of carbohydrates are provided per day for a person weighing 100 kg, eg ketogenic), 

• 0.5-1 g / kg of body fat, olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, seeds, nuts, almonds, etc. (there are diets where the share of fats in the balance is much higher), 

• a deficit of 200-400 kcal per day (1400-2800 kcal per week), these may be higher values, 

Aerobic program 

lasts for example 16-20 weeks (the meter is the level of body fat, the appearance of the figure, our progress), 

we start from 3 trainings to 15-20 minutes, we finish even for 6-8 sessions a week for 45-60 minutes, 

it is best to run in the field, although the most interfering with strength training, much smaller negative effects will have, for example, a bicycle with adjustable resistance, 

aerobic training is an energy expenditure, it can help get rid of body fat, although its effect on the metabolism 24-48 h after completion of work is negligible, 

Interval program 

can be an alternative or supplement to the cardio program, 

as a rule, no more than three interval sessions are carried out during the week, 

the initial weeks are work in the form of interval aerobes (the adaptation may last 12-16 weeks), 

next weeks (8-16) are the intervals of increasing intensity (eg initially 15 seconds of sprint – 40-60 seconds of jogging – repeated 8-10 x, we start from 5 intervals, every week we add one), 

in the following weeks we strive to perform 10 sprints lasting 15-20 seconds with a rest interval of 25-30 seconds, 

at the very end we get a running interval of 15-20 seconds sprint, 15-20 seconds of rest – a total of 10 x, 

at the very end, we place VO2 max sessions (eg HIIT, repeated sprints), TABATA, HIIRT or the heaviest crossfit compilations, 

Returning to the issue from the beginning of the text, we know that a diet with a significant calorie deficit causes the consumption of some muscle tissue for energy needs, including during the effort. This phenomenon intensifies when training on an empty stomach – especially if you do not use protective pharmacology. By their very nature, aerobics are not muscle-friendly – they influence the activation of contradictory signaling pathways, they can inhibit the growth of muscle mass. It can be assumed that the muscles developed in the sweat of the forehead after a certain period of reduction will reduce their dimensions. This is of particular optical significance – in part it can be explained by a decrease in the amount of muscle glycogen (intake), a decrease in hydration (especially if you discontinue eg creatine, aromatizing anabolic androgenic steroids, implement a strict low-carbohydrate diet). 

Under these conditions, you have to do everything to keep your muscles – which are the main engine that burns fat in the human body. What’s more, resting metabolism results to the greatest extent from the amount of dry muscle mass (fat is not counted, which is inactive when analyzing the effect on REE). Choosing too high a range of repetitions in training for sculpture will lead to further losses of priceless muscles. Optimum seems to be in the range of 6-12 repetitions, with a weight above 75% of the maximum, for example, you squeeze 160 kg lying down, choose a working weight of 120-130 kg. Also relying on machines, connected series – does not have to give the expected results. It has a much smaller hormonal effect. The final word – do not start building a house from the roof – there are no miraculous pills that will make your silhouette look like bodybuilders in the starting form. It’s hard work, on many fronts – that explains why most gym goers carry a lot of fat.