Lean vs muscular body is the question some people asked when they are growing muscles. They may want to have big muscles, but they also feel atracted to the idea to develop a lean figure like Brad Pitt in the 90’s. Have you ever watched fight club?
A lot of men wanted to look as lean as Brad in that movie. When the movie came out, it became very popular; not only because it was a terrific film, but also because Brad surprised the audience. He had a very low percentage of fat and looked really good. Almost all men that rushed to enroll on the nearest gym aspired to have that same body type.
But having a shredded body requires different type of workouts and nutrition compared to commonly bulky appearance.
So, let’s see how some difference between building lean muscle vs bulk.
Difference between building lean muscle vs bulk
There are two main types of people that do strength training exercises: those who want to bulk up and get massive muscles, and those who want to cut fat and look thinner with lean muscles. As different as these two goals are, the exercises needed to reach them are actually the same. However, your approach is significantly different.
Before you really get started with muscle building, you need to recognize which of these two groups you’re in. Are you building muscle because you want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan or because you’re going for more of a runner’s lean build? Once you’ve identified your personal goal with muscle building, you’ll know exactly what approach to take.
Here are a few difference between lean muscle and bulk:
If you want to build mass, then you need to focus on high-intensity workout routines which means lifting more weight with fewer repetitions. This will help you push your muscles to their limit so they bulk up quickly. For lean muscle building, on the other hand, you’ll want to train at a lower intensity level but with more sets and reps.
The amount of time you rest in between sets will also help determine if you build muscle mass or lean muscle. For building muscle mass, you want longer rests between sets, from 60 to 90 seconds. This gives your muscle plenty of time to relax and be ready for the next set. Lean muscle building will require shorter rests between sets, from 30 to 60 seconds.
How often you work out will also have an impact on what type of muscle you end up with. Those looking to build massive muscles should be hitting the gym 5 to 6 days a week. If you want to stick with lean muscle, then 3 to 4 days will be enough. Either way, it’s important to make sure you’re giving each muscle plenty of time to recover between workout days.
You are what you eat, and it’s no different in the muscle-building world. To really see an increase in muscle mass, you need to make sure you’re getting plenty of calories every day, around 30% of which need to be protein. While the protein percentage will be the same for lean muscle gains, the overall number of calories should be less.
How you prepare your muscles for your main workout will determine if they bulk up or stay lean. For building up impressive muscle mass, you should make sure to take 5 to 10 minutes prior to your main workout to do the same exercises with lower weights to prepare your muscles. Since lean muscle building already uses lower weights, you only need to do a basic warmup with light cardio first.
A great way to get more advice and help to reach your specific goal is to find someone that has the body you want to have and ask them what they do.
The 3 Best Exercises for Building Lean Muscle
If you’re sick and tired of looking ‘average’, at least in your own mind, then it might be time for you to get in the gym and do something about it. Many of us would give anything to have a lean, muscular, aesthetic physique that a Greek God himself would be envious of.
As you know, in order to build muscle, burn fat, and make any kind of improvement to your physique at all, you need to be willing to put the hard work in at the gym.
How many of you out there can honestly say that the exercises and routines that you are following are yielding the results you were hoping for? If lean muscle is your primary goal, you need to know which exercises to perform.
That’s where we come in. Below you will find 3 of the best exercises for building lean muscle.
Barbell bench presses
When it comes to building lean muscle, the barbell bench press is, without question, one of the most beneficial exercises you could ever wish for. The barbell bench press is a compound exercise, which basically means that it works multiple muscle groups at once.
Primarily it targets the pectoral muscles, but on top of that it has works the triceps, the delts, and even your core stabilizer muscles. Proven to add thickness and definition to the chest, barbell bench presses, either on a flat, incline, or decline bench, are ideal. To perform this exercise:
- Lay on a flat bench and arch your back very slightly, while pinching your shoulder blades together.
- Next, place your hands onto the bar with a grip just wider than shoulder width.
- Lift and un-rack the bar carefully, and then slowly lower it down gently until it grazes your upper chest, making sure not to bounce it.
- Hold for a second and extend your arms, lifting the bar back into the air and repeating for as many reps as required.
- After several reps you should begin to feel a deep stretch in your chest.
If you’re looking to build lean muscle on and around your shoulders and upper back, military presses are perfect. These are another compound exercise that targets many muscles in the upper-body. What’s more, they can be performed seated or standing. To perform standing barbell military presses:
- Take a barbell and place it onto a squat rack roughly shoulder height.
- Next, stand under the bar, grip it around 2 inches wider than shoulder width, keep your head straight, and lift the bar off.
- Now, slowly press the barbell up over your head, making sure to keep your head straight, as if you were trying to make a double chin.
- When the elbows are fully extended, hold for a second, and slowly lower the weight back down to shoulder height, and repeat for as many reps as needed.
Finally, if it is lean muscle mass you want to build, you can’t forget squats. Squats target your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and even your calves slightly and they are the perfect lower-body compound exercise. To perform barbell squats:
- Place a barbell onto the rack so that it is roughly 2 inches below shoulder-height.
- Next, place your hands roughly 8 inches wider than your shoulders while gripping the bar, and slowly stand underneath it.
- Stand so that the bar rests on your traps, making sure it is well away from your neck.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and slowly stand up with the bar resting on your upper back.
- Now, take a step back and slowly squat down until your knees form an at least 90 degree angle.
- Hold for a second, keep your head up straight, and slowly stand back up.
- Repeat the process for as many reps as required before safely re-racking the bar in the squat rack.
Frequently asked questions
Now that you know the difference between lean vs muscular body, let’s answer some of the most common question people asked.
All depends on your preferences. Most people are more inclinded to get a lean type because they want to remain fast and agile, and also because it’s more appealing to women.
However, they want their muscles to look bigger. The best idea is to find a middle term, where your muscles shine clearly while still enjoying a low body fat percentage (10% would be great).
In simple terms, a lean body is a type of body where all your muscles are clearly visible. You have a clean line down your chest and a very defined jawline.
The ideal body fat percentage is between 10% and 12%. If you are somewhere in that range, you’re in right percentage.
To have a lean type of body you need to consume a lot of carb and protein. And most importantly, you must redude your daily calorie intake. It would be perfecr it you can maintain between the range of 2.000 and 2.500 calories consumed.
Your have to modify your workouts and do cardio every day. At least 30 minutes of cardio workout will do. Jogging is the best option either, but you can make a good use of the treadmill.
Yes, you must have a high-protein and carb diet while reducing your calories intake. You also have to do 45 minutes cardio workout 6 days a week. Never miss day without cardiovascular exercise.
Here are some good recommendation to speed it up: eat as much protein as your can, increase the volume of your training, get more sleep, have more meals per day (over 5 meals), and consume some supplements like creatine.
Now you have a general idea when you face again which one is better: lean or muscular body. It all depends on what you really want. Naturally, the most healthy body type is combination, a balanced configuration of your body.
David is a writer and graduate professor. He writes for different websites. With 7+ years of experience in writing and education, David has combined his expertise in teaching with his passion for physical and mental wellness. He researches and writes to bring you valuable information about weight loss, nutrition, fitness, community, society and more.