How Do I Build Muscle Without Becoming a Bulky Hulk?

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elp! How do I build muscle without becoming a bulky Hulk?

Discover the muscle mass myths and tame your green giant.

Muscle Mass Myths

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There is a commonly held belief that lifting heavy weights leads to becoming bulky. This dilemma is especially worrying for women who want to "tone up" but are scared of developing muscles so large that they look like the Incredible Hulk.

So is this danger real or is it a muscle mass myth?

Some simple science provides our answer.

Photo courtesy of Ted Johnson

How Do You Build Muscle?

How do you build muscle? Science shows muscle can only do one of three things: a muscle can either get smaller, get bigger, or stay the same size. Science also shows us that there is a clear correlation between muscle size and strength - as a muscle gets stronger it also grows bigger.

These factors are important, irrespective of whether your goal is to "add mass" or "tone up". Why? Your aim in the gym is always the same: you are lifting weights to make your muscles stronger and bigger.

And here is where we expose a muscle mass myth.

There are no special exercises for "getting bulky", just as there are no special exercises for "toning up". There are only weight training exercises for making muscles stronger and bigger.

How to Tone Up?

So how DO you "tone up"? The clear answer is, you can't. And here is why.

Being toned is simply a function of muscle size and low body fat. These two factors combine to give us a lean and "toned" look.

The reverse is also true. You cannot "bulk up". You can only build lots of muscle - a slow process that does not happen overnight. This is why there is zero danger that you will wake one morning with unexpected muscle gains and find you have become a bulky Hulk.

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