Definition, or cuts, between muscles is best achieved through regularly lifting weights and performing exercises that target specific muscle sets. Strengthening and growing muscles located closely together, such as the bicep in your arm and the deltoid in your shoulder, creates definition between the muscle groups.
You further define your muscles when you decrease your body fat percentage, which allows your skin to sit snug against lean muscle tissue, following its curvature.
When stacked together, a healthy diet, overall fat loss and muscle-specific exercises can help you develop more defined muscles.
Eat Your Way to Success
Making a few changes in your dietary habits can help you get that cut you're looking for. Start by restricting foods in your diet that are high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium. These types of foods can contribute to unhealthy weight gain, typically in the form of fat, which makes defining your muscles more difficult.
Incorporate nutritious foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and lean cut meats, to help promote the growth of lean muscle tissue. Incorporate plenty of protein, such as whey, into your diet — lean muscle tissue develops from the amino acids extracted from protein after your body metabolizes it.
Finally, drink protein shakes before or after a workout to help boost your energy levels. Protein shakes can help your muscles recover faster after an intense workout, which means you can work out more often to develop muscle cuts quicker.
The Road to Defined Shoulders
For general fitness, compound strength-training exercises, which work several muscle groups at once in a way that often mimics real-world motions, are the way to go. But if you're working out for cut muscles, make sure to incorporate exercises that target the area you want to define. That means doing at least three arm and shoulder-strength training exercises during every workout, although your biceps and shoulders still need at least a full rest and recovery day between each workout.
Perform bicep and shoulder exercises in succession. Don't spread out these muscle-specific exercises by training other body parts in between.
Supplement biceps and shoulder exercises with complementary exercises such as overhead triceps extensions, dips, pullups and pushups.
In order to really develop the cut between your biceps and shoulders, you need to develop both sets of muscles with targeted isolation exercises. Change your routine every four to six weeks to continue to define your shoulders and biceps
Begin With Curls
Cut biceps start with curls. Place more of the focus on your biceps by doing your biceps curls on an exercise bench with a back support.
Hold two dumbbells at your sides with arms fully extended and palms facing inward. Then curl the dumbbells up without rotating your wrists and forearms. Touch the dumbbells to your shoulders and hold for one count. Contract your biceps as hard as you can before slowly lowering the weight back down to its starting position while inhaling. Do four sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Perform Shoulder Presses
Do shoulder presses by sitting on an exercise seat with a back support that is positioned underneath a barbell set on a rack.
Set the barbell to a height just above your head. Firmly plant your feet on the floor and grasp the barbell with a pronated wide grip. Push the barbell up to remove it from the rack and lower it to the top of your chest. Press the barbell straight above your head until your arms are fully extended. Slowly lower the barbell back to its starting position. Exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down. Do four sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Do Barbell Deltoid Rows
Perform barbell deltoid rows by standing behind a weighted barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Bend forward at the waist and slightly bend at your knees. Reach down and grasp the barbell with an overhand wide grip. Lift the barbell from the floor and bring your torso to about a 30-degree angle with the floor. Maintain a straight back throughout. Your arms should be fully extended, and the barbell should hang straight down.
Pull the barbell up and toward your chest, while flaring the elbows out to your sides. Exhale on the way up and hold for one count at the top of the movement. Release and slowly lower the weight back down to its starting position as you inhale. Do four sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Speak to your doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen and diet.