What is the use of having muscles if they look soft and flabby anyway right. Well there are a lot of ways and factors to get that ripped affect with harder muscles. Some of them can be done in the gym or even at home.
So how to harden muscles?
The two main ways you can harden up your muscles is through upping your calories and cutting back on the cardio. If you aren't eating enough your muscles won't have enough of a glycogen level to create that puffy hard affect. Same goes for cardio you are literally draining the glycogen out of your muscles when you do too much cardio.
There are supplements you can take as well to help with the puffed hard look without much effort. One of these is Creatine and the other is any Nitric Oxide Booster supplements.
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How To Make Muscles Harder Not Bigger
So we didn't want you to only take our word for it on what makes your muscles harder. We went out and scoured the internet to get responses from real weightlifters on this matter. This information was curated so nothing has been changed except any spelling or grammar where needed.
Real Weightlifter Opinions
1. Rhainur “Reduce Bodyfat” – I've found that hardness in my body has come with a reduction in body fat and increase in muscle mass. Probably more of the former than the latter. I've never met someone with a muscular, low bodyfat body whose muscles were “soft”. Based on those two pieces of anecdata, I'd say you need to reduce fat and add more muscle to get bulk that is “hard”.
2. PeaceLifter12 “Don't need hard muscles” – The one thing I remember from reading Dan Millman's The Peaceful Warrior, is that muscles are supposed to be soft and pliable. Hard muscle is stiff and painful. You want a hard chest without flexing, get pectoral implants
3. LosttDreamer “Harder means more injury prone” – he more hypertonic (overly toned) a muscle is the harder it will feel to the touch. this usually means it is also very tight and prone to injury. it can also mean there are trigger points and or adhesions in the muscle making it rock hard. Everyones body is different and some peoples muscles are more solid than others.
4. Magnusson “Heavy lifting” – Yes it's possible. This is what muscle tone actually refers to, rather than muscle definition. Muscle tone is a neurological phenomenon which means the amount of contraction a muscle maintains at rest. When you increase your neural strength via intense, heavy lifting, you can increase your muscle ton
5. Nom-De-Reddit “Lift like a powerlifter” – Well toned muscles hold a certain amount of tension that indicates their readiness to do work on demand. The more ready the muscle is, the “harder” it will feel. This is why an olympic lifter's thighs might feel rock hard – the muscles need to perform explosive lifts, moving a large amount of weight in the shortest possible time. In order for them to do so, they need to hold more tension than a muscle that doesn't need to perform at that same level of intensity. It's kind of like stretching a rubber band – the more tension it holds, the more ready it is to release that tension.
6. Tomkatt “Just build muscle reduce fat” – no high reps/low weight. You will be wasting your time. Read the FAQ. What you're referring to as “hard” muscles is simply muscle mass. “Soft” muscle is not muscle.
Water content. Many competitors cut water intake hours in advance of a show in order to lower the water content of their body getting that dry and hard look. Lowering sodium and altering carbohydrate consumption will also help with this aspect.
Lighting and other enhancements (adobe photoshop / black and white photos etc). I believe the majority of photos used to sell a product / stroke an ego are altered in some form.
Maturity. As the body matures the skin becomes thinner, ever hold an elderly persons hand? Their skin is like paper.
Here is a picture of Frank Zane with a decade of training, maturation separating them. I am sure there are comparisons of other bodybuilders around as well comparing themselves as young men as opposed to mature competitors. All of them will show that the younger versions generally look “soft”.
10. PBJellyFish “Lower Body Fat” – That's mostly just a lower body fat percentage. Bulk until you're happy with your progress then start a cut. Stay well hydrated (so you don't hold too much water weight) and decrease carbs if you want to increase the appearance you're going for.
Why Are My Muscles Not Hard?
81% of our total 157 responses we went over mentioned Body Fat Percentage. So number one you need to get that body fat percentage down to the at least 10% and single digits better and your muscles will harden if you don't do number 2 on our list. Don't not drink water unless you are going to a competition. When you don't drink water for an extended period of time your muscles will deteriorate so keep hydrated not 2 gallons a day but at least your standard 64 ounces. More the more you workout.
17% stated something about water and staying hydrated. This becomes more of a thing especially when taking creatine or working out multiple times a day.
Why Are My Muscles Soft When I flex?
If you are flexing and your muscles are soft this is mainly due to either your muscles being weak and not worked out enough or that your body fat percentage is too high. If you have a higher body fast percentage there is muscle there and flexing you just can't see it under the layer of fat. This is completely normal and will take some time and mostly eating healthy to get there.
How To Get Hard Muscles Without Flexing?
You can get hard muscles without flexing by increasing the weight you lift and also decreasing your bodyfat at the same time. So lift more like a powerlifter so your muscles tighten and clean up your diet and macros.