How to Look Like You Lift

For many, there’s a certain appeal to muscles; to cuts, shadows, and angles in places that highlight the muscular potential of the human form. Maybe it harkens back to Italian Renaissance sculpture, a la Michelangelo’s David. Or maybe, for some of us, it’s a little more Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.

Maybe we’re driven also by the many health benefits of lifting weights, such as greater strength and power (obviously), better bone density and balance, improved cognitive function and ability to deal with stress, higher quality sleep, a faster metabolism, decreased rates of cardiovascular disease, and a longer life.

Or…maybe you just want to build shoulders that hint at the kind of load you carry.

Any way you slice it, lifting weights opens the door to creating your own version of this outcome, if you’re interested in pursuing it. (Aesthetic goals aren’t for everyone, and there’s no judgement in that.)

Changes in physique are pretty typical regardless of your style of lifting, and there are many to choose from (from circuit training to Olympic lifting to powerlifting to calisthenics and on and on). If you’re already a regular lifter who’s kicking butt and taking names in your training method of choice, you likely already feel strong. And capable. Maybe even, should the circumstances ever arise, like you’d be able to deadlift a small car.

And yet, even then, one of the No. 1 requests I get is, “I want to LOOK like I lift!”

It’s critical to recognize that everyone develops differently due to a myriad of factors ranging from body type to muscle insertion points to nutritional habits to hormonal profiles, so picking an aesthetic isn’t like shopping out of a catalogue. But that doesn’t mean you can’t boost certain parts of your body, if you’re trying to express yourself in a certain way.

I’m with you. It’s difficult to put on muscle mass! Yes, you can be fit and strong and athletic with regular strength training and conditioning. But that doesn’t automatically translate to Sarah Connor arms. Building a muscular physique requires deliberate work.

Thus, deliberate we must be. And a great option for that thoughtful effort comes in the form of hypertrophy training (which specifically focuses on muscular enlargement). There’s a reason hypertrophy is referred to as bodybuilding: It allows you to build and shape your body as you please. It’s not only your best bet for building a look-like-you-lift bod, but it’s also a pretty fun way to train.

And when it comes to those strategic cuts and bulges? Playing with some targeted hypertrophy work for particular muscle groups will start to form that visual. Namely, the rear delts, glutes, and hamstrings have a distinct effect on shaping this look, and adding in the quads and abdominals ties it all together. 

Hypertrophy is fun. But even if you’re not sold on the idea full-time, adding some intentional hypertrophy work to a few select areas is still going to elicit physique changes in the areas mentioned above.

Check out the video below for a great hypertrophy workout to highlight your muscular potential!

Wanna take your “Vitamin Workout” with you? We put together a detailed PDF of the information we covered in the video, plus written descriptions and photographic demonstrations of each of the the exercises included.

Click here to grab your free PDF!


Author:Kourtney Thomas

Kourtney Thomas is a coach and trainer with a passion for empowerment and all things big arms and big life. She enjoys snuggling furry animals, bicep curls fueled by cake, and riding her Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe with spandex under her leather.
Comments: 4

4 Responses to “How to Look Like You Lift”

  1. Courtney F

    Awesome ladies, totally ‘pumped’ for this new program!!

    • Julie Read


      Julie from Team Sinkler here! We’re pumped that you’re pumped! We hope you love it so far!

  2. Kelsey

    Fun little circuit, I’ll try it out!! I’m just wondering about that last exercise. There’s always so much emphasis on not letting your knees go over you toes, so could you briefly explain why it’s okay in this exercise?


    • Kelsey! Glad you dig it, and thanks for asking that great question. Long story short, some amount of knees over toes is to be expected, and isn’t a problem, and the warning to NEVER EVER is overblown. In the sissy squat, in particular, you’re seeking quad activation, and if you push your hips and knees back, you can’t get it.

      My friend Tony Gentilcore covered this topic more in depth, if you’re interested (watch for colorful language!):

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