6

votes

How to reduce muscle size?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 29, 2011 at 6:57 AM

Probably a rare question around here, but how do you think one would reduce the size of a muscle without completely dropping weight workouts? I gain muscle quite easily and come from a bodybuilding type background and diet and want to reduce muscle the muscle mass I have. I know the simple answer would be to stop lifting weights (which I have reduced dramatically) but I enjoy the effects it has on my mood and health benefits in general.

Dbb8666905796a86f1dba08860555756

(97)

on June 23, 2012
at 12:56 PM

Tried it. Lifting light with high reps doesn't necessarily make my muscles larger, but it certainly does not shrink them, as I would like to have happen.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:39 PM

Somebody is tearing around PH downvoting everything. Hey there -- I hope you're having fun!

85382cd84288ed28c92cbfe7bfcaf226

(184)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:04 PM

Mike -- I think tempo is overrated. Rest time is "what it takes for you to be able to lift the next set". Differs for everyone.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on January 01, 2012
at 04:06 PM

I'm not the right person to ask about tempo sorry. And I do agree that at a certain point strength creates size.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:32 AM

At a certain point strength does equal size.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on December 29, 2011
at 10:23 PM

Gymnasts are solid muscle, I wouldn't point to them and say look at that reduced musculature.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on December 29, 2011
at 07:28 PM

brb gonna go rage a bit

5db776908ed5975063e13feefe9f288a

(148)

on December 29, 2011
at 06:32 PM

Out of curiousity, to build smaller, denser muscles, what would be good rest times between sets with that number of reps? Also, does tempo matter?

5db776908ed5975063e13feefe9f288a

(148)

on December 29, 2011
at 05:02 PM

Exactly right. It's a common misconception that strength equals size. Keep reps low for high strength without the huge size.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 29, 2011
at 03:12 PM

+1 Yup, the conventional wisdom way: chronic cardio. :)

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on December 29, 2011
at 03:10 PM

+1 for an answer that was not only informative, but entertaining too.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on December 29, 2011
at 07:06 AM

Seriously? . . .

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20 Answers

11
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on December 29, 2011
at 09:20 AM

brief answer......less weights, more speed work......(hat tip to Jake the Mus from Once Were Warriors);
take a look at this clip from an excellent film (language & sexism warnings); http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZSv4HlyfIo watch it through till 2.00 min for the speed work reference.
(or for a slightly longer clip, if you want to see more http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCHe-0w9KX8)

longer answer......look for a sport (or sports person) who's physique you would like to "convert" to, find out how they train & do the same. you'll probably need to eat less as well.

a couple of local (Australian) examples that come to mind would be; Anthony Mundine, who went from Rugby League to Boxing & then dropped weight divisions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Mundine & Israel Folau who went from Rugby League to AFL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Folau

you may be able to google some images for these guys, both went from bulky muscular types to more lean muscular type.

....another thought, are you taking any 'body building' type supps or powders. if so, may be worth giving them up, unless they are good for your general well being. & you'll save some money as well. Creatine in particular seems to be effective in increasing muscle volume (by increasing water in the muscle), so if you currently take Creatine, stop.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on December 29, 2011
at 03:10 PM

+1 for an answer that was not only informative, but entertaining too.

4
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on December 29, 2011
at 03:04 PM

Working more on heavy weight with low reps (1-3 reps per set) will give you strong dense muscle. If you diet enough to lose weight while keeping your 1rms the same you should see a smaller body with the same strength. For the love of god don't abandon your hard earned strength.

5db776908ed5975063e13feefe9f288a

(148)

on December 29, 2011
at 06:32 PM

Out of curiousity, to build smaller, denser muscles, what would be good rest times between sets with that number of reps? Also, does tempo matter?

5db776908ed5975063e13feefe9f288a

(148)

on December 29, 2011
at 05:02 PM

Exactly right. It's a common misconception that strength equals size. Keep reps low for high strength without the huge size.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:32 AM

At a certain point strength does equal size.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on January 01, 2012
at 04:06 PM

I'm not the right person to ask about tempo sorry. And I do agree that at a certain point strength creates size.

85382cd84288ed28c92cbfe7bfcaf226

(184)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:04 PM

Mike -- I think tempo is overrated. Rest time is "what it takes for you to be able to lift the next set". Differs for everyone.

3
Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

on December 29, 2011
at 07:24 AM

Diet doing everything wrong.

No heavy resistance workouts (nothing heavier than your 15RM)

Excessive cardio

Low protein (~ < .5g/lb)

Low calories (~10kcal/lb)

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 29, 2011
at 03:12 PM

+1 Yup, the conventional wisdom way: chronic cardio. :)

3
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on December 29, 2011
at 07:07 AM

If thats a real question, and you dont want to hear to stop lifting weights then: The best way to do this is to starve yourself.

2
9b0a4701e373d4dd13831cfb9b13f42d

(1677)

on December 29, 2011
at 05:11 PM

Start doing 4 mile plus runs a few times a week and you can watch the muscle disapear. I know that seem to work for me especially combined with intermitent fasting.

2
0f32ad570e3bf419432429d3ac842405

(235)

on December 29, 2011
at 07:23 AM

reduce muscle? reduce protein intake, take thyroid hormones, do excessive cardio training, take synthetic cortisol, make sure not to get enough sleep, eat high GI carbs and let your blood sugar bunk afterwards, start boozing, eat lots of soy

^ lots of valid ways to reduce muscle ;)

1
121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

on May 31, 2012
at 06:41 PM

Try long-distance running. Seriously. There's nothing like running -- and lots of it -- for turning you into a wiry beanpole!

(Some people here are reporting they get big legs from it, but that hasn't been my experience.)

1
Dbb8666905796a86f1dba08860555756

on May 31, 2012
at 01:00 PM

I am a 24 year old female, and I also wish to lose muscle mass. I have competed in bikini competitions and have added a lot of muscle to my small frame with ease. (I enjoy moving heavy weight!) But, when I am not dieted down to be on stage, and am at a normal 18-21% body fat, I feel very large. I want to go back to being petite and feminine. I don't want to run miles on end daily, as I learn more about the detrimental health effects of chronic cardio. Any suggestions on how I can still enjoy being a very active person (and even hit the gym) but still manage to lose some of my mass (fat and muscle both)?

1
2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on December 29, 2011
at 12:26 PM

You might want to try the Twinkie diet. Or become vegan.

1
E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26

(2384)

on December 29, 2011
at 10:26 AM

If you heavily cut out carbs, your muscle glycogen stores will deplete and you will lose some water as well. This way your muscles might dwindle a little bit.

From an evolutionary stance, I would suggest that extreme muscular mass is not an advantage, since it requieres more energy to sustain and might be hindering for sprints, climbing etc. , so it could possibly happen that a strict low/zero carb paleo diet will shape you into a leaner version - but no necessarily weaker version.

0
D460f31ffa93f2b244ee66ba966574b9

(153)

on July 07, 2012
at 10:43 PM

Give some to me!! And if you've got an extra fat I'll take that too. I have the opposite problem and am underweight :)

I would focus on getting the majority of your calories from carbs (maybe fruit and rice) and reduce the amount of protein and fat in your diet. Do more cardio. Have you noticed how most endurance athletes are very lean?

0
3806d8d2d78746ce55d8201e67ef3128

(244)

on July 07, 2012
at 08:25 PM

Standard American diet...

Really though, working with a low protein diet, in a calorie deficit, with some steady state cardio, should do it.

0
4d4e8937fac81b1e4c6b8ec9d3e8f32e

(0)

on July 07, 2012
at 06:32 PM

Easy..Endurance training*strong text* VERY high amounts of cardio, Decrease calorie intake and NO PROTEIN or post workout snack. Work whichever muscle group you want smaller with very high reps (100-150). No resistance training at all if your trying to rapidly decrease muscle size. Im telling you thus works but you must be consistent. Goodluck

0
01adafcb4dd4147c6af543f61eee60a8

on May 31, 2012
at 04:34 PM

Running has added mass to my legs so I would avoid that. Just reduce calorie intake and lift light and high rep.

Dbb8666905796a86f1dba08860555756

(97)

on June 23, 2012
at 12:56 PM

Tried it. Lifting light with high reps doesn't necessarily make my muscles larger, but it certainly does not shrink them, as I would like to have happen.

0
46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:35 AM

A good physical yoga can give you a leaner yet muscular physique... along with so many other good benefits. It's all body weight work.

0
D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on December 29, 2011
at 10:09 PM

Switch to forms of exercise in which bulk is a decided disadvantage: running, body weight/gymnastic rings, that sort of thing. Volleyball, particularly sand, tends to create leaner yet muscular physiques. Look at the bodyshapes of pros for clues to the bodies a sport creates.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on December 29, 2011
at 10:23 PM

Gymnasts are solid muscle, I wouldn't point to them and say look at that reduced musculature.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:39 PM

Somebody is tearing around PH downvoting everything. Hey there -- I hope you're having fun!

0
04f2eae4450112cdedce7235923c646d

(1112)

on December 29, 2011
at 05:00 PM

I've lost significant muscle mass after I started Paleo + Crossfit. If you do metcons of longer duration, it might help you out as well. As pointed out by others, keep strengt work at low repetitions, and do speed work as well. Caloric restriction might further boost the progress as well.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on December 29, 2011
at 04:59 PM

Do body weight exercises for 10-12 minutes per day (High reps). Then jump rope for 20 mins.

0
Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

on December 29, 2011
at 10:59 AM

If you want to have lower muscle volume, then go keto (VLC, very low carb). After a while ( a week or so), your muscle's glycogen stores will deplete, and you'll lose volume. Any time you eat carbs, your muscles will refill their stores, and regain their volume. You can still do your weight training if you want, but you won't have as much "fuel in the tank" when you do your lifts, so you can forget about intense 45min lifting sessions, or at least that was the case with me.

Addressing the "why" - why do you want less mass? If you're concerned about standing out, then don't be afraid to stand out from a crowd of weak, undernourished people. Having muscle mass isn't bad.

-2
324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on December 29, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Do you look like this?:
how-to-reduce-muscle-size?

If so, then stop taking doses of steroids 100x the amount naturally present in your body.

If not, then you don't need to worry about losing muscle.

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