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"You Can’t Look Jacked Until You Hit Certain Weights"?

I was talking about home gym sets up with a friend of mine and it got us to an Interesting conversation that I would love to hear some thoughts on.

Basically the conversation was around,

‘You can’t looked jacked until you hit certain weights’

We were talking about dumbbell bench press and I had been using 30kg in each hand for reps to failure (until my additional weights arrived).

I think that I can still get growth taking the sets to failure but my friend was of the opinion that you couldn’t look jacked or big until you were repping 45kg per hand for 10-12 reps for 3 sets. So he said no matter how much training I did with 30kgs per side I wouldn’t be able to get big/ jacked etc.

This is all hypothetical as I’ve now got 50kg per side to play with but just wondered on people’s thoughts.

Can you get big (jacked etc) without hitting a weight per reps minimum?

Might be silly but it got me thinking, moving from 3 sets 10-12 with 30kg per side to 50 would make you bigger but is there a minimum to being jacked looking?

Hope my ramblings make sense.

What’s the difference between big and jacked in this context?

Its probably all relative person to person. For size, you need stimulation and theres many ways to achieve that. Some bodybuilders have gone the lighter weight, higher rep method and have been successful. Others have gone heavy and so on. It really depends on the person and many other factors as to how much you can get out of certain weights, techniques ect… But, with that being said, you do need to eventually use more weight then you are now…as in…progressive overload. But the other part is diet…you need to eat for the goal too.

Nothing deliberate, just used different words to try and summarise ‘looking like you work out, being big, being jacked’

Agree but what I was asking was is there a minimum weight to achieve a certain size. So all those body builders, light weight or heavy weight will still DB press at least x amount of weight for sets and reps etc.

If that makes sense.

I would say their is a certain truth to this…but, it’s relative to the person and how ‘jacked’ we are talking. I mean, it’s unlikely your chest is ever going to look really big if benching 225lbs for at least a few reps (or the equivalent of that in terms of dips, weighted push-ups or whatever) is not yet doable.

That being said, their are alternative approaches to building mass, like if you do some heavyish flys for chest and then go straight into push-ups or some other chest pressing exercise you can almost certainly build muscle with that kind of approach.

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Gotcha. I really don’t think there are any standards for hypertrophy, although there are more efficient routes. Eventually it might get silly if you can do 100 reps or something, but volume and proximity to failure seem to be the primary drivers.
I think almost all of us look bigger when we drop body fat, which doesn’t exactly require big weights. I’m making an unfair assumption when I say that that the subject already has some size.

Reference: I think I saw it in a YouTube video one time maybe?

Edit: just saw @GorillaMon explained it better

No probably about it. The idea that at the same or similar weight everyone undergoes some sort of physical transformation is very silly.
If the argument is - most people need to get a bit stronger before they get bigger - this is fair. But there is no universal strength standard at which the body goes “oh - must get bigger now”.

Its also worth noting that different people with identical training, and identical lifts, identical heights and weights can look very different.


Probably was the wrong word…thats what i get for trying to arrange my thoughts in a way that makes sense to other people

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I wasn’t meant to come over as aggressive. More as “aggressively agreeing”

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No worries man…its all good. :+1:

I haven’t touched the 100 pound dumbbells in years and I’m pretty humongous.

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This seems like one of those “yes but no” or “it depends” questions.

Like in general, yeah- if you can bench this or squat that, you’ll look strong.

But then you get down to the individual level and it all goes to crap.

Like, you’d think Cailer Woolam would look like a beast or something with his lifts, but when he was at like 181 he just looked kinda lanky. Pulling in the 800’s if I remember correctly.

No doubt, he looks strong. But not THAT strong!


Your friend is a classic gym bro. And he’s wrong.


Gonna make a wager here that your friend is not jacked himself.

Power lifter and rather strong but 25% bf so got muscle but I look bigger (being around 15% bf) but having less muscle mass.

It was an interesting thought though but I’ve enjoyed the conversations above.

You can look jacked without even hitting any weights.

Genetic, genetics and genetics.

My mate is a taxi driver who only does smith machine bench and face pulls. Not heavy at all.

He is full house with a yoke that would give Jim Wendler an erection. I am practically begging to train this guy because he has elite tier genetics but he is a lazy bastard.


Word. It’s such a mind fuck to see people who look twice as good as me and have never once thought about doing any type of exercise.

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Do sets of 12-15 with the 30s and a 3020 tempo and you’ll most likely get big

I can’t even do that with the 40s so I guess I have a long road ahead…