I was taught once by my trainer (he is 75 yrs old) how to train to get defined and how to train to get bulked.

  1. Lower weights,more reps(like 15-20 reps) and slower+controlled movement to get defined
  2. High weights,lesser reps(like 5-6 reps) and controlling only when you are under tension(the lift can be helped by another friend) to get bulked

My question is,is this something true?And if not what training should I do to get defined and what training to get bulked?

3 Answers 3


As a former Bodybuilder, I can relate to the comment by your trainer. His comment reflects one of the theories that was prevalent years ago. As Bodybuilding and Weight training evolved, there have been many advances in training theory. Some of the theories that we thought were valid are no longer the norm.

With respect to getting more defined, I can tell you from anecdotal evidence that I found that maintaining the same number of reps and weight while tightening up my nutrition is what works for me. This seems to be borne out by a University of Alabama study, High Reps vs. Low Reps for Fat Loss:

“One study from the University of Alabama in Birmingham showed that dieters who lifted heavy weights lost the same amount of weight as dieters who did just cardio, but all the weight lost by the weight lifters was fat while the cardio group lost muscle along with some fat.3. The common belief is that high reps magically get rid of fat. While high reps with light weight to fatigue can create a muscular response, it does not necessarily remove fat better than low reps with heavy weight. While more studies are needed to compare the fat loss effects of high reps vs. low reps, substantial evidence is mounting that it’s not necessarily the amount of weight that is used, or the number of repetitions that helps burn the most fat, but the intensity of the workout. The goal is to create muscular failure with less rest between exercises, which can have powerful hormonal, metabolic, and calorie burn effects (See: afterburn effect). In addition, for fat loss, proper nutrition will have a MUCH greater impact on fat loss than the specific rep range, or even workout.”

I, for one, would rather tinker with my diet and keep the same number of reps and weight. I feel this approach provides me with a better chance to retain muscle mass while restricting my diet.

As for “Bulking”, I’m not a fan of that practice since I see it as a form of yo-yo dieting. I’d rather gain muscle in a linear fashion without having to gain excess extra fat along the way. I do this by maintaining my reps and weights while supporting my body with sufficient nutrition and rest.


"Lower weights,more reps(like 15-20 reps) and slower+controlled movement to get defined"

Not necessarily, definition comes from lesser fat surrounding muscles.All you need to do is, get rid of the fat, and if you don't see the result, that means you have to build up muscles. That's simple. I have known several instructors giving the low rep advice for cutting, but that really doesn't help. Though, that's not a good advise, but that's what they have heard from their mentors and instructors as a guideline, and pass it on to others. In this age of information, we have the access to knowledge at our finger-tips, so many old age body building myth are debunked. Rather doing cardio and weights training together for definition would be a good idea. Also, eating right and clean is very necessary.

  • And because of this "access to knowledge" I am placing this question . :) thank you for all the information Oct 13, 2016 at 6:52

Weightlifting will help you grow muscle mass when paired with an appropriate diet.

Your body-fat percentage determines how 'defined' your muscle look.

To increase weight, eat at a calorie surplus.

To grow muscle, eat at a calorie surplus and lift heavy weight.

To lose weight/reduce BF%, eat at a calorie cut and (optionally) perform exercise to maintain a healthy body.

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