Q: Is it better to concentrate on performing high repetitions for definition and low repetitions for bulk?
A: Both of these assumptions are incorrect. Ninety-nine percent of muscular definition has to do with a person’s lean muscle and overall body fat level, which is primarily a result of genetics, and calories obtained from one’s Personal Eating Plan.
If you are attempting to lose body fat, a) strength train regularly (to keep metabolically expensive muscle), b) eat fewer calories spread out over 3 to 5 feedings each day (speeds metabolism and creates a calorie deficit) and c) be disciplined not to eat if feeling hungry between feedings (indicates your tapping fat storage sites).
High repetitions have virtually no effect on muscular definition. If you desire greater definition, you must reduce your percentage of body fat by adhering to a balanced low-calorie Personal Eating Plan. All other factors being equal, body composition can be improved if one a) gets stronger, b) stays lean. But even then your potential definition is limited by your genes.
Muscular bulk or size is best produced by intensive exercise that lasts at least 30 seconds, but no more than 70 seconds. Using our recommended repetition guideline of 3-5 seconds to lift and then 3-5 seconds to lower the weight, a typical repetition of an exercise takes between 6-10 seconds to complete. Simple multiplication reveals that 6 second reps would permit sets of 5-11 reps where as 10 second reps would permit sets of 3-7 reps. For optimal results I recommend that you experiment with slow controlled repetitions while performing sets using the above guidelines.
TAKU’s NOTE: This is a question that often comes up in the Gym. Check out this weeks podcast episode #23 to hear one women’s journey to new levels of strength and Fitness.