One of the most popular bodybuilding goals is maximum definition, where body fat is shed so that muscles seem far more impressive, yet how is such a goal achieved while preserving already built muscle mass? This question has left bodybuilders confused and angered as they note substantial muscle loss when seeking to improve muscle definition. While some may understand that improving definition is dependant upon tinkering with specific diet methods for dramatic fat loss, others feel as if particular weight lifting variables are the primary fuel for enhancing muscle definition. When adopting such a mindset, one of the most widely accepted bodybuilding techniques is to increase rep range, where lighter weight is utilized to allow for a greater than normal number of reps per set, and certain bodybuilders believe that this weight lifting method will propel muscle definition to new levels, therefore some adopt an exclusive lower weight and higher rep approach to weight training during a fat loss cycle.
I cannot confirm exactly where this bodybuilding idea originated, but can guess that because lactic acid buildup in muscles occurs when engaging in high rep muscle building workout sessions, and therefore causes a muscle “burn” that is absent when using heavier weights, some have become convinced that this focuses on the muscle in a more complete way, and therefore must bring definition to a level that exceeds what is seen with a lower rep range. It’s also possible that cardiovascular fatigue accompanying higher rep weight training workout sessions causes many bodybuilders to feel that they are shedding more fat, and they then begin to follow such workout routines when muscle definition is the primary goal. The problem with these theories is that the weight training component of a workout session is not meant to reduce fat or increase definition, but rather to boost muscle size and strength, and therefore must be utilized with this particular goal in mind.
By modifying rep range to target muscle definition, the bodybuilder reduces the overload provided to muscle tissue, and will likely begin to burn away a portion of muscle mass that was built with lower reps and greater weight. Instead of boosting definition, this particular weight lifting method will work against this very goal by harming muscle, as a larger number of reps per set have no more of a positive impact on muscle definition than low rep workouts, but they do offer a lower level of fatigue and overload, adversely impacting muscle gains, and risking the loss of muscle mass when following a reduced calorie diet plan for fat burning.
Therefore, a bodybuilder should continue to build each weight training workout with a proper hybrid of rep ranges in order to sustain muscle mass while working towards definition, and focus on modifying diet variables to promote fat reduction, which is the key behind greatly enhancing definition in every muscle group. But is there a workout change that will accelerate the fat reduction process? Yes, and the method does not involve any alterations to the weight training workout, but does stimulate the cardiovascular system to improve metabolism and overall fat burning capability; aerobic activity is the key to accelerating the rate of fat reduction, and is often neglected by bodybuilders to the detriment of muscle definition. Even when seeking muscle mass gains, aerobic activity will assist in controlling body fat percentage, so in addition to a disciplined weight training workout routine comprised of both low and high rep ranges, aerobics is a very important concept in fostering maximum muscle definition, and should become required practice in any weight training workout system.
If you are pursuing muscle definition, and find fat loss to be disappointing, do not pursue a high rep range for your weight training workouts, but rather first restructure your diet plan, which is the primary factor behind body fat gain or loss, and then aim for consistent aerobic sessions, preferably five days per week if your schedule allows, and once these specific variables are intact, you will begin to experience body fat loss and definition improvements that will bring all of your muscle gains to the skin’s surface. If you are currently engaged in consistent aerobic activity, make sure intensity level is adequate, as a walking pace is not sufficiently challenging to the cardiovascular system for any significant metabolism boost, and remember that no exercise variable, whether it be weight lifting or aerobic activity, can take the place of a properly designed fat reduction eating strategy, so focus on how you eat for the most noticeable improvements in muscle definition.