Toning vs. Bulking Up

by Jeff Thaxton |   Date Released : 10 Jul 2007
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Jeff Thaxton

About the author: Jeff Thaxton

Jeff Thaxton is a Certified Personal Trainer by the American Council on Exercise. He earned a BS degree in Exercise Science at Eastern Washington University in 2001 and has continuing education certifications in human movement, advanced program design, nutrition for special populations, counseling for health and fitness professionals, overcoming fitness plateaus and others. He is the owner of an in home personal training business called Fit for Life, and he has volunteer experience in physical therapy clinics and cardiopulmonary units.

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Comments (6)

Davies, Andrew | 19 May 2010, 10:26 AM

have to also disagreee with the 1-6 rep range. this is more condusive to strength gains than it is to maximum hypertrophy. gains in size will come along with this but 6-12 (i prefer 6-10) is best for increasing muscle mass. Also toning up can be achieved with the same rep ranges, but taking less rest time. the increased heart rate helps to burn calories, as does the heavy weights as they have a positive effect on metabolism during and post workout

riggs, gavin | 28 Jan 2010, 01:52 AM

stick to 6-12 reps i would reckon for bulking, but how many sets and exercises would you recommend for each body part on a split routine??

Alexander, Mark | 24 Nov 2009, 03:37 AM

The only difference between Bulking and toning (cutting) is what the client would eat. I have personally have gone for a more toned look and my training never changed (I lifted 8-12 and heavy) and I still lost over four inches off my waist and only 1 inch off arm, hips and legs. Remember muscle can only be made bigger or smaller so I don't think the type of training has anything to do with it as both types burn calories and will maintain muscle

Leonardo, Armando | 11 Aug 2009, 12:24 PM

In regards to bulking up I would stay at a rep range between 8 to 12. I would consider 6 reps still in the strength training range. There has also been research regarding the number of sets being performed and that doing more then 3 sets of the same exercise to islolate one muscle group has benefits but to minimal for it to be worth doing. Therefore in my opinion I would save my energy from that 4th set and move on to the next exercise. But everyone is genetically different and may benefit from doing higher numbers of sets during a bulking phase.

Pattni, Jaiman | 07 Jun 2009, 03:08 AM

I would disagree with the rep range for bulking up. I would recommend a person keeps their rep range from 6-12 if they are looking for muscular hypertrophy, and their protien intake should be a little higher then 0.8 grams per kg of bodyweight.

davis, leo | 27 May 2009, 01:11 AM

i see that you have highlighted that over load must be met achieve bulk but the same must be done to tone up and working in reps of 1-6 you’re more likely to build strength than size then if you was to do around 6-12 rep

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