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Will doing 15-20 reps get me more toned? Why do Cover Models do it?


I am not interested in getting any bigger or stronger. I just want to get toned like a Cover Model. I know you guys say that there is no such thing as toning but I was reading the MH magazine of December 2000. I found that 90% of them lift lightweights and high reps.

The reason they do this is because they say that this keeps their weight down and more toned. So is there a thing as toning? There has to be a reason why these guys do light weight and high reps. I?ve tried using between 6-10 reps and I don?t like the way it feels. It?s too heavy especially with a bad back. I?ve done 8-12 reps but that seems to put on muscle and that is the last thing I want I don?t want to get any bigger. I just want to be toned that?s all. So is doing 15-20 reps a waste of time?




Getting "toned" comes from your diet, not your training. What's you body fat? What's your goal?

Here it is in layman's terms;
A "toned" person is merely a muscular person with little body fat. So training for muscularity and focusing on the crap you're eating is a priority for having a "toned" body.

Read past issues, read lean eating, and for pete's sake, stop reading MH!


please please go post this at richardsimmons.com or something. this is a hardcore bodybuilding/strength training site. if you dont want to build any muscle you need to find somewhere else to hang out.

p.s. this is without a doubt the worst post ever to land on these forums!


Sorry to offend you steroid breath.




steroid breath. hahahaha.

You cannot increase the tonality of a muscle.-Charles Poliquin.


Toned looks gross to me.

Veins are scary.


Hey, there, Trying.

I agree with what Edgar said. Getting toned involves increasing your lean body mass (LBM) and dropping body fat (BF). It doesn't matter how much muscle you've got. If it's covered by a few inches of fat, no one will ever be able to appreciate your hard work and effort. You'll have that smooth look. Definition is definitely where it's at.

Go ahead and start reading. You need to lay a foundation for yourself to appreciate what this site has to offer and our approach to working out and diet and nutrition. We have several years of articles in the archives. The forum can be a rough place to ask questions if you haven't done your homework and laid a foundation. I guess it would be like me trying to go to another country and communicate, when I hadn't even studied the language or the culture.

In answer to your question, though. Most of us here on T-mag tend to look at the science behind body composition and nutrition, rather than following the BB rags/mags. Higher reps definitely have their place for someone starting out. Higher reps lays a foundation. Higher reps strengthen tendons, ligaments and joints. Higher reps helps someone new to the game to practice their form. Higher reps are good for muscular endurance. Higher reps are probably defined as >15 reps.

Most people who have a goal of hypertrophy (muscle growth) will work in the 8-12 rep range. Not that that's the ONLY rep range that will yield hypertrophy. Strength work is typically done with sets in the <5-rep range. They all have their place in a well periodized program.

Getting big is a conscious decision. If you don't want to get bigger, all you have to do is manage your diet and manage the scale so that total body weight (TBW) doesn't increase. If you were so lucky as to be putting on muscle while NOT increasing scale weight, it would happen at the expense of your fat mass (FM). More muscle, less fat, will give you that ripped, cut, defined, fit look that so many of us covet. Round these parts we call it, "Looking good nekkid."

If you have any other questions or are looking for something in particular, I'd be glad to help.


"...I?ve done 8-12 reps but that seems to put on muscle and that is the last thing I want I don?t want to get any bigger..."

Fuck, I wish I had that problem.


TT, you are a fine person, and a credit to this forum.

(Moderator's note: We all agree!)


Tampa-Terry Thank you so much for your reply I really took it to heart. You explained yourself very well. I understood everything you said. I can't tell you how much it means to me when someone such as yourself takes the time to answer my question and not put me down like others have. I just wanted you to know that I took the time to read everything you said and will use it for the future from here on out. Thanks again and take care. No need for others to reply to this post I think Tampa-Terry did an awesome job explaining this to me. Unless you have something else to add. Please no more put downs. Life is to short.


after reading all of the info. do you still not want to build any muscle?


steroid breath, that was classic, bwahaha

tryingtogetinshape, why dont you want to put on any muscle (or why didnt you, after the replys)? just curious, im assuming you aren't that big/strong of a guy from your nick/post.. im just real curious why you would think that? height/weight?

anyway if you could comment on that i would appreciate it!

bye (gain muscle, then get ripped, there's my advice)


Rebecca: TT, you are a fine person, and a credit to this forum.

Thank you very much for your kind words.

P-DOG: after reading all of the info. do you still not want to build any muscle?

P-DOG after Tampa-Terry was kind enough to take the time to not only answer my question but also took the time to explain it to me which you failed to do. No hard feelings though. The answer to your question is yes I would still like to build muscle.

iamnobody: tryingtogetinshape, why dont you want to put on any muscle (or why didnt you, after the replys)? just curious, im assuming you aren't that big/strong of a guy from your nick/post.. im just real curious why you would think that? height/weight?

Now that I have a better understanding of it I think my attitude has changed. I didn't realize how important of a role muscle plays when trying to get lean. Now you assume I'm not that big/strong of a guy from my screen name. Well let me say this I have been in great shape all my life I've weighed 188lbs of only 9% body fat. Until 1 ? years ago I injured my back severely where it landed me in the hospital and was basically bed bound for 3 months I couldn?t walk without pain shooting down my right leg. I went thru 1 year of rehab, chiropractor, stretches, and painkillers. I never got the surgery because the surgeon had told me that I may come out better, the same, or worse it was not a guaranteed fix.

So I chose to wait it out and go thru 1 year of rehabilitation. I did get 3 different opinions and all 3 suggested I wait it out as long as I could and to prevent the surgery has much as possible. It hurt so bad that I couldn?t dress myself, tie my shoes, bend over to brush my teeth or turn the showerhead on. My wife helped me with everything. It?s kind of sad when your wife has to dress you in the morning. At this point I started to become depressed I went from being a star athlete in high school and college and being in the best shape of my life to not being able to tie my shoes. So my eating habits started to get bad and I mean bad. I ate fast food everyday for lunch and for dinner would go out for a pizza or a restaurant and eat anything I felt like eating at that time. I was really depressed I stayed to myself I didn?t talk to anyone including my wife. I know what everyone is thinking why would I do this to myself?

Well one day I was at home looking at all my trophies and scholarships I have received over the years and just broke down and said it?s over I will never be the same again. I felt terrible I didn?t care about anything anymore everything I had worked for my whole life was taken away from me. So to make a long story over the 1 ? I got myself up to 220lbs I couldn?t believe it how fast it caught up to me. I started having people crack jokes to me saying stuff like wow it looks like your wife is a good cook. They would also say wow what happened you go from being an athlete to being a couch potato. Well that was the last straw. I just finished my rehabilitation January of 2004. I started lifting weights again and hired a personal trainer that specialized in back injuries and have worked very hard to get back in the shape I once was. I?m proud to say I am now down to 194lbs and 12% body fat. I still have a little more ways to go but by July 1, 2004 I should be back to where I once was. So that my friend is how my name came about trying to get in shape.

I still have the back pain and sometimes pain shoots down the leg but nothing like before. That?s why I don?t want to go heavy because it puts stress on my lower back. I also have the type of body where I can pack on muscle very easy I have good genetics as far as that goes. I just wanted to get leaner and not bigger because ultimately it?s healthier for my back to carry less weight around.

By the way guys sorry I didn?t get back to you sooner I was to busy at the gym building muscle. Take care guys.


ah im glad you explained that, best of luck to you and hope you dont reinjure yourself.

when you post a question like you did, you will get some bad replies. but dont take it so bad/personal, people dont know your background/injuries etc.. at least you got some good replies.



Thanks for sharing that, Trying! I can't tell you how happy I am you made it through rehab and are even ABLE to work out again.

Good to have you here on the forum!


Not much left out there for me to try and help with.

TT Great post as usual.:slight_smile:

trying... great progress as of yet. Keep it up and good luck.



Trying- there's nothing wrong w/ training 15-20reps if your goal is to stay in shape/ (tone) if you choose to use that term. In fact right now I am training a female figure skater and she needs to lose 30lbs by Christmas (for an ice show) and that how I am training her and she is having a lot of success. As long as the exercises are compound movements. In a circut type of format.

Also, I am not trying to put on any more muscle on her since, muscle weighs more then fat. She's too muscular already, mostly her lower body.

If your goals are to tone (again if you choose to use this word) or get back into shape 15-20reps is ideal.

As Personal Trainer most of my clients work in the the 12-15 rep range anyways. Unless, there goal is states otherwise.

In Health,

Silas C.


I understand the training around the back injury scene very well, but I have to say from experience that it doesn't have to mean you can never do heavier weights. You may never be doing heavy back squats or deadlifts, but you should put in the effort and personal experimentation to find out what exercises you can do with heavier weights and fewer reps for strength gains. You'll probably enjoy the training more when you can compete against yourself and get a bit stronger. When you enjoy it more, you'll be more likely to stay with it longer.
Some tips...
Never neglect flexibility and core strength.
Find at least one exercise for each muscle group that you can do with heavier weights.
You probably never really need to lift more weight than a 5 or 6 rep max (based on what your goals seem to be).
Never sacrifice form for more weight.
Listen to your body, but don't let it get lazy.
Next time you post a question, give us more info to explain yourself. You'll notice that the replys got better after you explained the situation more thoroughly.