Above left photo: Rich Gaspari - mainstream bodybuilder. Above right: Steve Reeves - classic physique builder
There is a real difference between in definition between the classic physique builder and a mainstream, chemically-enhanced, bodybuilder.
In the Golden Age, muscular definition was valued, but it was also expected that the skin should have a healthy glow and look about it. As Vince Gironda once found out in a competition he lost, the judges were not impressed with an "overly-defined" physique. According to their standards, it was in-fact possible to have "too much definition." Here is what Joe Weider said in an article on "Bulk and Cuts for the Legs" regarding definition in 1961 "The 'cuts' must be carved where they will enhance the esthetic appearance of the leg without making the bodybuilder look like a skinless cadaver used for anatomical instruction in a Medical College."
With the advent of steroids and other pharmaceuticals (e.g., diuretics), it was possible to achieve paper-thin skin with a very low percentage of body fat. This led to the "shredded" or "ripped" look where every muscle striation and every cutaneous vein could be seen. So what happenned? Mainstream, drug-enhanced, bodybuilders began to go to the extreme in definition (as they did with size) so that the "healthy glow of the skin" (which is due to a healthy degree of body fat) was lost and "the more ripped they were the better." So they all began to look like dissecting room cadavers. (See above left photo of Rich Gaspari - mainstream bodybuilder).
For classic physique builders, muscular definition is valued, but not the overly "ripped" or "shredded" look. Muscles should be well-defined, with muscle separation, and some natural vascularity. But the skin should have a healthy glow - which cannot be achieved with excessively low levels of body fat. The classic physique ideal embodies the look of "radiating health and vitality." This is not the dead look of a dissecting room cadaver. (See above right photo of Steve Reeves - classic physique builder).
Classic physique builders are not impressed with seeing striations in someone's gluts. They are not impressed with seeing every cutaneous vein popping out. They have no need of NO boosters to increase vascular size to the extreme. The classic physique builder look is a natural, vital, muscular, powerful, symmetrical, and atractive one. They may carry a higher degree of body fat (than modern mainstream, chemically-dependent, bodybuilders) - but that is what is necessary and desirable to truly have a classic physique that radiates with "health and vitality!"
Muscular definition - yes! Overly "ripped" and "shredded" - no need! - CPB