What Is Muscle Toning and What Are the Best Exercises for It
Working with the right load and intensity will give you firm, toned muscles.
Losing weight, increasing muscular endurance, strength, and flexibility, reducing stress and anxiety, promoting restful sleep, strengthening the immune system, and protecting against cognitive decline. The health benefits of regular physical exercise are innumerable and work at all levels: physical, mental and spiritual. However, not all training sessions are the same; some are better suited than others to the goals you have set yourself.
As Francisco Payán, Fitness Supervisor at SHA Wellness Clinic, tells us, ‘If what you want is to gain volume, like bodybuilders, you should do exercises to hypertrophy your muscles. On the other hand, if you are not looking for a specific goal or a particular aesthetic, functional training is the best option because you work all the muscle groups at the same time with a medium intensity and load’.
When we talk about toning, we are referring to the hardness and firmness of the muscle at rest. As Francisco says, ‘Each person has a different morphology. That’s why, even if two people do the same workout, the muscles of one may look looser and saggy, while those of the other will look stronger and firmer’.
Any exercise you do will improve your muscle tone, but there are certain workouts that can speed up the process. ‘The best exercises for toning muscles are similar to functional training (squats, push-ups). What changes is the load, which is higher, the breaks, which are longer, and the intensity of the exercise. In addition, to achieve the desired results, a minimum of eight repetitions and a maximum of 12 high intensity repetitions must be performed. For example, if a person wants to work the biceps and the maximum they can lift is 12 kilos, I would recommend a weight of about seven kilos. This way, it is in the last three or four repetitions that you create the stimulus that helps tone the muscle,’ adds the expert.
Now that summer is approaching, you should know that swimming, surfing, or playing paddleboard on the beach are perfect sports for toning muscles. Yet, until it’s time to put on your swimming costume, here’s an exercise routine to get your muscles toned. If you can do them in a row, all the better, but if not, rest for 30 seconds between each one and repeat the sequence three times:
-20 strides with each leg
-20 triceps push-ups leaning on a table or chair
-20 push-ups on the floor. If you are an expert, do them with a clap, but if you find them difficult, put your knees on the floor
-20-60 seconds in the plank pose