What you need to know to get toned
The modern fitness industry’s concept of “toning” or “get toned” muscles is inaccurate. It might sound cool; but it lacks any tangible and definable meaning. The term “muscle tone” describes an electrophysiological phenomenon, a measure of ionic flow across muscle cell membranes. It can be thought of as the muscle ‘s readiness to do anaerobic work (e.g. lifting weights). The fitter the muscle, the more electrophysiological activity it exhibits at rest. Lack of exercise leads to poor tone, aerobic exercise improves tone a little bit, low-intensity weight training improves tone the fastest. As a test, go poke the traps or quads of an elite powerlifter or strongman at rest. They will be hard as rock. The same muscles of an elite road cyclist at rest will be firm, but not hard. Then compare the athletes’ muscle tone to that of a sedentary person. The results will be quite enlightening. Most exercise programs done by personal trainers that claim to improve muscle tone are actually lower-intensity hypertrophy programs and are only moderately effective for improving muscle tone. If “tone” is the goal, strength is the method.
Here is a workout to “tone up” your legs and get rid of the unwanted cellulite.
1 – Barbell back squat 4 x 8RM* (90s rest)
2- Deadlift 4 x 8 RM (90s rest)
3- Superset^: Leg extension/ Leg curl 3 x 10RM (60s rest)
4- Dumbbell walking lunges 4 x 16 steps (60s rest)
5- Barbell hip thrust 4 x 8RM (90s rest)
* RM: Repetition Maximum is the most weight you can lift for a defined number of repetitions. A 8RM would be the heaviest weight you could lift for 8 consecutive repetitions.
^Superset is a combination of one exercise performed after the other with no rest in between them. When pairing antagonist muscles (quadriceps and Hamstrings), there is no drop of strength whatsoever.