Ladies, before getting into how to tone muscles, we need to discuss the two different types of muscle tone and how they differ from each other. Have you ever noticed how the shape, hardness and size of your bicep changes when flexed like when trying to lift something? That change is your muscle going from one tone to another.
When you flex your arm muscle, it firms up, hardens and grows just a little. That change when you use it is the neurogenic tone coming through. It is only seen when the muscle is actually in use.
However most of time the bicep is not flexed because it is not being used. This is its myogenic tone. And because myogenic tone is what people see most of the time, this is the toning most women want to improve.
Contrary to what you have been told, doing lots of reps with those little 2-pound dumbbells (in pink no less) are not going to give you the sculpted sexy body you are looking for. However, it is not your fault; most likely you have been told or read that you don’t want to lift heavy weights for fear of bulking up. Don’t worry, it is not going to happen regardless of how much weight you lift or how many times you lift it.
Men bulk up because of the amount of testosterone in their body. Women have far less – about 8 to 10 times less. The bulky female bodybuilders you see are most likely using steroids to boost their testosterone level. So go over to the “men’s” plate rack, grab some weight and get to it!
But before doing that, one question you should be asking yourself right about now is “How much weight should I be lifting?” Nobody can give you an accurate answer because each woman is different. But I can tell you when you’ll know you have enough. To get the proper toning effect, you should be able to lift 3 to 6 repetitions per set at a specific weight. And you should be able to do a couple of sets. If you can do more than 6 repetitions, then you are not using enough weight. Conversely, if you can’t do at least 3 reps, then you are using too much weight.
Concentrate on compound exercises as they give you the most return for time invested. If using a barbell, try deadlifts and full squats. If using dumbbells try weighted lunges and squats. If you don’t know how to do any of these compound exercises, just Google them and all kinds of videos will come up and show you how to do it right.
Once you start lifting heavier weights, you’ll start to see the muscles you are working starting to tone up. Now when you look in the mirror, your muscles at rest will look firmer, more defined and maybe just a tad larger, but it won’t be bulky by any stretch of the imagination.