Explore this Article Cardio Exercise For Muscle Tone Strength Training For Muscle Tone Ask a Question Related Articles References wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Together, they cited 7 references. This article has also been viewed 11,034 times. Muscle tone is the state of tension in the muscles when they are in a passive state. You can recognize muscle tone in people who are fit by their balance, posture and even the appearance of smooth muscle definition in a relaxed position. To tone your muscles, increase your strength training and dynamic movement, as well as overall activity. Steps Method 1 Cardio Exercise For Muscle Tone 1 Equate muscle movement to muscle tone. Muscle atrophy, or the decrease in muscle tone, is usually due to inactivity of muscle groups. Prolonged sitting and resting can cause significant atrophy in as little as one week. Muscle groups that are required for resistance to gravity atrophy more slowly than those that are built up through exercise. Significant studies have been performed with astronauts losing tone thanks to decreased gravity. 2 Work against time. Some age-related atrophy begins at age 20. This means you will need to work a little harder as you age to keep the muscle you already have. 3 Start with a whole-body exercise. Trade in walking, cycling or rowing for swimming, elliptical machines, yoga or a cardio burn class. A whole body workout will improve allover muscle tone more than one that only targets your upper or lower body. Unlike fat burning, which can’t be targeted to one area of the body, muscles can be selectively built and toned. 4 Arrange for a body fitness test performed by a personal trainer. Your trainer can perform a complete body assessment to find out how much muscle tone you have, and which areas or your body you need to target. 5 Get minimum recommended activity levels. Adults should be doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise throughout the week and strength training at least twice per week to develop healthy muscle tone. 6 Increase your workouts to four or five days per week. A recent study found that “chronic” or frequent exercise prevented muscle loss and preserved lean muscle mass in adults. Again, muscle tone is linked to high activity levels. Method 2 Strength Training For Muscle Tone 1 Aim to do strength training two to three times per week with a day of rest in between. Keep this up consistently to improve tone in your muscles. Extra muscle tone and strength will also help to burn excess fat. 2 Start with five lb. (2.2g) weights. Your aim is to reach muscle fatigue, where you can’t do another rep, after two sets of 10 repetitions. Add or subtract weight in order to reach this goal. Elderly men and women should start with two to three lb. (0.9 to 1.4kg) weights. Strength training to muscle fatigue will not build bulky muscles. Instead, it will strengthen your muscles and improve resting tone. 3 Give preference to dynamic, compound exercises over single motions. For example, a squat can require you to use of your legs, hips, buttocks, abs and arms, while bicep curls only work your arms. The more muscle groups you use, the better. 4 Sign up for a personal training session to tailor a 30-minute weight training session. You can also go on YouTube and view the correct form for each of the following exercises: squats, lunges, tricep dips, chest -flys, rows, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks. Opt to do them with small free weights or do the equivalent on weight machines. 5 Incorporate body weight exercises into the workout. Include at least planks and push-ups. To do a plank, get on your hands and knees. Move your feet back so you are balanced between your prone feet and hands. Ensure there is a straight line between your ankles and head. Contract your stomach muscles deeply and hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute. If you can’t hold for 30 seconds, work in 15-second increments. To do pushups, get on your hands and knees. Move your feet back into a plank position. Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ground. Move slowly and deliberately with your abs contracted the whole time. Do two sets of 10 repetitions. With either exercise, you can modify into a knee-plank, where you rest your knees on the ground and lift your ankles up. Create a straight line between knees and head. To decrease the weight on your wrists, grasp a hexagonal dumbbell under each hand. To decrease the weight on your shoulders, rest your upper body on your forearms, instead of your palms. 6 Stretch after each weight training session. Give your body 24 to 48 hours to rest and recover. Community Q&A Ask a Question 200 characters left Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Submit Tips Avoid cutting calories too much while you improve the strength and tone of your muscles. Extreme diets can force your body to consume muscle as well as fat. Increase the effectiveness of your muscle-building regimen by eating a protein-filled snack after each strength-training session. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and lean proteins daily. Things You’ll Need Pool Elliptical machine Yoga/cardio classes Personal trainer 2 to 5 lb. dumbbells Weight machines Exercise mat Lean protein Article Info wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Together, they cited 7 references. This article has also been viewed 11,034 times. 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