Toning Workouts for Women

toning workout for women

Women’s Toning Workout Routine

Increasing numbers of women have been thitting me up more and more, telling me they wanted more stuff specific to them, and I realized something… I have yet to write about toning workout programs for women!

I’m very excited to bring you this article, because it has immense value in it and really cuts through all the BS around workouts for women.

Here’s how I’d set up toning workouts for women:

We’ll keep the intensity high and the volume rather low. Promoting muscle size requires a blend of intensity (weight on the bar) and volume (total number of reps). By keeping the volume low, we can strengthen and firm up the muscles, with just the perfect amount of muscle growth.

If you were to perform a low intensity workout (light weights) with high volume (high total number of reps), you would end up triggering sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This would lead to an increase of fluid in the muscle cells leading to a fuller, more puffy look.

This is one reason why high rep training isn’t ideal for women. They want firm, toned muscles, not puffy muscles. Therefore, it’s important to focus on heavier weight while keeping the volume low.

We’ll be hitting the legs two days per week to build them up quickly. Both leg workouts will really focus on hitting the butt the hardest. The thigh’s will become stronger and more firm, while the butt will become more perky.

Monday – Legs & Shoulders 

  1. Goblet Box Squats: 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest)
  2. Dumbbell Step ups: 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps per leg (2 mins rest)
  3. Seated DB Shoulder Press: 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps (2 mins rest)
  4. DB Lateral Raises: 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps (1 min rest)

Wednesday – Chest, Back & Rear Delts

  1. Incline DB Bench Press: 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps (2 mins rest)
  2. Lat Pull-Downs: 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps (2 mins rest)
  3. Push up Variation: 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps (kneeling, regular or feet elevated variation) (2 mins rest)
  4. Cable Rows: 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps (2 mins rest)
  5. Rear Delt Flye Machine: 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps (1 min rest)

Friday – Legs & Arms

  1. Sumo Deadlifts: 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps (2 mins rest)
  2. Forward Lunges: 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest)
  3. Incline DB Curls: 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps (1-2 mins rest)
  4. Cable Rope Push Downs: 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps (1-2 mins rest)

Notes on Women’s Toning Workout Routine

Perform 2 warmup sets for exercises 1 and 3 on Monday, 2 warmup sets for exercises 1 and 2 on Wednesday, and 2 warm up sets for exercises 1, 3 and 4 on Friday.

(Side Note: Here’s a more in-depth guide on how to warm-up)

When you can perform the top end of the rep range on your first set, increase the weight the next workout by the smallest increment (5 lbs).

On your rest days you can go for a 30-60 minute walk or perform some yoga. The idea is low intensity exercise.

As well, you can exercise your abs on rest days with exercises like lying leg raises and planks.

Let’s transition into some of the reasons why the workout above is perfect for women to achieve lean, tone bodies.

What Does A Woman Really Want?

Toning Workouts for Women are different than male workouts

 

I know a lot of personal trainers and coaches that like to throw the same workout programs onto their female clients as male clients. Their reasoning is simple: men and women, from a movement standpoint, are fundamentally the same.

(Makes sense, right? We have the same muscles and our muscles respond to the same movements.)

But this approach fails to take into account the specific goals that most women have. You see, the same way I have crafted together workouts for men to create the “Kinobody physique”… well, that’s the approach I take with crafting toning exercises for women.

Just like men, most women want to look amazing. But their idea of “amazing” is a little different. For the most part (and from the women I’ve talked to and worked with), most women want to be slim, fit and toned. They want just enough muscle to look great while still appearing feminine. They want a toned upper body, lightly defined abs, slim and fit looking legs and a great butt.

Just like men want to look masculine, women want to look feminine. So to suit their unique goals and needs, a program has to be crafted specifically for toning workouts for women.

Now, women and men will have completely different results from following a specific program. This is due mainly to hormonal differences, among other factors.

Men will have a much easier time building strength and muscle, compared to women. This is especially true of the upper body. That said, most women don’t really want to get ‘bigger’. They want to slim down and drop any extra fat, while revealing great muscle tone.

Which brings me to my next point…

What Are The True Facts About “Muscle Tone”?

Muscle toning workout to get in shape

 

Every girl wants to be ‘toned’, but what does it mean to be toned? How do you become toned?

You see, most toning workouts for women have largely been sublimated to marketing. Everyone knows women prefer the sound of “increasing muscle tone” over “gaining muscle size”.

And so most women become scared to death of anything that has to do with gaining muscle size. They don’t want to get bigger. They only want to look better, be slimmer and have some nice-looking definition.

But heres’ the thing… A toned muscle is primarily the result of two things:

1) Strong, well developed muscles
2) Low levels of body fat

That is it. So to become really toned, you need to focus on dropping body fat. This comes down to dialling in your nutrition.

In addition, you need to strengthen your muscles. The best way to strengthen and develop your muscles is with proper resistance training. Performing very high reps, endless circuits, hours of cardio, and ‘muscle toning classes’ does not get the job done.

To truly tone a muscle, you must make it stronger. In doing so, you increase the size of the contractual filaments of the muscle. This gives your muscles and more developed and firm appearance.

“Will I Get Too Bulky From Heavy Strength Training?”

Ha, I love this question (and believe me – I get asked it a LOT).

Truth is, you’ll end up looking amazing. The reason some women might look bulky is because they have too much fat. This is the same reason some guys might look bulky.

The reality is… when you lean down to a low body fat, you’re going to look very slim. Humans (in general) just don’t have the capacity to hold onto a lot of muscle in a lean state.

The only way you’ll look bulky is if you’re eating a ton and if you have a lot of fat covering the muscle. The only way to have a lot of muscle at a low body fat is by taking a lot of drugs (steroids).

But women that are natural, who focus on proper nutrition and strength training, end up looking amazing. They become fit, with the perfect amount of muscle and tone. Think Jessica Biel – she’s a great example:

Do toning workouts for women to get a body like Jessica Biel

Why Proper Strength Training Will Make You Drop More Body Fat

Here is something that I rarely see people talk about:

If a women is on a cutting plan to drop 15 lbs of fat, she’ll likely have to lose well over 15 pounds of weight to drop 15 pounds of fat.

You see, when we diet we think that we’re only dropping fat, but the reality is that we lose a combination of fat and lean body mass. By strength training and taking in sufficient protein, carbs and fats, we can ensure that most of the weight we drop comes from body fat.

So engaging in a strength training program will improve your body composition substantially. You might lose the same one pound each week. But the difference will be night in day.

If you just do diet and cardio, you’ll end up looking “skinny fat” at your ideal weight.

With proper diet and strength training, you’ll look fit and toned at your ideal weight.

Here’s an example… Let’s say you’re 140 lbs and you want to drop down to 120 lbs. If you just do diet and cardio you might lose about 14 lbs of fat and 6 pounds of muscle. Contrarily if you engage in proper strength training, you might gain a couple pounds of muscle and lose over 20 pounds of fat.

In both scenarios, you end up at the same weight… But the difference is night and day: firm, fit and toned versus skinny with some stubborn fat.

How To Use Cardio As A Fat Loss Tool

I think women really have to be careful with cardio for a few different reasons. The first of which is that cardio really tends to make women considerably hungrier.

If a woman performs an hour cardio session, she feels it! At her next meal sitting, she’s going to be noticeably hungrier. For this reason, the hour of cardio is almost purposeless.

You’re burning calories only to eat them back. This causes you to spin your wheels – literally – trying to drop fat, but getting no where.

This is why it’s of greatest importance to dial in your nutrition, if fat loss is your goal. Your best bet for fat loss exercise is simply to walk more. Walking is enjoyable and seems to have a neutral effect on appetite.

This is great because it means the calories that you do burn will really help support fat loss. Your appetite remains the same while your energy levels increase – helping to encourage a calorie deficit.

Want A Complete Workout Guide For Women?

I am super pumped to announce that I have finished the first ever women’s Kinobody course! It’s called the Goddess Toning Program! It will teach you the real way to achieve a slim, fit and toned body. The program is available now!!!

*Your results may vary. Testimonials and examples used are exceptional results and are not intended to guarantee, promise, represent and/or assure that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.

Your Kino Question For The Day: How did this article help you with improving your physique? Let me know in the comments below.

Greg O'Gallagher

Greg O'Gallagher is the founder of Kinobody, a site dedicated to helping men and women achieve the lean, muscular, and aesthetic "Hollywood" physique. His fitness programs have helped hundreds of thousands of people transform their bodies and change their lives in the process.

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