Strength Toning Exercise Routines

Karen Frazier
Strength Training

If you are looking for strength toning exercise routines but don't want to pay for a personal trainer, the Internet is a great place to start. Strength toning exercise routines offer a full body workout to build strength and also tone your muscle groups.

Why Strength Training?

Strength training is an important aspect of overall physical fitness. Increasing your muscle strength can help prevent injuries, increase your metabolism and improve your quality of life. Not only that, but by using strength training techniques to strengthen your muscles, you will also firm up and tone each of your muscle groups, giving them wonderful shape.

Spot Toning

While you can use strength toning exercise routines to train, strengthen and firm specific muscle groups, it is important to understand that merely performing exercises on a specific muscle group does not mean that area will become lean. In order to fully tone an area, a combination of diet and exercise is recommended.

Toning exercises don't remove the fat from a specific area - only a fat loss diet and exercise routine will do that. Instead, toning exercises firm up the muscles underneath the fat. This doesn't mean that toning exercises aren't important, however. Strength training creates the tone so that as you lose fat, your body is fit rather than flabby.

Effective Use of Strength Toning Exercises

In order to use strength toning exercises effectively, they should be part of an overall fitness regimen that includes cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise, stretching and proper nutrition. With this approach to exercise and fitness, strength toning exercises will help you to achieve a more toned, lean physique.

Strength Toning Exercise Routines

There are a number of great resources for toning exercise routines on the Internet. There are a number of different approaches that you can take to combine cardiovascular fitness, toning and stretching. Below are a few of those approaches and resources for finding routines that fit.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is a terrific way to incorporate both strength training and cardiovascular fitness into one high-intensity workout. A University of New Mexico Study shows that circuit training is especially effective at both toning and fat reduction.

Circuit training involves combining aerobic activity and strength training exercises. Circuits can be performed with a variety of equipment and apparatus, including free weights, pneumatic machines, weight machines, elastic bands and strength training moves such as pushups (body resistance).

A well-designed circuit training workout features full body strength training exercises at a high intensity followed by a 30 second rest period before moving onto the next exercise.

There are a number of good resources for circuit training routines on the Internet.

If you would prefer to do a circuit training routine at the gym, Curves for Women is an affordable program that can yield terrific results. You can also work with a personal trainer at your gym to design an overall circuit training program that suits your needs.

Another version of circuit training is offered in the Slowburn fitness program. Each of the slowburn exercises can be done in your home with minimal apparatus. Slowburn fitness involves moving very slowly through strength training exercises. It is also an excellent way to strengthen and tone your muscles.

Interval Training

Interval training combines bursts of high intensity exercises with periods of lower intensity exercise. This combination of exercise into one routine provides both strength and cardiovascular training. According to a 2007 New York Times article, this type of training can improve strength and tone, and it can also stoke the body's fat burning mechanism - a must for overall toning.

An interval training workout that combines aerobic activity and full body strength training exercises may be just the ticket you are looking for to get that lean, toned body you've always wanted. Typically, an interval training circuit involves a 30 second burst of high intensity strength training activity combined with 60 seconds of a lower intensity cardiovascular activity. This fitness cycle is repeated several times until a full body workout has been achieved.

Bella Online offers a good machine-free cardio circuit that can be done at home.

Tips for Success

  • Always warm up for five to ten minutes before performing any exercise routine. Warm ups can be done with light walking, jogging, or by low intensity work on any piece of cardiovascular equipment.
  • Make your workout enjoyable. Work with a partner. Change up your exercises. Play your favorite music.
  • Be sure to take time off. While exercise is good, too much can be discouraging - or even lead to injury. Keep exercise times appropriate to your fitness level and be sure to take a few days off per week to let your body rest and allow your muscles to heal. After strength training, 48 hours rest is recommended so that the muscles can repair themselves.
  • Always stretch after exercising. This helps to keep the muscles supple and injury-free.
  • If you are unsure about your form when performing a strength exercise, ask an expert such as a trainer. Not only can using improper form lead to injury, but it may also reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • Balance your muscle groups. If you exercise your biceps, also be sure to exercise your triceps. If you exercise your chest, also exercise your back. Making sure you balance opposing muscle groups (pushing muscles vs. pulling muscles and flexing muscles vs. extending muscles) helps prevent injury and keeps your overall look balanced and aesthetically pleasing.
Strength Toning Exercise Routines