The Top Ways to Achieve Muscle Tone
Fitness and strength conditioning are two major goals for those looking to get into shape. But usually, after you get close to these training goals, the desire to also have firm, toned, and attractive muscles becomes a priority.
Achieving these goals can be difficult, as they require a slightly different focus to those that get you to your “first order” of fitness goals.
With that in mind, here are our top tips for achieving the muscle tone that you want in time for summer.
Compound Your Gains
Isolated movements are those that employ one major muscle group at a time, usually with a focus on increasing the size or endurance of that muscle group. The machines at the gym that lock you into a range of motion like the Smith Machine often help perform muscle isolation movements.
But tone comes from increasing the load on a range of muscles through compound movements. This is because you have to recruit several major muscle groups as well as supporting areas to complete compound exercises.
Examples of great compound exercises include kettleball swings, free weight presses, weighted squats and dead lifts.
High intensity interval training or HIIT, is an effective, but brutal, way to increase muscle tone. HIIT activates your fat burning body mechanics by requiring exertion quickly through high intensity sprints, interval exercises or muscular exertion.
The beauty of HIIT style training is that you don’t need equipment or even a gym to do it. All that is needed is a flat stretch of road or a push bike and a hill!
Agility is Key
Flexibility is an often overlooked aspect of achieving muscle tone, and is often confused with simple stretching. However, flexibility can also be achieved effectively by dropping the amount of weight you are lifting and focusing on slowing down your motion and extending through the full range of motion.
When lifting heavy weights chasing size or strength, one of the common side effect is shortening the range of motion to achieve the necessary amount of repetitions.
The Old Adage
We’ve said it before, but the old adage that “you can’t outrun a bad diet” is one of those annoying pieces of wisdom that holds true for so many fitness goals. Decreasing the amount of complex carbohydrates you eat (unless you are going to be performing exercise shortly after), increasing the amount of lean protein you consume and increasing your fluid intake, are all simple and flexible ways to modify your diet to achieve more defined muscles.
If you want to look great in fashionable, functional training gear while chasing your fitness goals, then you need to look no further than the pages here on the Stomp Fitness website. We’ve got you covered – from crossfit to yoga!