5 of the Best Exercises for Toning and Muscle Building Without the Bulk
Do you want to be leaner and add a little muscle definition but not bulk up?
When people say they want to “tone up,” they really mean that want to be leaner. A “toned body” is one that has muscle and a low enough body fat percentage to show it off. So if you’re aiming to be toned, you’ll need to build more muscle and lose the fat that is covering your muscles.
But how do you do that without gaining too much muscle? Here are 5 effective moves to get longer and leaner minus the bulk:
- Kneeling Glute Toner
You’ll need a chair for this exercise. This exercise strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs, abdominals. Here’s how:
- Kneel with knees hip-width apart
- Hold the back of a chair
- Tighten your abs and tuck your pelvis
- Slide left foot back
- Lift knee and toes off the floor
- Press straight back with foot and knee bent for 20 reps.
- Keeping your knee behind your hip and pelvis tucked, turn out your leg slightly.
- Lift toes for 20 reps.
- Rotate thigh out and press foot back for 20 reps.
- Lift leg diagonally to side for 20 reps.
- Switch legs and repeat the series.
- Spider-Man Press-Up
Are the back of your arms one of your trouble zones? This exercise really hits the spot by keeping your elbows closer to your ribs than you would with a typical push-up thus increasing the burn for your triceps. On top of that, this move also targets your chest, abs, butt, hips, and obliques. Here’s how:
If you can’t do a full push-up, you can do this move on your knees.
- From a push-up position, balance on hands and feet with your arms extended. Your body should be forming a straight line from head to heels.
- Bring your bent right knee out to your side at hip level as you bend elbows 90 degrees
- Keep arms tucked close to ribs, so that right knee and elbow touch.
- Press up and return to to the original position
- Do 8 reps.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Do 2 sets.
- Fallen Triangle
Want to target that belly? This exercise really challenges you as you balance in a full push-up pose while rotating to a side plank that tones your deep abs and draws your waistline in. This move also targets your inner thighs and obliques. Here’s how:
- Begin with a full push-up position. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels.
- Move into a side plank position by shifting body your weight to your extended left arm and rotating your body to extend right arm directly up with your palm forward
- Bring your extended left leg under your torso and to the right.
- Pulse left leg up and down 1 inch, 5 times.
- Return to starting to complete 1 rep.
- Do 3 reps.
- Switch sides; repeat.
- Do 2 sets.
- Triceps Down Dog
This exercise will strengthen your upper body, biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Here’s how;
- Start from the plank position.
- Bend your elbows to lower down as far as you can
- Now straighten them.
- Lift your hips up as you push back into the Down Dog position, pressing your heels toward the floor.
- Return to plank.
- Do entire sequence 10 times.
- Monkey Push
Aiming to strengthen your arms and shoulders, abdominals, and back? Here’s how:
- Get into the “up” part of push-up position with hands directly below shoulders. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels.
- Keep your core tight as you push through toes and hop forward, landing gently with feet on the outside of hands.
- Hop back to starting position.
- Bend elbows but remember to keep them close to body when you lower your body toward the floor
- Push back up to complete 1 rep.
- Do 10–12 reps.
Don’t forget to complement these exercises with cardio for toning muscles. Do you have any favorite techniques for tightening and firming? Share your toning secrets with us!