We often believe that toning up is as simple as working out. Well there's much more to it... Below are some beliefs regarding building lean & light muscle and the truths to debunk those beliefs, Provided to you by the Athletic & Fitness Association of America:
What are Toning Exercises for women?
These are exercises that will help you achieve a toned appearance. Almost any resistance exercise can be considered a toning exercise when the correct variable is applied.
Completing Spot Training/Targeted Workouts
It was often believed that if you wanted to lose weight in a specific area you could focus specifically on that area with no additional workout regimen. For example, if you wanted to lose weight in your stomach you can simply do ab workouts. While it is true you can focus on strengthening a particular muscle group you can't make your body only lose weight in one are by exercising that area. Toning and weight loss takes a full body focus and more importantly diet changes.
Stay Away from Heavy Weights
Some women believe that heavy weights will make them bulky. Or that very low weights and high repetition will help them get just the right physique. The truth is developing some type of muscle tone requires some type of heavy weight. If you're body has already adapted to a certain weight level become okay with challenging yourself to increase your weight level periodically.
To improve muscle tone, it's best to train in the 6-12 rep range. You can see a difference in muscle tone by training in the 12-20 rep range when you're beginning a strength training program, but once you adapt you will want to begin to lift heavier and decrease the reps to continue to see the muscle tone that you're looking for.