How to Get a “Toned” Back

Wait a minute. Why is “toned” in quotes? Quite simply because in fitness terms, it’s not a real word. It’s a made-up word. So, we don’t use the phrase “toned” at Accelerate. There is nothing “toned” about the backs in this photo. What you’re seeing is developed muscle and a lower level of body fat to reveal that muscle. Being “toned” is not a scientific measure or result that exists. In addition, there is a misconception out there that lifting light weights for high reps can “tone” a muscle. Could someone please explain to me how this works? Please? A muscle has the ability to either get bigger or smaller. That’s it.

Let’s depart from the words for a moment and assume by “tone,” what is meant is a desire for more definition and less fat in a certain area of their body. To do this, you must get leaner overall (to reveal the muscle) and build up some muscle (to get the desired composition or ‘look’ in that area).

As previously mentioned, performing high repetition sets with light weights does not accomplish this goal. In fact, according to research (cited below as usual), moderate to heavy weight training provides a more effective stimulus for muscle growth and fewer reps needed to be performed. And taking reps to failure, or near to failure, seems to be a must if you want muscle growth to occur with a lower weight high rep regimen.

Instead of “tone”, let’s say it like it is. You want your muscles to show. You want lines, definition, firmness instead of jiggle. Here’s how you get that:

Step 1: Reduce body fat. If you want muscle definition, you need to reduce total body fat. This will lead to less fat overall. Don’t even get me started on body fat spot reduction (hint: total BS).

Step 2: Maintain or build on top of the current muscle you have. Preventing muscle loss should be priority in this process.

Step 3: Ladies, quit avoiding upper body day. If you’re looking to have a defined back and visible lines in your arms, you need to build that muscle. The result will be more revealed muscle in all the right places, we’ll make sure of it.

Study References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12436270

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25853914

 

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