I’m really glad you asked. Toning is a term misused by many in describing fitness goals and exercise programs that involve improving muscle strength and definition. When someone says they want to tone their arms, for example, they usually want to improve the appearance of their arm muscles.
Physiologically speaking, though, muscle tone refers to the level of involuntary contraction present in a muscle; it’s under neurologic control. We can’t consciously control it. A healthy amount of muscle tone is needed to maintain normal posture and other body functions. Excessive muscle tone is called spasticity ; insufficient muscle tone is called flaccidity . These conditions are seen in people with neurological conditions and injuries.
The truth is that strength training doesn't change muscle tone , but it does affect muscle size, strength, and definition. So when your clients ask for toning exercises, dig a little deeper to find out what they’re really after. Chances are, it’s muscle strength and definition.