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Resistance training is adaptable to most fitness goals.
Fitness goals vary among healthy adults, and the numerous health benefits from regular resistance training appeals to many. You may want a leaner midsection, or perhaps you wish to increase the size of your biceps. Unfortunately, it is easy to be confused by exercise jargon. Knowing the differences between toning and bulking methods is key when putting together your resistance training plan so you achieve your desired results.
"Muscle tone" describes tension in your muscles at rest, which is what makes them firm. Muscles appear defined when there is little excess body fat surrounding them and they are regularly exercised. Resistance training is one exercise method that can increase their size and tone. However, remember that it is impossible to control where body fat is lost. Strive for an overall decrease in body fat and resistance train if increased muscle toning is your goal. Your resistance training plan should be designed to increase your current strength by thoroughly working your muscles.
Whereas toning requires an increase in the strength of the muscles you currently have, bulking adds more muscle mass through strength training and eating more. When you think of muscle bulking, you might think of huge bodybuilders lifting heavy weights in a gym. However, if you want to increase the size of your chest, you don't have to move into the gym and drink protein shakes all day. Like toning, muscle bulking requires strength gains, but from newly grown muscle fibers. You have to stimulate your muscles to grow additional fibers with a proper diet full of fresh foods, six to eight hours of sleep every night and a resistance training routine that targets the specific muscles you want to increase. Bulk up by thoroughly training each of these muscle groups twice per week.
You have many resistance training options, such as free weights, gym machines, exercise bands and body-weight exercises. You can use any of these to tone your muscles or add bulk. There are ways other than resistance training to tone your muscles. For example, running and cycling build lower-body strength and burn many calories. Swimming is a cardio exercise that is effective at toning the entire body and burning calories. Burning tons of calories is one key to shedding excess body fat. A proper diet that focuses on reduced calorie intake is the second key to body fat loss. You must burn more calories than you consume to shed excess body fat.
If you are a woman, you may be hesitant to begin resistance training for fear of developing large muscles. The male sex hormone, testosterone, is vital when bulking up. Women naturally have very low levels of this powerful hormone compared to men. Thus, lifting weights alone will not make women look like bodybuilders. If you are a woman and bulking is your goal, increase your daily calorie consumption by 350 and focus on strength training. If you want to build a lean, toned body, make sure to include regular cardio exercise. On the other hand, if gains in muscle size is your goal, keep cardio limited because your body needs excess calories to grow more muscle.