Weight Training For Muscle Mass Vs. Toning
Weight training is an exercise choice which can be of huge benefit for many trainees, whether their primary goal is increasing their muscle mass, increasing strength, or to become more toned. Executing a movement against a resistance is a simple enough concept, yet the processes which the body executes to attempt to cope with the heightened demands are not. Unfortunately not all trainees have the knowledge to take advantage of the various training techniques available to them. Some believe females and those not into bodybuilding should avoid free weights like the plague as it will “bulk you up too much”. Similarity, it is widely believed high repetition ranges will “tone” and “shape” a muscle. This article aims clarify how weight training can fit into a gym program for those wishing to add muscle mass, and for those wishing to “tone”.
Add muscle mass
Bodybuilders and those whom seek to add muscle mass will weight train with the aim of inducing muscle hypertrophy. There is much debate on the best repetition range for inducing hypertrophy, with many concluding a moderate repetition range is ideal but the range should not be limited. With this in mind, a repetition range between 8 and 12 repetitions per set would seem a logical choice, with three to four sets per exercise.
Adding muscle mass will require intense weight lifting which stimulates all major muscles groups of the body. There are countless routines out there to use, so be sure to check out various online material by respected authors. Generally a routine will consist of mainly compound exercises, with various isolation exercises supplemented into the routine to specifically target a muscle group.
For example, a back and biceps session may look like the following:
Chin ups (compound)
Ben over row (compound)
Dumbbell curls (isolation)
Increasing muscle mass requires an attention to dietary intake to ensure sufficient calories and macronutrients are being consumed to support the intense training, recovery and growth.
Having the “toned” look
The toned look is typically a physique with a reasonably low level of body fat supplemented with a moderate level of muscle mass. The muscle mass of a person described as “toned” is not really any different than someone with a high level of muscle bulk, such as a bodybuilder, the only difference is the size of the muscle. With that in mind, those who seek the toned look could also successfully implement a weight training program which aims to induce muscle hypertrophy. This scares some people, with many believing they will turn into the Incredible Hulk over night. If you ask any bodybuilder however, they will tell you the same – increasing muscle mass takes a lot of time, and also much depends on the diet consumed.
We could conclude that those who want to become toned would be best implementing a weight training program which also has a repetition range between 8 and 12, although the trainee could afford to periodically supplement this with low and high repetition work for variety, or choose another exercise choice altogether.
The big difference between the two goals, adding muscle mass and becoming toned is the dietary intake and the calorie balance. Adding muscle requires lots of energy and building blocks, and this comes in the form of high calorie and protein levels, with carbohydrates providing lots of energy for intense training. Someone wishing to become toned would be much more restrictive with their diet, with the aim of maintaining or reducing currently body fat levels. A moderate to high level of protein would be consumed, with lower levels of the other macro-nutrients and overall calories. The trainee would also be wise to follow a cardiovascular program to further tip the calorie balance and reduce body fat.