Effective toning workouts will always involve a combination of muscle-building exercises and cardiovascular exercises. Toning workouts should aim to build muscle while increasing metabolism, because this increase will result in a loss of fat. For this reason, compound exercises with a moderate number of repetitions usually are the best way to tone the body. High repetitions of an exercise with little resistance is not the most effective way to tone, nor is isolating a specific area of the body, such as the abdominal muscles, an effective way to tone that part of the body.
Most toning workout routines should call for somewhere between eight and 12 repetitions for each exercise. Doing more repetitions is not beneficial during toning workouts because, in order to complete all of the repetitions, the athlete likely will have to reduce the amount of weight that he or she lifts. This lower amount of weight will limit the amount of muscle that the exercise builds. Doing fewer repetitions with higher weight will cause the body to develop more muscle, which is a key component of toning.
The other key component for effective toning workouts is reducing body fat. Muscles do not get harder or softer with exercise, they only get bigger. The reason that a body part becomes flabby is because there is more fat and less muscle. So, to combat this flabbiness, an athlete must reduce his or her amount of body fat. Building muscle will help to accomplish this, because having more muscle will increase the body's overall metabolism, even when the body is at rest.
This is also the reason that it is effective to perform compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses, rather than isolation exercises. Isolating a muscle will help that muscle to grow, which will provide some toning benefits, but it will not burn fat in the area as effectively as a compound exercise would. Working a single area of the body, such as the abdominal muscles, does nothing to target the fat in that particular area of the body — fat loss occurs throughout the entire body, regardless of what body part is performing the work. For this reason, exercises that target multiple muscle groups are better for toning workouts, because they work more muscles and increase the metabolism far more that isolation exercises do.
It also is necessary to include cardiovascular exercise in any toning workout routine. Cardiovascular exercises do little to build muscle tissue, but they do burn fat, which will help with toning of the entire body. Also, by increasing cardiovascular health, an athlete will be better able to perform the compound lifts that are a vital component of toning workouts.