Terry Bredel is a qualified personal trainer and manager of his own health and fitness company .We asked him how we can get the most out of toning exercises....
How does targeted toning exercise work?
It remodels, sculpts and tones your body. The exercises are specifically aimed at classic problem areas such as the chest, arms, bum, thighs and stomach. You need to muscle up to get a better, sculpted body and toned skin - your skin can lose tone in places too.
Do you still need to warm up if you're only doing toning exercises?
Yes. Even for gentle exercices, you need to warm up for a few minutes to get your body ready for exercise. Start with a general warm-up (jogging on the spot, flexing your knees, jogging heels-to-bum, a bit of skipping) to raises your body temperature, get your blood flowing and increase your heart rate. Then do some targeted warming up (rotating your wrists, shoulders, neck, arms) to get your joints working and reduce the risk of tendonitis, torn or pulled muscles.
What should a toning work-out consist of?
Start with your warm-up, then do your toning exercises, then stretch to cool down. Your sessions should last anything from 20 minutes to an hour or even up to 90 minutes (though 3 x 30 min sessions are better than 1 x 90 min session). Set yourself a number of reps and sets. For example, either do 4 sets of 15 reps or try a circuit training set-up (one set of each repeated 3-4 times without stopping). If you're looking to lose weight or tone up fast, do longer sets with more reps and with very little recovery in between.
How else can you get the most out of a session?
The most important thing is to identify the muscle groups you really want to work on and do one more set of reps of exercises for those specific muscles. Your body adapts very quickly to these exercises, so it's essential that you step up a gear as you get used to them! At least every 6-8 weeks, change the order in which you do your exercises, reduce your recovery time in between reps, or add another set. Make sure you're doing the exercises properly by checking your position in a mirror, drink plenty of water, wear light, comfortable clothes and take things at your own pace. The aim is not to have a muscle-bound body but to tone up and increase your muscles in all the right places.