Ask Dr. Amy: What Actually Has to Happen For Toning to Occur?

There are a few terms we throw around in class that you may have grown accustomed to hearing: p.sit (otherwise known as a hip hinge), “catch the floor”, and elongate, just to name a few. The word “tone” is another word commonly used word in the fitness space, with very few of us actually knowing what it truly means. 

The Pvolve Method is designed to contribute to total-body toning, but it’s important we learn what’s actually happening below the surface of the skin to better understand the way our bodies work.

In this post, Dr. Amy Hoover, DPT, Chief Physical Therapist and member of the Clinical Advisory Board explains toning, how it happens, and everything in between. 

What is toning?

Toning is a term commonly referring to the act of conditioning a muscle by facilitating strength, efficiency and proper activation through resistance or body weight exercise. Most people use this term to describe muscle definition, or how muscles appear through the skin. Tone, in fact, is technically the amount of contraction of a muscle when it is at rest in order to support our posture, and has little to do with how a muscle works. 

How do “toned” muscles differ from other types of muscle?

Most people will differentiate between a “toned” versus “bulky” muscle, so we can look at the differences between those. To build muscle “tone” or definition, you are adding strength by working a muscle with resistance to build and then maintain strength.  The more resistance you use, the quicker you will add muscle. Low resistance exercise can help improve muscle definition by improving strength then maintaining it once you reach your goal. 

What’s the best way to achieve total-body toning?

How quickly this happens depends on your individual body composition and physiology. If you keep adding more and more resistance, you will increase “bulk” or add muscle, and therefore build more and more strength (think bodybuilders). So if that is not your goal, then low-resistance exercise is perfect for you. Pvolve focuses on low resistance and body weight exercise to help add muscle definition. It also works your muscles through their entire range of motion, promoting muscle length and efficiency. 

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