Muscle Toning Workouts: How To REALLY Get Ripped!

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

muscle toning workouts

Muscle toning workouts are about gaining shape and definition, not necessarily about bulking up.

The real secret for how to tone your body is to burn fat and strengthen your muscles.

Alter muscle toning workouts regularly to avoid doing the same exercises day after day.

This strategy enhances muscle-sculpting, reduces boredom, and lessens your chance of getting injured.

Mix and match muscle toning workouts by picking combinations of strength training and cardiovascular exercises.

And, don't forget to consume an array of fat-burning foods!

Use the Perfect Plate method to maintain desirable body weight, keep energy levels high, and get and stay shredded.

Also, get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, drink at least 16 cups of fluids daily, and minimize stress.

Move your body as often as you can throughout the day in addition to doing muscle toning workouts.

Now that you know it's all about strength training, cardio, and a healthy diet, check out the tremendous muscle-toning workouts below!

Want to tone your muscles and get more cut? Check out these three practical strategies!


Toning vs Bulking: What's the Difference?

Bulking and muscle-toning workouts are slightly different from each other, though both involve strength-training exercises, cardio, and diet.

Bulking workouts add mass to your body, build strength, increase muscle size, and often involve weight gain.

Muscle toning workouts, on the other hand, usually consist of using slightly lighter weights (but not too light), doing more repetitions, increasing cardio, and boosting strength.

For example, you might do 10-20 reps using lighter weight to complete muscle toning workouts and use heavier weights (but do fewer than 10 reps) to bulk up.

The main ways to complete muscle toning workouts and burn excess fat include:

Strength Training Workouts

If you're looking tone up to get shredded, strength training is vital.

Try weightlifting, resistance bands, or using your body weight as resistance to sculpt your muscles without gaining weight.

Work on each major muscle group at least twice weekly to maximize your results.

If larger muscle gains are your goal, consider increasing your calorie intake and doing bulking exercises by using heavier weights and completing fewer reps.

Cardiovascular Exercise

While doing cardiovascular exercise by itself might not achieve your desired goals, combining cardiovascular workouts with strength training enhances muscle toning workouts.

Try jogging, running, swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical or stair climbing machine to speed up fat burning and stimulate muscle definition without bulking up.

Aim to complete at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise most days of the week, whether it's high-intensity interval training or longer cardio sweat sessions.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

During HIIT muscle toning workouts, complete short bursts of high-intensity exercise paired with lower-intensity bouts of exercise, continuously, for at least 20 minutes.

For example, you might pair jogging with sprinting or slow cycling with high-intensity cycling.

After a 2-minute warm-up, do 30-60 seconds of high-intensity exercise cycled with 1-2 minutes of lower-intensity bouts to enhance muscle toning workouts without spending hours in the gym.

Fat-Burning Diet

Muscle toning involves eating the right foods.

In fact, diet is just as important as muscle sculpting exercises when getting ripped is your goal.

To get and stay shredded, you need to control your calories, lose weight if you're overweight, eat fat-burning foods, and limit or avoid alcohol, added sugar, refined grains, processed meats, fried foods, and sugary drinks.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

11 Best Muscle Toning Workouts For Men

Add the following muscle-toning workouts to your exercise routine to sculpt your muscles, reduce body fat, and stay ripped!

Rope Jumping

Rope jumping is a muscle-toning workout you can complete from just about anywhere, whether it's in your home, outdoors, at the gym, or in your hotel room while traveling.

A 185-pound person expends over 500 calories in just 30 minutes while jumping rope at a fast pace.

Alternate between jumping with both feet or one at a time, front-to-back jumping, side-to-side jumping, or fast vs. slow jumping during HIIT.


Burpees not only get your blood pumping, but they also tone your upper body, lower body, and abs.

To complete burpees, start in a standing position and bend down to place your hands close to your feet.

Kick your legs out behind your body to get into a plank position.

Complete a push-up, abruptly move your feet back toward your hands, jump up as high as you can in the air, get back into a plank position, and repeat this series of motions continuously for at least 30-60 seconds if you can.

Do a total of at least three sets of burpees to maximize muscle sculpting in men.

Plank Exercises

Planks are a full-body workout and the perfect muscle toning exercise.

Do a traditional plank by holding an extended push-up position as long as you can.

To make planks easier, get into an extended pushups position but place your lower body weight on your knees instead of your feet.

Modify planks to make them more challenging by completing shoulder touch planks, plank jacks, or renegade rows with dumbbells.

Squat to Press

Squat to press strengthens and tones your entire lower body, as well as your midsection, shoulders, and arms.

Get into a squat position while holding dumbbells in each hand just above your shoulders.

You might also hold a barbell behind your neck, resting on your shoulders.

When you squat down, your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your thighs about parallel with the ground.

Slowly stand up and simultaneously complete a standing shoulder press.

As you lower the weights down toward your shoulders, squat back down.

Repeat this series of motions at least 10 times and aim to complete at least three sets.

Weighted Walking or Alternating Jumping Lunges

Lunges tone your entire lower body, including your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

There are several ways to complete muscle-toning lunges.

Grab two dumbbell weights, one in each hand, and lung forward at least 10 steps.

Then lunge backward, rest if needed, and repeat!

To complete alternating jumping lunges, get into a lunge position with your right leg in front of your body and your left leg back behind you.

Hold dumbbell weights in each of your hands if you'd like more of a challenge.

Jump up into the air and land in a lunge position with your left leg in front of your body and your right leg behind you.

Complete alternating jumping lunges, continuously, for at least 30 seconds if you can.

Rest and repeat to complete a total of at least three sets.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these


Deadlifts work multiple muscle groups at once and make the perfect addition to muscle toning workouts.

You'll train your back, hamstrings, glutes, and more during a single deadlift motion.

Use a barbell or dumbbells to complete deadlifts.

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides.

Keep your back straight and hold a barbell or dumbbells in your hands.

Slowly lower the weight to the ground by bending at your waist until your back is about parallel with the floor, your knees are bent slightly, and the weights nearly touch the ground.

Then, stand back up and repeat the motion at least 10 times.

Complete at least three sets of this exercise.

Stair or Bleacher Climbs

Another exceptional muscle toning workout for men is stair or bleacher climbs to tighten your butt, abs, and legs and burn excess body fat.

A 185-pound person expends more than 250 calories per hour using a stair-climbing cardio machine.

You might also climb stairs in your home, use outdoor stairs, or climb bleachers at a football stadium to achieve similar results!

Uphill Cardio

Find hilly terrain to complete your next cardiovascular sweat session and tighten and tone problem areas!

Whether you choose walking, jogging, sprinting, or cycling, moving uphill gets your blood pumping, burns fat and calories, and helps you become shredded quickly.


Swimming is a cardiovascular workout that effectively tones your body, burns fat, and sculpts your muscles.

A 185-pound person expends up to 420 calories in 30 minutes by swimming laps at a high intensity.

For best results, alter your swim strokes often.

Choose freestyle swimming, butterfly, breaststrokes, side strokes, or backstrokes.

Even treading water is a high-calorie-burning, muscle-toning workout that's perfect for men with access to a pool or lake.

You can even do swimming workouts without water!


Doing pull-ups is one of the best muscle-toning workouts in existence.

If you don't have a pull-up bar, head to the gym or consider getting a pull-up bar designed to fit an indoor door frame.

Do pull-ups several days a week to tone your upper body and midsection.

Do as many pull-ups as you can and aim to complete at least three sets of the exercise.

Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging leg raises work your lower abs, helping you achieve a six-pack quickly.

Simply hang on your pullup bar and lift your legs up toward your upper body and back down in a continuous motion.

Repeat this exercise for at least three sets.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results and health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on muscle toning workouts.

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

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