This fantastic article was written by Joshua Graham, CNP, FRCms, CF-L2, who is a fitness trainer, Holistic Nutritionist, and owner of Cocoon Health & Fitness. You can find out more about Cocoon Health by checking out their website and following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Toning is an extremely popular goal when it comes to fitness but it can be difficult to actually achieve it and that is because there are some common misconceptions about how to actually achieve a toned physique.
2 Myths About Getting Toned
Getting back into shape and getting toned is more than just a matter of exercise but also nutrition as well. While exercise such as strength training helps build muscle, you need the right diet to help shed excess fat and reveal the muscle underneath it. Therefore, you should never use exercise as an excuse to eat indulge far too often or eat poorly.
If want to tone a certain area we can use exercises to target that area for spot reduction, right? Well not really. There is some information about a little more energy being used from that area but for the most part, it is a whole body endeavor and that means lower body fat %. Targeted exercises will simply help strengthen and build muscle in that area.
Remember that we all carry excess weight in different places and that can be due to hormones so this is something to keep in mind. If our hormones are working well it makes it much easier to get toned. Some basics to improve hormone function are avoiding hormone fed meats, using natural personal care products and lowering stress levels.
An Amazing Tool To Get Toned – The Swiss Ball
I used to hate swiss balls, I thought they were the silliest things ever and absolutely pointless to have until I started to use them. They can be really effective to use muscles in different ways when compared to traditional weights or bodyweight workouts.
Below are some of the best exercises you can do:
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl
This is a fantastic exercise to get the posterior chain working specifically the hamstrings and glutes. The hamstring helps to stabilize the knee so if you are experiencing knee pain there is a good chance your hamstring is not working effectively.
Stir the pot
A deceiving exercise it looks so easy but is very difficult to keep the core stable and prevent rotation through the hips. This is a full body movement. Start with small circles and increase once it becomes easier, make sure you go both directions. Scaling option is to go on your knees.
Hold to top of a push-up with your hands on a Swiss ball. This will work the core, legs, shoulders, chest triceps. To scale this put the ball up against a wall.
Swiss Ball Pikes
This is a very difficult movement and should only be attempted if you have adequate straight arm strength. A great move to work the core, shoulders, triceps and mid/low traps. To scale bend the legs and tuck the knees into the chest.
Swiss Ball Wall Squat
Make sure the ball is positioned on your lower back at the start of the movement as it will roll up your back as you descend. Get exercise for the legs and core. This is a wonderful way to scale body weight squats.
The Ultimate Swiss Ball Workout
10 Swiss ball hamstring curls
30s Push-up hold or 10 Push-ups
3 x 10 Stir the pot / way
8 Swiss ball pikes
15 Swiss ball wall squats
(Scale as needed)