How to tone up at home is one of the most frequently asked questions, and luckily for you, we've got the answer! There are a lot of different things that need to come together, from your end goal to what you are already working with in terms of fitness level. This article is a general guide on where to start, what you need to be doing, and what your options are - within reason.

This is not a quick fix. We’re not saying that by doing these things, you’re going to get in athlete or fitness model shape, but you’ll be on your way to a toned look. You’ll be doing it healthily and realistically too, rather than attempting crash diets and ridiculous training plans.

Cardio

Cardio exercise is essential to toning up. Burning calories at a reasonable and consistent pace is one of the pillars of building up your muscle definition in the long run. The beauty of it is that you’ll also be helping your overall health in the process too. You’ll build up your stamina, burn fat, and make your heart stronger in the process. There are a lot of different ways that you can get in your cardio exercise too; cardio equipment is usually the go-to!

Cross Trainers

Man and woman exercising on cross trainers

Cross trainers are a perfect example of getting a good cardio workout at home. They are low impact and high-calorie burners, making them ideal for home-based exercise. They have a range of benefits, with the potential to have a significant impact on your body fat percentage over time. They are also fairly easy to use! The variable resistances mean that they can cater to you no matter what your fitness level is. Awesome, right?

Rowing Machines

Rowing machines are another awesome way for you to get your cardio fix from home. For some people, they are even more effective than cross trainers, and they are useful for building up your upper back and bicep strength too. They are the perfect tool for toning up, especially if you challenge yourself and up the resistance. They are low impact, and they’re usually foldable, which means you can store them conveniently if you’re battling for space.

Strength

Building up muscle is another vital part of toning up at home. As you build up your strength, your muscles become more defined. Building muscle also makes your resting calorie expenditure higher too, so you’re burning more calories when you aren’t training too! Again, there are several different ways that you can go about doing it, but strength equipment is the most effective.

Dumbbells

a person performing single arm rows

One of the most popular ways to get in some good strength training at home is to use weights like dumbbells. They’re small enough to store at home, so you won't have to worry about space. And they are so versatile, too! There is a dumbbell exercise for any fitness level, and that’s why they’re probably the most popular piece of fitness kit. Every single muscle group can feel their benefit! If you need a guide, here is our choice of the best ten dumbbell exercises.

Kettlebells

Kettlebells are another awesome and compact way to get in an awesome weight training workout at home. They can be used for a lot of the same exercises as dumbbells, but there is plenty of unique choice, too! Compound exercises like kettlebell swings and single leg deadlifts are great for burning calories and hitting more muscles at the same time, which is precisely what toning up needs.

Resistance Bands

person performing a biceps curl with a resistance band

It’s not all about heavyweights though. Resistance bands are another way for you to get your strength training fix and help improve your muscle tone. There is again a massive number of exercises that you can do with them, and they offer unique angles to hit your muscles in new ways. You can use them in aerobic exercise too - to give your cardio an extra edge!

Bodyweight

Toning up at home isn’t all about equipment either. You can also use nothing but your own body weight to help build up muscle definition and burn calories too! If you’re short of space, your body weight can be your best friend! There are limits of course, but it’s still an effective way to get good exercise.

Strength

When looking at more strength exercises you can do with your bodyweight, things are slightly limited. Callisthenics are a good option, but generic strength exercises are useful too. Push-ups or bodyweight squats, for example, are fantastic compound exercises that will build up your strength for sure. Even adding some weighted objects from around the house can help you out if you’re stuck!

Pilates & Yoga

Man in the cobra position

Different training styles like Pilates and yoga are useful in helping you to tone up too. They both require some serious core strength, and because of this, they will develop some good muscle tone! Although most of the benefits can be seen in your overall strength, Pilates is still a really effective way of building muscle at the same time, while improving balance and core strength too!

Aerobics

Lastly, with bodyweight exercise, it’s important to remember that you can still get some good cardio exercise in there too. Aerobics is always a great tool. Use some of the old school exercises like start jumps or jogging on the spot for example. Burpees are also amazing, as they combine explosive plyometric movements with a full body aerobic exercise. They are tough, but so effective!

Nutrition

The final and possibly the most important thing to think about when you’re trying to tone up at home is what you are eating. Your nutrition can make or break your fitness routine, so it is vital that you get it right. Overall, you need to be in a slight calorie deficit, ideally of around 300kcal per day. This is just enough to allow your muscle to develop as you burn fat for energy, and it’s the best way to make sure that you're toning up gradually in the healthiest way for you. Combining exercising and dieting is better than dieting alone to get this calorie deficit!

And there you have it, the guide to toning up at home. There are many different options for you, depending on your budget and the space you can allow for your equipment. Choose what is best for you and give it a go!

 


Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.