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How to Tone (and Not Gain) Muscle. | Davey Wavey Fitness

How to Tone (and Not Gain) Muscle.

If I look at this picture much longer, I'm going to start "toning" my right arm.

Alan writes:

Dear Davey,

What would you suggest for someone who wants to do a routine more for tone than weight gain or muscle mass? I love aerobics but hate doing any weight training. I am 41 5’8″ 157.3 lbs.

Alan, I’m a big advocate of finding ways to stay fit that you enjoy.

If your heart is in aerobic exercises like running, walking, bicycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, rowing, skating, and machines such as stair steppers and elliptical trainers, that’s all great. All of these cardiovascular exercises are great for strengthening your heart, increased bone density, reducing stress and so on.

But just as man cannot live on bread alone, neither can he have a well-rounded routine without strength/weight training. Not only does strength training help boost metabolism (something that’s very important as we age), it staves off a whole slew of diseases, improves posture, decreases the risk of injury – and it will improve your aerobic performance.

And fear not: Strength training doesn’t necessarily equal large muscle gains. You can pursue a strength training program that tones rather than builds muscle. Such a program would involve high repetitions of low weights. Or you can ditch the weights entirely in favor of training with resistance bands. Or you could train with your own body weight – doing things like push-ups, pull-ups and the like – or even take gymnastics classes.

Regardless of our goals, cardio and strength training go hand-in-hand. It’s like bread and butter, salt and pepper or dildos and douches. Our cardio and strength training just need to be tweaked to meet whatever goals we set.

So Alan, I encourage you to find an enjoyable way to get the strength training you need in a way that involves high reps of light weights.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Rants? Raves? Share them in the comments below.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I’m sorry Davey… what did you say? i was distracted by the picture hahaha

  2. thanks for this one. I was actually thinking about this. I know treadmills and what not are good for slimming down but to flatten the stomach one needs other types of excercise.
    Davey, I have a longer preportioned torso. I’m 6′. I want a leaner build but I’m not about doing ab crunches knowing that they can cause torso muscles to bulge out. I’m not fixated on getting a six pack. I just want to look lean in the stomach area.

    • There are all types of core exercises that work other stomach muscles besides the superficial ones that give the “six-pack”, much sought after although apparently not by you. Learn the drawing-in maneuver to work your transverse abdominus, the deep muscle that works like a natural girdle, for one.

      That being said, no exercise will remove flab from around the stomach. That is all about diet.

  3. Great picture!

    Oh, there was an article too?

  4. I’m with Andrew. Huh? What?

  5. WOW, super! Davey your one sharp dude! thanks for saying again what every fitness trainer finds key in reminding clients, that cardio and strength hold each others hand through any training process, one without the other, is a lost training program!
    Add to that, secondary elements include, Diet, Rest and Hydration=lots of water, for flushing, lubrication and just maintaining metabolism, and a program is almost guaranteed to succeed!

  6. Jeremy NYC says:

    Wow. I hope that was someone you took a picture of yourself? Hm, if not, I hope there is geo-location tracking data imbedded in that picture?

    No? Aw, shucks. Fantasies are not as high tech as I wan them to be.

  7. WOW, super! Davey your one sharp dude! thanks for saying again what every fitness trainer finds key in reminding clients, that cardio and strength hold each others hand through any training process, one without the other, is a lost training program!


  8. LOL the caption is hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. WOW!! thank u Soo much davey I’ve been wanting to tone muscle for like ever now ๐Ÿ™‚ and I have one of those rubbery band things so I’ll keep on using it… This just gave me a confidence boost :))

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