Is lifting lighter weights and doing lots of repetitions the best way to tone up muscles?
Muscle tone is a combination of strength trained muscle and having body fat levels that are low enough that the muscle can be seen. There is really no evidence to suggest that using light weights (versus heavier) and doing high repetitions (15-25) maximizes either of these factors. In fact, doing heavier weights with lower repetitions (8-12) is best for maximizing strength and muscle mass. Most experts agree that regardless of how many repetitions you prefer to do, best results are gained by training to failure. In other words, doing as many repetitions as possible with whatever resistance (weight) you have selected. However, it is important to note that this type of training can be dangerous and is not appropriate for everyone, especially for beginners.
To determine if it is safe for you to be become more physically active go here.
Stephen D. Ball, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension
Last update: Thursday, December 04, 2008