How Long Does Muscle Toning Take?

Fitness with dumbbells
Toning is a result of consistent weight training. (Image: mtoome/iStock/Getty Images)

Both men and women can tone and build their muscles by participating in weight training. How long it takes you to see improved muscle tone from your weight training depends on several factors. Although the rate will vary among individuals, it is likely to take about two months to see muscle toning results. Consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen, particularly if you have been sedentary or have any health issues.

Muscle Toning

To increase your muscle tone, you must participate in a weight-training program designed to increase the size of your muscle. Muscle building, or hypertrophy, occurs when you consistently complete high-volume weight-training sessions. High volume means that you complete multiple exercises for each muscle, and you perform three to six sets of six to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

Process

As you lift weights, the University of California-San Diego explains, you increase the neural drive that stimulates muscular contraction. This increase in neural efficiency will cause increases in strength rather quickly. As you continue to be consistent with your training, your body will adapt to the stimulus, activating genes that dictate the response of muscular contractile proteins. This increase in contractile proteins, which occurs in your muscle fibers, triggers improvement in muscle tone and increases in muscle size.

Factors

Because men have higher levels of testosterone and growth hormone, which are instrumental in the muscle growing process, they will typically see results significantly more quickly than women. These hormone levels, and thus how quickly the results of training show, vary among men. And those who train at a higher volume, completing more exercises and sets, will see results at a faster rate than those that only train twice per week.

Time

Increases in muscle size can take up to eight weeks of consistent training at a high volume, Dr. Lee E. Brown of the National Strength and Conditioning Association explains. Beginners are likely to see results more quickly than more advanced lifters, NSCA strength and conditioning specialist Dr. Joseph A. Chromiak adds.

Get Faster Results

You can speed your muscle-toning results by weight training at a higher volume. Split your muscle groups into separate workout sessions, which will give you the time to complete more exercises per muscle group. For example, work only your chest and back on Mondays and Thursdays, focus on your legs and shoulders on Tuesdays and Fridays and target your biceps and triceps on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Because you’re only working out two muscle groups each session, you can complete four to six exercises for each.

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