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Toning a variety of body parts is a popular fitness goal. Find out what equipment options can be used for toning and other exercise benefits.
In fitness language, toning comes down to losing body fat and building a bit of muscle. While you can build focus muscle growth in certain areas, keep in mind that fat loss generally cannot be done in targetted areas.
Also remember that other lifestyle habits like what you eat are important when trying to lose body fat no matter what exercise you do. You can work out and gain weight at the same time if your other lifestyle habits are not good.
That being said, exercising does generally help with both parts of toning, some more than others.
You can definitely start toning your body without equipment but at some point, you may need extra resistance to make certain exercises challenging enough for a lot of progress.
In other cases, the right equipment can just make your workouts more enjoyable. In turn, this can help you stay more consistent with your plan which is generally helpful for more results faster.
Keep in mind that even though these equipment options can offer benefits, like with any exercise there is always a certain injury risk. You may want to talk to your primary care provider before starting a new workout routine.
A treadmill is one of the most popular gym machines there is. It simulates an endless flat surface to run or walk on.
While this equipment does engage your leg muscles to some extent, the treadmill’s main toning power comes from all the calories you can burn by running.
Additionally, running on the treadmill can also help with improving cardiovascular health, improving balance and coordination, and the other benefits of cardiovascular workouts to a large extent.
A more specific benefit is that treadmills are relatively budget-friendly compared to other big cardio exercise equipment options and often can be folded to save storage space.
One potential downside of something like running on the treadmill is that it is a lot harder on your knees. If you get injured because of this you will have to put your toning plan on hold.
Besides that, if you are interested in growing upper body muscles, the treadmill is likely not what you are looking for. Using a treadmill can be a bit noisy too.
A dumbbell is basically a handle with a weight on each side. This piece of fitness equipment is extremely popular both due to its effectiveness and versatility.
You can use dumbbells to grow a variety of muscles and make them stand out more. Extra muscle mass will also benefit body fat burning over the long term. A great combination for toning your body.
Some other benefits of dumbbells include that they last a very long time, they don’t lose their value very fast, and they have a relatively high weight ceiling.
A potential disadvantage is that similar to other steel training equipment options for toning, dumbbells often require a slightly bigger initial investment compared to more short term fitness equipment.
3. Elliptical machine
The elliptical machine is a relatively popular cardio gym machine that can definitely help you with toning your body. Using this machine may look a bit complicated at first but this exercise equipment option for toning is actually very beginner-friendly.
You simply select your desired resistance, put your feet on the pads and hands on the handles. After that, you move forward with your feet and back and forth with your hands at your desired intensity.
It sounds and is simple but an elliptical machine workout can help you burn a nice amount of calories and hopefully in turn body fat.
Exercise beginners and possibly intermediates may even be able to build some muscle with the elliptical machine by selecting a high resistance setting.
Besides the toning benefits, using an elliptical machine can also help you improve your cardiovascular health, improves balance and coordination, is relatively knee-friendly, using an elliptical machine is relatively quiet, etc.
One potential downside is that an elliptical machine does generally have a higher price tag compared to some of the other toning equipment.
Additionally, if you are more experienced with resistance training this machine, even at high resistance may not be enough for a lot of muscle gain.
A barbell is a long bar that can hold weight plates. It is one of the most popular equipment options to add resistance to a wide variety of exercises.
This makes it so similar to dumbbells, a weighted barbell can help you build a lot of muscle. In turn, this muscle can help you burn a lot of calories. Both of these are the exercise part of toning.
Especially for training strong and big muscles like your legs with squat, a barbell can be great since you can put so much weight on it and hold it on your shoulders.
A benefit of investing in a barbell for your home workouts is that it allows you to do many resistance training exercises for a variety of body parts.
Another benefit of a barbell is that it generally lasts an extremely long time. One investment can potentially improve your workouts for many years and potentially even decades. On top of that, a barbell does not really lose its value a lot.
This means that if you decide to stop using the barbell you can likely sell it for a very similar price as what you put into it.
A potential downside is that a barbell with weight plates often requires a slightly bigger investment compared to more short term fitness equipment. A barbell is also not good for one-handed exercises.
5. Rowing machine
A rowing machine is a gym machine that simulates the movement of rowing a boat. This machine is a great equipment option for toning if you are interested in a cardio workout where you engage your upper body to a nice extent
Similar to many of the other options on this list rowing can help you burn a lot of calories, strengthen your muscles, improve cardiovascular health, etc. All in the comfort of your own home or in the gym.
If you turn up the resistance, a rowing machine can also help you engage your back and arm muscles a nice amount. Resistance training beginners may even be able to build some amount of muscle this way.
There are also potential downsides to a rowing machine. First of all, a rowing machine requires a bit more storage space compared to many of the other toning equipment options on this list.
Using a rowing machine can also be a bit noisy depending on what model you use. Lastly, the price tag of rowing machines is also often more above-average.
6. Resistance bands
Resistance bands are an inexpensive type of fitness equipment that are basically elastic cords. This piece of toning equipment allows you to add resistance in all directions instead of just against gravity like free weights.
On top of that, it is possible to loop resistance bands around your legs. This also enables you to add resistance to for example inner and outer thigh exercises. You can basically tone most of the important muscles with the help of resistance bands.
Some of the other benefits of resistance bands are that they are relatively inexpensive, easy to store, and very portable.
One downside is that resistance bands are not the type of exercise equipment you can use for the rest of your life. At least every few years you will need to replace the last set with new resistance bands.
For certain exercises you will also benefit from a resistance band anchor somewhere.
7. Stationary bike
The stationary bike is a very popular piece of cardio exercise equipment both to get at home or in the gym. To start burning calories you simply take place on the bike and start pedaling. Stationary bikes often come with training programs but you can also do your own thing.
Cycling on the stationary bike can offer a variety of benefits that include improving your cardiovascular health indoors, engaging your leg muscles, burning calories, you are not dependent on the weather, etc.
A more unique benefit of the stationary bike is that it is a toning equipment option where you do not need to use that much balance. If this is a concern to you, a stationary bike may be a good choice.
You can also easily do other activities like talking to family friends and watching tv while toning your body on a stationary bike. Besides that, a stationary bike is a relatively inexpensive workout machine and is usually not that big. This means it can be good exercise equipment for small spaces.
A potential downside of stationary bikes is that if you want to grow a variety of upper body muscles, this option is not what you want. You won’t engage your upper body and your legs do not go through a full range of motion.