Many women are interested in strengthening and toning their muscles. And for good reason: strong, toned, well-defined muscles look great, feel great, and get peoples' attention! They also come in handy when you need 'functional' strength to lift/move/open/throw/etc. an object.
Tip #1: Use light-to-moderate resistance and lots of reps
Strength & toning for women is all about creating sleek, strong, well-defined muscles - NOT the big, bulky muscles most men go after. The trick to toning your muscles without making them bigger is to use lighter weights and higher volume (which means 3 or more sets per exercise and 10-20 repetitions per set).
Tip #2: The Pilates solution
One of the best, most enjoyable ways to strengthen and tone muscles is to perform regular Pilates workouts, which involve no weights - just your own body. Many gyms now offer 1-on-1 Pilates instruction as well as group classes. Another good option is the very popular Winsor Pilates workout videos.
Tip #3: Get on a circuit
Circuit training is a great option for strength & toning for women. It involves performing one or two sets of a certain exercise, using relatively light weights and little rest between sets, and then moving on to another, complementary exercise. Many of the new 'women-only' gyms focus on circuit-style workouts, which are highly effective for not only muscle-toning, but fat-burning as well.
Tip #4: Do it at home
Millions of women strengthen and tone their bodies in the privacy of their own homes by using home workout videos. The best videos usually take you through one or more aerobic-style workouts and often show you how to work the entire body. Certain video-makers, such as Beachbody, are much better than others. They focus on producing ultra high-quality, fun, exciting workouts that don't allow you to get bored.
Tip #5: Eat well
No matter how much you focus on muscle strength and/or toning, if your muscles are covered by a layer of fat you'll never be able to admire them - and neither will anyone else! A healthy diet is an integral part of creating a toned body, especially for women. Women's bodies tend to 'hold on' to fat more than men's so it's nearly impossible for them to get that 'lean' look without a relatively clean diet.