T Nation

High Rep = Toning?

oh man this is frustrating! so im trying to help a friend of mine “tighten” up a bit. a girl. 22yr/old, 5’6", 138lbs. not fat by any means.

anyway, ive given her workout advice several times. about two months ago i had her doing CW’s “sexy female training”…which she started “tweaking” about 3 weeks in, and eventually guit it altogether. frustrating!

now we are going away in two weeks so shes finally decided to get into the gym. on her return to the gym today she spent some time jogging on the treadmill and then did circuit training. all fine as far as im concerned i guess, and its great that shes back in the gym.

but then she did it: she tells me that her dad told her that high reps and low weight will “tone” her up. i then simply told her that it was not true. her response was that she wanted me to provide written proof that it wasnt true. yup, frustrating.

so hes 52yr/o, 5’10", 250lbs- not of muscle. has never had even a slightly impressive build, nor has he ever been a lifter.

im 22yr/o, started lifting seriously at 150ish lbs, was 220lbs at my highest, currently 198ish, at 5’9". and i read T-Nation!

but, 30 years ago he was a P.E. major in college, and hes now a gym teacher, so obviously his knowledge is superior.

anyway…this isnt an argument between her dad and i. what im looking for is this “written” proof. i know that ive read on here so many times about how that high-rep stuff is BS and it doesnt make you more toned than low reps. i simply dont remember where ive read it. so, if anyone can throw articles my way, itd help save me some time.

thanks!

New Rules of Lifting by Schuler and Cosgrove has a section about that myth I think.

Since she has basically no training experience, shouldn’t she start off in the 8-12 rep range, at least for the first 2 or 3 months? That gives the joints and tendons time to adapt to the stress of training. Then she can go with heavier weight, and lower reps.

What the hell do people actually mean when they say toning?

I encounter people all the time who say it. Usually skinny people with an aversion to heavy weights.

i’m pretty sure by high reps , he means near 20 reps. I see girls all the time doing anywhere from 15-30REPS!! Some chicks just don’t like high intensity , lower rep(5-8) workouts as it makes them feel too masculine. It also feels good doing 15 reps w/ a light weight since the pain is minimal.

High Rep = Endurance
Low Rep = Strength

you can do crunches, steps, and hoola-hoop all day to ‘tone’ what isn’t there. i’m guessing by ‘toning’ you mean seeing more muscle definiition? to see more definition, you need muscle first.

to gain muscle, you need something in the low to medium rep range. you will still build muscle in the high rep range, i’ve just personally found it to be slower.

Ask them to define “toning” and don’t quit until they provide a rational, non-self-contradictory and complete definition.

“Toning” simply does not exist, except in the foggy la-la-land of popular myth.

[quote]dez6485 wrote:
Her response was that she wanted me to provide written proof that it wasnt true. yup, frustrating.
[/quote]

Tell her to piss off until she is interested in serious training advice…

Okay, okay, maybe that isn’t a good idea.

Maybe roll your eyes and say “whatever”… then tell her to piss off until she wants serious advice.

Heh.

Go to www.turbulencetraining.com and sign up for the free report on cardio myths.

I just read it today and it has a few paragraphs on this exact topic.

Craig Ballantyne is a pretty well known author, so the source is reliable.

As another poster already mentioned, New Rules of Lifting by Cosgrove and Schuler has some good myth busting stuff, too.

Good luck, it seems life I face these kind of people all the time. Everyone is an expert when it comes to getting in shape, but no one is in shape! Usually I just nod my head when people talk training/nutrition with me. No use in trying to change their mind.

[quote]vroom wrote:
dez6485 wrote:
Her response was that she wanted me to provide written proof that it wasnt true. yup, frustrating.

Tell her to piss off until she is interested in serious training advice…

Okay, okay, maybe that isn’t a good idea.

Maybe roll your eyes and say “whatever”… then tell her to piss off until she wants serious advice.

Heh.[/quote]

Example one of why Vroom is still single.

Just go for a ride on your bike, will clear your head.

Just nod your head and continue your training, is good to see her in the gym, lead by example.

And off topic, you should take a test run on a buell, think you would enjoy it.

When people use the term tone in terms of someone?s physical appearance it has come to mean that person is neither hyper developed or flabby, and that is about what doing high reps with light weight will produce. Although tone is not really an accurate term, this is what I think most people think of when they use the word ?toned?.

I think the greater issue is with whether or not this is an effective strategy for her, and the false assumption if women lift heavy naturally, they will become monsters. They have no idea how far women bb?s go out of their way to achieve the look they do.

There are a hundred of ways to ?tighten up? and get in shape (CW himself has probably written that many different programs for T), but I think the most important thing for you is to just encourage her to get in the gym, and be a positive influence.

I have tried in the past to tell my wife the same thing, and she just likes to do it her way - she is consistent with it, and she gets results. Now are her results as good as what she could get from my advice? Of course not ; ).

[quote]dez6485 wrote:
but then she did it: she tells me that her dad told her that high reps and low weight will “tone” her up. i then simply told her that it was not true. her response was that she wanted me to provide written proof that it wasnt true. yup, frustrating.[/quote]

What is “tone”. Generally this means a muscle will be more visible. A muscle is made more visible when it increases in size, or when the fat surrounding it decreases.

Does higher reps and lower weight lead to tone? Aren’t many forms of “metabolic resistance trainer” performed in the higher rep ranges? Doesn’t “metabolic resistance trainer” lead to fat loss? Assuming that’s the case, why won’t higher reps leads to more “tone”?

Does the rest intervals between sets matter? If a person is using higher reps, must she decrease the rest intervals to increase the lactate produced during resistance training?

There are lots of issues floating around. Saying that lower reps with more weight is better for someone who wants “tone” is just as unsophisticated as PE teacher saying that higher reps is superior.

In any event, your friend sounds like a waste of space. She already quit a program you designed for her. It was probably too demanding for her. She wants to walk on a treadmill and goof off on machines instead.

No “proof” will persuade her. Find another friend to train.

[quote]dez6485 wrote:
…and i read T-Nation!
…[/quote]

BEST LINE EVER!!!

Anywho… like CaliforniaLaw said she is just not serious about it. So I would also suggest you find someone else to train.

NOW, if you want to hit it rather than train it. Then I suggest you go out with her BUT NOT TO THE GYM.

toned is what skinny people call themselves to make them look like they actually work out.
“oh look my arms are so toned” ive heard skinny fucks saying that about their arms which were the size of freakings matchsticks.

getting ‘toned’ is what fat people do constantly in the gym for years and yet remain fat. lifting the most ridiculous light weight ever on a machine as well for hundreds of time, with sweat pouring out their bodies. then they smile and go home to their fried chicken, pizza and choc9olate chip cookies, thinking that they just had the best workout of their lives.

I so wanna shoot those idiots.

But lads, the general population will describe someone as toned, and this is what most of the girls I work with want.

Screw any definition of what toned actually means. If you argue you will lose their attention.

Just give them your best routine and say

“Yeah people used to think that high reps=toning, however the latest research shows that THIS is the easiest/fastest way to do it”

Doesn’t matter that this isn’t exactly true, if they believe it it will come.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
dez6485 wrote:
but then she did it: she tells me that her dad told her that high reps and low weight will “tone” her up. i then simply told her that it was not true. her response was that she wanted me to provide written proof that it wasnt true. yup, frustrating.

What is “tone”. Generally this means a muscle will be more visible. A muscle is made more visible when it increases in size, or when the fat surrounding it decreases.

Does higher reps and lower weight lead to tone? Aren’t many forms of “metabolic resistance trainer” performed in the higher rep ranges? Doesn’t “metabolic resistance trainer” lead to fat loss? Assuming that’s the case, why won’t higher reps leads to more “tone”?

Does the rest intervals between sets matter? If a person is using higher reps, must she decrease the rest intervals to increase the lactate produced during resistance training?

There are lots of issues floating around. Saying that lower reps with more weight is better for someone who wants “tone” is just as unsophisticated as PE teacher saying that higher reps is superior.

In any event, your friend sounds like a waste of space. She already quit a program you designed for her. It was probably too demanding for her. She wants to walk on a treadmill and goof off on machines instead.

No “proof” will persuade her. Find another friend to train.[/quote]

Good post.

Its just like the “Low intensity burns more fat” argument - people twist facts to give themselves an excuse not to work hard.

Maybe 10x10 compound movements with little rest will produce enough lactic acid and burn enough fat to get you “toned”… provided you’re busting your ass enough to produce lactic acid.

But doing 3 sets of 15-20 with a 30 RM of bicep curls and leg extentions (as per the usual beginner looking to get “toned”) will not.

Its like they say: A little information is a dangerous thing.

[quote]legend wrote:
But lads, the general population will describe someone as toned, and this is what most of the girls I work with want.

Screw any definition of what toned actually means. If you argue you will lose their attention.

Just give them your best routine and say

“Yeah people used to think that high reps=toning, however the latest research shows that THIS is the easiest/fastest way to do it”

Doesn’t matter that this isn’t exactly true, if they believe it it will come. [/quote]

What do they mean when they say “toned?” Do they mean lack of fat? Do you think anyone ever uses tone to refer to actual muscle tone? If they did, then high reps would achieve this…probably not faster or to a greater degree than lower reps, but it would none the less.

On someone with borderline flaccid muscles, even a little bit of resistance can increase their muscle tone, and if said person is skinny (50% chance they are…), then the increased muscular tension at rest can, at least mildly, improve their physique.

Again, I’m not advocating high reps. However, doing 'em is better than eating one’s fat ass into a marine crane after an AMI.

you are missing my point
they don’t know what toned means but they want to look less like rosanne and more like madonna without accidentally turning into Lee Priest on the way

With almost everyone who wants a better body [outside of T nation] arguing the semantics of the word toned will just stop them ever listening to you again.

just tell them that they will look much better naked if they follow your plan.

for blokes i use Daniel Craig as the mythical “toned” target physique

and for girls Jessica simpson in her Dukes of Hazard days

[quote]zooropa1150 wrote:
i’m pretty sure by high reps , he means near 20 reps. I see girls all the time doing anywhere from 15-30REPS!! Some chicks just don’t like high intensity , lower rep(5-8) workouts as it makes them feel too masculine. It also feels good doing 15 reps w/ a light weight since the pain is minimal.[/quote]

Damn, I must be a lot different then most people. I find if I pick a weight that I can lets say… shoulder press or squat only around 15 times it gives me a lot more pain then if i pick a weight that I can only do 5 - 6 reps with.