Toning Exercises for the Whole Body

Having the ability to look good in any outfit, on any occasion, and at any point during the year is the fitness goal of many. Most people don’t want to pack on a heap of lean muscle or get incredibly strong, instead, they want to tone their physique to look well defined and fit all year round.

The key to toning your entire body is to understand the principles of how to structure your workouts. You’ll want to include the best toning exercises to achieve this desired look and then go out and apply it to yourself. Let’s take a look at how you can start toning your body today!

How to Tone Your Body

When you’re looking to tone your body, it’s most effective to complete exercises in the higher repetition ranges. Traditionally, exercise goers would aim for 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. However, to get the toned and defined look you’re after, you’ll have to increase this repetition amount to 15 to 20 repetitions for each set you complete.

It also helps to structure your workout as a circuit taking very little rest (around 20 to 30-seconds) in between each round of the circuit. When structuring your exercise circuit, try to add in exercises that target every body part as the goal is to tone your whole body. Here are my favorite toning exercises to help you get started.

toned and defined back

Source: Shutterstock


Push-ups are great for toning the upper body, especially the chest and triceps. If you find regular push-ups too difficult, you can modify the exercise. Drop down to your knees as these are a great beginner position until you build up more strength.

Push-ups are also a great compound exercise as they recruit your core muscles to stabilize your body. This allows you to tone almost the entire upper body.



You couldn’t write an article on the best exercises to tone the body without mentioning a core exercise like crunches. They’re simple and effective!

Tone up your midsection by adding in a few sets of crunches into your workout. Make this exercise more challenging by holding a small 5-pound weight against your chest.

Woman doing crunches


This exercise is amazing at blasting your legs! It specifically targets the quads and glutes. Since these are such a large muscle group, they require a lot of energy allowing you to burn many calories and tone up your body.

If you’re looking to make this exercise even more challenging, hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand.

Woman doing lunges

Tricep Dips

What better way to tone that back of your arms than by doing triceps dips? Your triceps make up the largest portion of your upper arm so if you’re looking to tone your upper body, this is a great exercise to start with.

Start slow and make sure to squeeze the back of your arm as you rise up.

Tricep dips with a chair


Squats are another compound exercise that relies on multiple muscle groups to perform. Due to this, you burn many calories when completing squats, allowing you to tone up your body faster.

To get started, I recommend trying either goblet squats, sumo squats, box squats, or split squats.

Squats with a kettle ball


Planks are another one of my favorite core exercises, especially if you’re looking to tone your whole body. When performing a plank, hold the position for as long as you can to maximize the core burn!

Looking to make this exercise more challenging? Try adding in shoulder taps or leg lifts while holding the plank position. You’ll feel the burn in your core in no time!

Couple planking and doing shoulder taps


People love to hate on this exercise but no one can deny how fatigued they leave you. They may be challenging but they are effective.

Burpees are especially beneficial when trying to tone up your body! Choose a reasonable amount of reps (5 to 15) and complete them as fast as possible but with good form.


Jump Squats

As if normal squats weren’t hard enough, jump squats will help you burn even more calories. You don’t need to jump very high. Keep it to a maximum of 1-foot in the air and make sure you have a soft landing.

Jumping squats

Source: Shutterstock

Battle Ropes

Battle ropes are an incredible exercise to tone almost every muscle in your upper body.

Get into a low squat position and pump your arms as fast as they’ll go. Perform short bursts of 20 to 40-seconds and then move onto the next exercise.

Battle ropes

Bicycle Crunches

This core exercise is sure to get your heart pumping as it involves both the upper body and lower body to complete. When performing this exercise, make sure to engage your core muscles and not your neck! You don’t want any injuries.

To make this exercise more challenging, try going a bit faster to really get the heart racing. Just remember to maintain good form throughout.

Bicycle Crunches

Getting Started

Now it’s time for you to get after it! Pick a handful of these exercises to create a circuit workout. Then complete 4 to 6 rounds of the circuit, performing each exercise for 15 to 20 repetitions, and time yourself to see how long it takes you to complete.

Remember, the fewer rest you have in between rounds, the quicker you’ll be on your way to toning your whole body. Another tip, create a few different circuits so that you can have more variety when working out.

Happy at the gym

Eric Leckie, PT

Eric Leckie, PT

Eric Leckie is a men's health Physiotherapist specializing in prostate cancer treatment. He completed his studies in Australia earning his Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. He currently works in a private practice, in addition to owning his own Telehealth Physiotherapy clinic which focuses on treating men with prostate cancer.