Should I lift light weights or heavy weights to tone my muscles?

To improve muscle tone, you should use both light and heavy weights as part of your resistance training program. Using different amounts of weight prevents your muscles from getting too accustomed to any one stimulus, which will lead to constant progress toward your goals.  It is popular thought that if muscle tone is the desired goal, that heavier weights should never be used; however, variety in the amount of resistance placed on the muscles from using a combination of light, moderate, and heavier weights will progressively overload them and force them to continue to change. Really achieving that toned look that you are after will come from focusing on proper food intake and using varying amounts of resistance in your exercise program.   
The word “tone” does not exist in Muscle Science. You can only make a muscle bigger or make it smaller. The same rule applies to fat tissues. You can’t shape, elongate or tone a muscle as they claim in some exercise trends. So basically if a lean athletic look is what you are after, you should be aiming to build more muscle and lose some fat. Gaining more muscle makes your body burn more calories even at rest, as a result you are going to lose some fat. These two together will make you look leaner and tighter.
To gain more muscle, you need to follow a systematic and progressive training plan. This program works with both heavy and light weights in different stages.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.