Toning equipment is an exercise machine or accessory intended to sculpt and strengthen the muscles. This category of fitness equipment takes a variety of forms, with options to suit many different exercise styles and budgets. Some of the most common types of toning equipment are weight machines, free weights, exercise balls, and resistance bands.
One of the most popular forms of toning equipment is the weight machine. Each weight machine is designed to target a different group of muscles, such as the chest, legs, back, buttocks, and arms. It generally features adjustable weighted plates attached to a pulley system, and which are repeatedly raised and lowered by the user. As weight machines tend to be both expensive and bulky, they are most commonly found in gyms. Some toning equipment manufacturers, however, offer all-in-one weight machines designed for home use.
Free weights are another prevalent type of toning equipment. This kind of equipment may be fixed in weight, as with kettle bells or small hand weights. It may also feature disks which can be added or removed from a weight bar, allowing the user to decide how much weight he would like to lift. Free weights are repeatedly raised and lowered in several different ways, depending upon which muscles the user wishes to tone. As this type of equipment is generally cheaper and more compact than weight machines, it offers an attractive option for those who wish to lift weights in their own home.
For those who do not have access to weights or who prefer toning exercises that are not weight-based, exercise balls and resistance bands can be good choices. This type of toning equipment relies partially on the weight of the body to create resistance and sculpt the muscles. In comparison to weight machines and free weights, it is usually highly affordable.
Exercise balls are large, inflatable rubber spheres that can be used to enhance a variety of toning moves. They are often used, for instance, to intensify the common crunch. By laying face-up on an exercise ball while performing a crunch, the exerciser disrupts his center of balance. This forces the abdominal muscles to work harder, thus producing muscle tone quickly.
Resistance bands are highly stretchable rings of rubber which can be used to perform toning exercises similar to those done with free weights. For instance, the user can perform a bicep curl by placing one end of a resistance band beneath his foot, holding the opposite end in his fist, and then raising and lowering his fist. As resistance bands can be easily tucked into a purse or suitcase, they are an excellent form of portable toning equipment.