This 30-Minute Total-Body Workout Tones from Head to Toe

No gym? No prob.

young woman doing toning workout with dumbbells at the gym
Photo: vitapix/Getty Images

Bored with your strength training agenda? Yep, we know it’s easy to fall into a workout rut, which is why Gold's Gym trainer Nicole Couto’s toning workout is a breath (or should we say huff-and-puff) of fresh air.

For starters, let's talk about what "toning" and "toned" even mean: Technically speaking, 'muscle tone' has no specific definition (it's basically when muscles that appear to stand out) and it's not always an indication of strength, explains says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., director of exercise science at Quincy College in Quincy, MA, in Why Some People Have an Easier Time Toning Their Muscles. If you're going for a "toned" look, know that it's a combination of having muscle, lower body fat, and, well, the rest is complicated; getting "toned" involves a mix of genetics, lifestyle choices, and exercise. (

That said, doing strength workouts is never a bad idea. (Just check out all these benefits you get from lifting weights.)

If you want to strengthen your body and add lean muscle to your physique, aim to keep your body guessing by switching up your toning exercise routine every four weeks, suggests Couto, who designed the toning workout below. These uber-effective moves will hit all the major muscle groups in just 30 minutes. Once it starts to feel a bit easy, you can simply grab a heavier set of weights. If you start to get bored, flip the order of the supersets to mix things up!

To make the most of your time, Couto designed these toning exercises in superset format. "That means doing back-to-back sets of moves, with no rest in between. The faster pace keeps your heart rate up, helping burn more calories in less time." Ready?

Full-Body Toning Workout

How it works: After warming up with some easy cardio or these dynamic moves, do the toning exercise supersets in order. Unless otherwise noted, perform 3 sets of 15 reps of each exercise (do one set of the first move, followed immediately by one set of the next and continue until you've done 3 sets of each toning exercise). Rest 30 seconds between each superset.

What you’ll need: A mat, a pair of 5- and 10-pound dumbbells, a stability ball, and an incline bench (or just lie at an incline on the stability ball during toning exercises that call for a bench if you don’t have one handy).'

Body Toning Exercise Superset 1

Ball Crunch

  • Holding one 10-pound dumbbell (grab an end in each hand) close to your chest, lie face-up with your back centered on a stability ball.
  • Crunch your head and shoulder blades up off the ball, then lower and repeat. (Despise crunches? Then try these 18 awesome ab-toning exercises instead.)
  • Do 15 reps.


  • Lie face-up on a mat with your hands, palms down, under your butt.
  • Keeping your head and shoulder blades on the mat, lift both feet legs 10 inches off the ground.
  • Open legs wide then bring them together, crossing right foot over left.
  • Open them again and cross left over right to complete 1 rep.
  • Continue, alternating legs. Do 15 reps per side.

Body Toning Exercise Superset 2

Squat Series

  • Holding a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, start standing with feet hip-width apart.
  • Do 15 squats.
  • Move feet slightly wider than shoulders, toes pointed out at an angle, and do 15 more plie squats.
  • Bring feet a little closer together than hip-width and do 15 final narrow squats to complete one set. (

Classic Lunge

  • Standing with feet together and arms at sides, lunge back with right foot so left knee is aligned over ankle and right knee is within a few inches off the floor. (In case you need it: Here's how to do a lunge correctly.)
  • Step back to start and repeat.
  • Do 15 reps per side.

Toning exercise tip: To make the lunges harder, complete the same motion holding a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand.

Body Toning Exercise Superset 3

Seated Shoulder Press

  • Sit on the stability ball, holding 10-pound dumbbells next to shoulders, elbows down and palms facing forward.
  • Extend arms straight overhead, then lower them to start position.
  • Do 15 reps.

Hammer Curl

  • Stay seated on the stability ball and lower arms to sides, palms facing in.
  • Keeping upper arms still, curl dumbbells toward shoulders.
  • Slower lower to start position.
  • Do 15 reps.

Body Toning Exercise Superset 4

Side Lateral Raise

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, abs tight, knees slightly bent and shoulders pulled back and down.
  • Hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, in front of hips.
  • Keeping torso still, lift arms out to sides to just below shoulder level.
  • Slowly lower to start position.
  • Do 15 reps.

Triceps Kickback

  • Holding 5-pound dumbbells in each hand, stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping knees bent, lean over from hips until torso is almost parallel to floor and tuck elbows to sides, arms bent 90 degrees so forearms are perpendicular to floor.
  • Keeping upper arms still, slowly straighten arms behind you (don't lock elbows).
  • Lower weights toward floor/your body again. (These are just one of the 9 triceps-toning exercises one trainer swears you need in your life.)
  • Do 15 reps.

Body Toning Exercise Superset 5

Incline Chest Press

  • Adjust the pad of an incline bench so it's at about a 45-degree angle.
  • Lie face-up on the incline bench holding 10-pound dumbbells in each hand, arms straight but not locked, hands slightly wider than shoulders, and palms facing forward.
  • Lower dumbbells toward chest until elbows are bent 90 degrees, then press up to start position.
  • Do 15 reps.

Toning exercise tip: Lie on a stability ball with back tilted at a 45-degree angle if you don’t own an incline bench or are completing this as an at-home workout. (

Bent-Over Row

  • Holding a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping knees bent, lean over from hips until torso is almost parallel to floor and extend arms toward ground directly under chest.
  • Draw the dumbbells toward your obliques at about belly button height, then lower to start position.
  • Do 15 reps.
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