Weight Lifting Exercises for Toning in Men

Effort on the bench press

Being toned means you have defined muscles with little excess body fat. Weight-training exercises contribute to fat burning because muscle has a high metabolic rate. The goal with weightlifting is to use a resistance that allows you to do six to 12 repetitions. Stick to compound exercises and focus on targeting all of your major muscle groups. Compound exercises work more than one muscle at a time and they also cause a nice caloric expenditure.

Bench Press

The bench press works the chest, shoulders and triceps simultaneously and it is performed from a face-up position on a bench. Grasp a barbell with a wider than shoulder-width grip and push it off the supports. Slowly lower it down until it lightly touches your chest, push it up until your arms are fully extended and repeat. You also have the option of using dumbbells. Lower them to your sides by bending your elbows and push them above your chest until they are an inch apart. It is a good idea to stick with free weights with most of your exercises because they recruit more muscle fiber than machines.


Pullups work the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius and biceps all at the same time. All you need is a pullup bar or equivalent horizontal object to hang from to do these. Wrap your hands around the bar with a shoulder-width, overhand grip and let your legs hang straight down. Steadily pull yourself up as high as possible and hold for a second. The goal is to get your chin to clear the bar. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat. To place more emphasis on your biceps, perform chinups with your palms facing your body. If you need more resistance, wear a weighted vest or put on a weighted backpack.

Shoulder Press

The shoulder press is often referred to as the military press. This works the deltoids and traps in the shoulders, and the triceps. Begin in a standing position while holding a barbell at upper chest height with your palms shoulder-width apart and facing forward. Steadily push the bar above your head until your arms are fully extended. Slowly lower the bar and repeat. You also have the option of using dumbbells. With either version, make sure to keep your back straight and abs tight throughout.


The legs are often overlooked when it comes to toning the body, but they set off the male physique when they are in good shape. A squat is a good exercise because it targets the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and erector spinae all at the same time. The erector spinae runs down the spinal column and ends in the lower back. Start by hoisting a weighted barbell across the back of your shoulders and place your hands in a wide grip. Keeping your back straight, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and abs tight, lower yourself down by bending your knees. Once your thighs parallel the floor, steadily rise back up and repeat.

Bicycle Ab Crunch

The bicycle ab crunch targets the entire abdominal area from a face-up position on the floor. Before you begin, lift your legs, bend your knees 90 degrees and raise your head and shoulders off the floor. After placing your hands on the sides of your head, steadily move your opposite elbow and knee toward each other while extending one leg. Quickly change your direction to target your other side and continue to alternate back and forth in a steady motion.