3 Day Whole Body Toning Workout

3 day per week whole body toning workout designed for people who don't want to build up bulk but just want to tone and strengthen their muscles.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Full Body
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

The 3 day-per-week whole body toning workout. This workout is designed for people who don't want to build up bulk but just want to tone and strengthen their muscles.

This workout would go well with an existing cardio or weight loss program. You can this workout on the same day or separate days to your cardio, it really doesn't matter.

This workout hits all major muscle groups over 3 days. The total time needed for the workout is about 1 hour or so. If you need any help with this workout visit our forum.

Daily Workout Schedule:

Monday - Full Body Routine (series 1)
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
45 Degree Leg Press 3 20
Seated Row 3 20
Chest Dip 2 15-20
Machine Shoulder Press 2 20
Cable Curl 2 20
Tricep Extension 2 20
Hover 3 1 minute

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday - Full Body Routine (series 2)
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Smith Machine Squat 3 20
Seated calf Raise 2 25
Lat Pull Down 3 20
Dumbbell Flys 3 20
Tricep Kickback 2 20
Standing Dumbbell Curl 2 20
Decline Sit Ups 2 MAX

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday- Full Body Routine (series 3)
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lunge 4 10 each leg
Wide Grip Pull Up 3 MAX
Barbell Bench Press 3 15-20
Standing Barbell Curl 3 15-20
Tricep Bench Dip 3 15
Horizontal Leg Raise 2 MAX

Saturday and Sunday: Rest Days

About The Author
M&S writers is a collection of all the other writers that have published content on Muscle and Strength.

466 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 18:01
Danny O
resttime between sets?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 08:29
I recommend 2 minutes between sets. You may need to rest longer on certain exercises, but 2 minutes is a good guideline.
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Posted Sun, 07/18/2010 - 11:59
if proper diet and routine is maintained when doing these exercises, how should it take to start seeing results from this regimen
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:12
Hi Jimmy, If you are trying to cut fat, a good goal would be to aim for a 2 pound fat loss per week. that will allow you to maintain as muscle muscle as possible while losing fat.
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Posted Sun, 06/12/2011 - 20:07
What kind of caloric intake should I shoot for to obtain a 2 pound loss per week?
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Posted Tue, 10/11/2011 - 12:38
odalisa gomez
i need to lose 10lbs, i need to know the proper exercise and food
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Posted Fri, 08/09/2013 - 01:30
Hi Brandon, you will need to calculate your BMR and your TDEE to get those numbers. If you want to lose weight, you should do a deficit of around 10-20% your required :)
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Posted Sat, 06/21/2014 - 06:04
Hi Steve, I have just lost 30 pounds and my wedding is in August, am trying to shape my body without adding size or having bulk muscles, just the same body but tight muscles. Will this exercise do it? Thanks
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Posted Sun, 05/23/2010 - 12:56
my doc says i need to lose 30 pounds and lose at lease 6 to 8 percent body fat because i'm borderline to being dibetic what workout would you do to lose the fat and weght fast?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/23/2010 - 20:27
A good diet is really the key to cutting fat. Any beginner workout will work well during cutting if you are focusing on progressive resistance. How quickly are you looking to drop this weight?
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Posted Mon, 07/12/2010 - 00:12
hi, i would like to ask if this program is applicable for my goal, im 21 yrs old, 125lbs, 5'4" and less body fat %. i just want to tone my muscle and look fit, i dont want to be bulk.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 07/12/2010 - 14:50
Hi Ey, This program will be very helpful along with a sound diet approach.
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Posted Thu, 03/17/2011 - 18:24
hi, i lost 105 pounds in a year but have reached a 5 month plateau at 206, and have def been slacking on my eating, and with my new jobs and a third kid, time is not on my side. i was on another workout from here and i started to see the bulk but i wanted more of a lean and cut, so im wondering if this is a good workout for that and also if you could... shoot me a meal plan if you have one that you could shoot to me... thanks! if you have a email i could email you if better. Jodean
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Posted Tue, 02/07/2012 - 18:15
AAron Small
Have you ever heard of Take Shape For Life? It features a meal plan, health coach, healthy habits of life. Guarantees weight loss of 3-5the lbs per week.
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Posted Fri, 05/27/2011 - 14:52
yeah i just wanna know for a beginner like myself what would be a good work out to cut about 35 pounds. Would it be better to cut the weight I'm lifting down and pick up more rep? And i also would like to know about the diet you would recommend thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 19:42
Hi Garry, You want to focus on two things to maximize results: 1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. 2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-fat-while-keeping-muscle.html https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-diet.html
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Posted Thu, 07/14/2011 - 22:56
I think if you was to do s 10 min warm up on a running machine then move to muscles upper body , not massive weights but comfortable weight that you can manage without strain' . Do 4-5 sets upper body arms( bicep tricep) and abdominal area 4-5 sets ' do this each day ( or as often in the week as you can fit in. Check your weight before you start this workout and check it every 2 days and see if you notice a difference
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Posted Sat, 01/29/2011 - 20:54
The key to losing weight and keeping muscle is hardcore cardio with extreme high repetitions of weight, you do this an hour a day 30min cardio followed by 30min. weight lifting one right after another and being followed by a diet you will lose weight in no time.
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Posted Tue, 01/31/2012 - 21:39
Agree. A well balanced diet with plenty of "filtered water" would be a good start. Good friend of mine lost 16Kg and has maintained his weight ever since. He is out of the grey Diabetes zone. Check Healthpointe.
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Posted Mon, 08/16/2010 - 17:19
Mike Wright
When I originally found this article in early 2008, the rest periods were recommended for 30-60 seconds in between sets. It's a high pace, hi rep workout and is designed to get you in and out of the gym in under and hour (warm up, cool down included).
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Posted Sat, 11/12/2011 - 10:24
mikey c
about 60 seconds will do... but after a while change it up and shorten the rest time to 30
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Posted Sat, 12/31/2011 - 17:28
Mac leathal
Winters hard so eat some pancakes
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Posted Thu, 02/02/2012 - 06:22
each set is 20 rep?for example for the 45 degree leg press is 20 reps? each set will be 20 reps?OR i will divide the 20 reps for 2 sets? im confused..tnx
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 16:35
Hi, I was wondering about how much weight to use. Should I be using about 60% of my max or more? Also, I have a butt, hips, and thighs workout that I use pretty regularly because those are my target areas. Would it be a bad idea to do that routine on my off days? This workout looks great, but it doesn't seem to have a lot of lower body. Thanks!
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 18:10
Use as much weight as you can for a given rep range, and try to increase that weight when possible.
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 17:30
Danny O
so i do 20reps then pause 2minutes. i always thought i had to wait for 15 seconds. no wonder i aint buff :P
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Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 14:42
Two questions: 1 -- I have been doing a Spin class for 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, followed by about an hour of lifting. If I go that route, do you think I should back off on the leg exercises at all? 2 -- I assume the intent is to do all of the sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. Do you have any opinion about doing one set of each exercise, and then restarting at the beginning, ultimately doing everything but allowing the "rest period" for one muscle group to be the work period for the next? Thanks!
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 17:27
In a perfect world you should lift first. It will help you tone - retain muscle. Regarding how you do the workout - either way is fine as long as you are pushing for more reps/weight on every set.
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Posted Fri, 05/28/2010 - 23:06
Approximately how long should you follow this routine before beginning a low rep high weight lifting program?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/31/2010 - 09:45
That really depends on your goals. I don't recommend staying on pure high reps for too long if your goal is muscle and strength. I would probably recommend suing this program for 4 weeks or so.
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Posted Thu, 06/17/2010 - 17:24
i would probably recommend program for big mascles. I play 3day and 1 off
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Posted Fri, 04/13/2012 - 04:07
BLR Beauty
Need to loose 40 kgs real quick.....HELP....don’t eat much, do yoga & some gym.....no weightloss at all....did the cabbage soup diet...lost 5kgs....but gained it all back.........am 52yrs old.....had surgical hystrenocmy.....help
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Posted Sun, 12/23/2012 - 22:41
You hAVE to eat. If you cut your calories too low, your body will go into starvation mode, which leads to it hanging onto fat and breaking down muscle. Stick to clean foods- whole grains, lots of produce, quality meats, lots of water. Eat some protein with every meal and include healthy fats (olive oil, cocunut oil, salmon, etc).
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Posted Mon, 05/31/2010 - 16:13
80% to achieving your goals is diet and only 20% is actually exercise!!! diet is the most important...obviously with a good workout routine...
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Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 20:33
I would like to know about dieting while trying to tone. I am currently on a diet that consists of 1500 calories, no more than 75 carbs, less than 60 grams of fat, and at least 120 grams of protein. Should I up the protein intake while trying to tone? or is 120 grams daily enough?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 09:11
Anything below 1800 daily calories is generally a danger zone for males. You run the risk of "bounce back" weight gain when you stop your cut. Regarding protein, eat at least 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours.
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Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 21:12
What is the caloric danger zone for females? And, how much protein should women consume? What type of protein supplement is better?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 10:39
I have 1200 calories presented as an absolute bare minimum for women. Anything below that is dangerously low. 1500 to 1800 would be healthier. Women need about 20 to 30 grams every 2.5 to 3 hours to help maximize toning (muscle retention). Whey protein is generally considered the best protein. It is by far the most popular, and comes in a near endless amount of flavors: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/store/category/protein/whey-protein.html
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Posted Sat, 02/05/2011 - 23:14
okay so i was told by people at the gym to cut down on protein bars. they had to much carbs and sugars i was literally leaving the gym ( at night) and eating pure protein on the way home. i thought it was okay for me , but then i started to gain stomach fat and i am none to happy about that. what is the perfect food to eat after the gym what should i eat before i go to the gym for a small snack whats the deal i run do cardio until exhaustion, i run 3-5 miles a day 3-6 days a week ( i work out 6 days a week) i do body parts like back biceps/ chest triceps /shoulders and legs i don't understand what im doing wrong i am lifting light weight lots of reps trying to tone with 1 to 2 days 15 reps but building weight ( up to 45 lbs ) for cardio i try to run then on other days i have started to vary between elliptical arc uphill treadmill etc. i read to eat first thing in the a.m. / to do cardio first thing in the am on a empty stomach i'm confused my diet consist of celery with peanut butter apple banana special k with strawberries and 2 % milk progress o veggie soups with crackers lots of water and i was doing multiple protein bars a day ( easy fast and easy to carry) egg beater omelet with brocolli spinach tomatoes red peppers mushrooms spices and a little bit of parm chz mostly egg whites IN THE OMELET sweet potatoes as a side for dinner if i have dinner baked chix/veggies/potato or rice and boiled eggs i try to eat 5 times per day but i am not always sucessfull i am 120 lbs i do not know my body fat percentage i am 5'3 i can wear a small but i am starting to get muffin top and i know it may sound vein but i want to gain muscle get ripped and loose the fat! hence the diet and exercise LOOK PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER MY QUESTION UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT IVE READ BOOKS, MY MOTHER WAS A LIFTER, AFTER THE PEOPLE ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS AT THE GYM NOW IM JUST CONFUSED AND TRYING NOT TO GET HURT OR GAIN WEIGHT I USE TO BE HEAVY! THANK YOU please please stear me in the right direction!!!!!
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Posted Thu, 03/24/2011 - 15:14
hey roxanne! i actually have the same issue as you. i keep hearing different things from different people and am so confused. right after the gym, i usually drink a protein shake. it is true, the bars have more sugar and more fattening and better if consumed during the day. before your workout, try eating an apple w/PB or bread with PB for the carbs to give you energy. your diet is the most important thing and make sure you are taking appropriate amount of calories. I would suggest 3-4 x's a week of cardio, interchanging the exercise you do. your body will get used to you doing the same form of cardio so try switching it up everyday. if u want to gain muscle, stick to 6-8 reps for each exercise you do! Nicole
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Posted Sun, 04/17/2011 - 09:02
To much sugar in your diet- i.e. the apple and the bannana and also the special k. its advertised as low fat but the sugar content is massive. plus ur having strawberries with it. 2 pieces of fruit max a day and more veg! plus try and have some nuts or something hih in protein whenever u have ur carbs. is for your training the reps and weight really arnt the main issue- ur cardio needs to be really high intensity intervals, 3 times per week with some longer duration once or twice.
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Posted Mon, 10/31/2011 - 18:21
you should not eat any fiber before working out, including apples, which contain fiber. it use precious energy that you should be using to workout
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Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 13:41
how exactly can i throw in cardio for this workout, can i do the cardio on the non training days? or what?
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 06/05/2010 - 09:46
You can do cardio 3 to 5 times a week, first thing in the morning or post-workout. You can perform cardio on non-training days if it is convenient.
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Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 13:45
is there really any difference whether or not i do cardio before or post-work?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 14:05
It is better to do cardio after resistance training. You want 100% of your energy available for resistance training.
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Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 15:09
I would like to know, what level you would categorize this program under? I've been lifting for a bit longer then a year, and I've been considering to 'cut' for the summer you know, is this effective for beginners just as well as experienced? and also, do I take each exercise seperate? or can I switch, while taking pause on the one before?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 17:22
This is an intermediate level workout. With your training experience it would be perfect for you. I would perform all the sets for one exercise at a time.
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Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 16:55
ivan francisco
what program you recommend for me? i dont want to be bulk, i just want to be tone but i just have a barbell and dumbells here at home.. thnx
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 17:24
There are several great workouts on the site for barbells and dumbbells. Check out this link: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/home.html