Long muscles, toning and sculpting are words frequently used when the fitness industry is marketing to women. They are designed to appeal to a female’s perceived desire to achieve certain body types.
What woman doesn’t want long limbs, toned thighs and sculpted shoulders?
Try this beautiful illustration from the new Matt Roberts club in Belgravia,
“activities are worked around dynamic and quality of movement patterns, producing a sculpting, stabilising and lengthening effect on the body.”
Poor English aside, this makes no sense whatsoever.
You cannot lengthen a woman’s body or make a lasting change in the length of her muscles. If you did she would be in hospital and you would be facing legal action.
A person’s length or how long their limbs are is set by their skeleton. Trying to change the length of somebody’s femur (thigh bone) for example would involve surgery.
Providing then that the length of bones are pretty much set from the age of 20, even if it were possible it would seem unwise to lengthen muscles given that they are attached to limbs that do not change in length.
If you did manage to physically lengthen a bicep for example, you would end up with an unstable elbow and an inability to bend your arm as far as you could before. Not great and luckily not possible.
Sculpting and toning.
These two are an attempt to describe the process of building muscle in a way that is acceptable to women.
What sounds better to you?
a) Your triceps will grow in size and strength.
b) Your triceps will become leaner and more toned.
If you are a woman you probably chose b), if you are a man you most likely answered a).
They are however the same thing physiologically speaking. Your body, responding to a stimulus, will promote muscle cell growth. You can call it what you like but it comes down to the same thing, you are building muscle.
The fitness industry attempts to mystify this process with exercise modalities that encourage toning, sculpting and long, lean muscles.
Don’t be fooled, this is bullshit.