I was asked this during my Lifting Seminar last week, however this is a very, very common question. “Toned” has become a popular look that people would like to obtain. First of all “toned” like “bulky” or “ripped” is a slang word to describe a look, so depending on your definition it may mean different things.
“Toned” I believe is a look similar to the parts of the body appearing “tight” with a slightly muscular appearance. There should be no jiggling, shaking, bouncing. Sound like your definition?
To achieve my described look we really just need to have small amounts of body fat covering lean muscle mass. There are no tricks to it. There is nothing specifically that we would do to look “toned”. There is no repetition range that is necessarily more ideal than another or exercises that will work better than others. It simply depends on 2 things; how much muscle you have and how much body fat you have covering that muscle. All procedures to achieve those two things will eventually get you “toned”.
I know a lot of people believe that high repetitions will make you “toned”. This is not true. That will just condition the muscle’s endurance. All forms of weight training and repetition amounts can help you become “toned”. I would consider “toned” a level of lean-ness.
My advice would be to concentrate on the body fat which covers the muscle while maintaining a weight training program that stresses the muscle adequately which will then make the skin tighter and give the appearance of being “toned”.