Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Tone and Strength


Tone vs Strength

Many individuals still don’t know how to discern tone from strength when talking about the muscle. Most of the time, how they perceive the term muscle tone is exactly the same as how they come to understand muscle strength. However, this should not be the case because there are very clear distinctions between the two.

The real muscle tone pertains to the muscle’s innate ability to react to a certain degree of stretch. Consider this normal muscle tone scenario ‘“ when you happen to meet a preschool child with his elbow flexed then you immediately straighten his arms without him realizing a thing; the expected result is that his biceps will show some mild form of contraction as an automated response. This is actually part of the body’s normal defense mechanism so as to prevent injury. When the body detects, with the help of the brain, that there is no longer any threat to the muscles especially when the stimulus was already taken away then the bicep will relax and go back to its ordinary resting condition.

In the medical realm, there are many terms that relate to muscle tone. Some of these are hypotonic, hypertonic, spastic and flaccid muscle tones. In the case of a spastic muscle tone for example, the subject’s muscles become hyper reactive to any stimulus like the ones mentioned above. When the child’s arm will be stretched, the biceps will abnormally tighten very rapidly and do not give any chance for itself to relax or recover from strain. Hence, the muscles become stiff for a prolonged period of time.

Those people who are characterized as having a poor muscle tone often exhibits slow or no muscle contractions at all. Whenever a stimulus has been initiated like the stretching and flexing of the arms, the muscle of this person cannot sustain an effective contraction as what is normally seen in other people. They become ‘floppy’ and will also have some postural problems in the end.

Muscle tone is evident at an unconscious level. Even if a fat person is dubbed as less toned than a person having a lean body, the former still has the capacity to be as toned as the latter. On the other hand, muscle strength ideally happens at a more conscious level like when you forcefully contract your muscles to be able to hold, lift, pull, and do other physical exertions.

Muscle strength is therefore a component of physical fitness that is described as the effect of the communication between the nerves and the muscles in the form of a contraction. This contraction is able to create a certain amount of force that people regard as one’s strength. Usually, this force will be created when there is a resistance like in carrying heavy objects. The objects will serve as the resistance while the person exerts force to be able to carry the said load.


1. Muscle tone is the muscle’s innate ability to react to a certain degree of stretch.
2. Muscle tone is a more unconscious component compared to the more conscious or voluntary muscle strength.

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