Leg Workouts For Women

Legs... A girl's worst nightmare when it comes to conditioning, size and shape while preparing for a competition. They're always too small, too big, too soft, too SOMETHING, and never the right anything. I've struggled with my lower body for as long as I can remember. My problem has always been too much thickness in my lower body muscle, and not enough conditioning. After trying many different types of training, from jumping up and down from boxes, to lunging my way across the expanse of whatever gym I'm in, I've found something that works for me. In the following paragraphs, I'm going to share it with you!
Author: Jennifer Searles - IFBB Pro Figure competitor. For Models Observer
July 2007

Since I have a good deal of size to my lower body already, I avoid training very heavily in the off-season. My goal is to keep a nice shape to my legs, and not gain any more density or size. In order to achieve this, I train my legs 2x/week, and never go below 15 reps. I perform 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps of each movement, and take 30-60 seconds rest in between.

Not only are my muscles burning, but I'm keeping my metabolism and heart rate up, thus creating a perfect fat burning environment. I like to vary the exercises from time to time, maybe including one different movement each week, but find that the basic lower body exercises such as the leg press, squat, and lunge are really the ones that work the best.

Whenever I begin training for my competitive season, I like to include one heavy training day into my routine each week. This helps me to retain my musculature while dieting.

When calories are being cut, and cardio is being increased in an effort to shed fat, you also run the risk of shedding muscle at the same time. By increasing your lifting weight, you give your body an environment conducive to holding onto lean mass. During this workout, I perform 10-12 reps for 3 sets of each exercise. The second leg workout of the week is a lighter, higher rep workout. In this workout I do the same exercises as the heavy day, but I lessen the weight to a degree that allows me to perform 20-25 repetitions. I find that by keeping one high rep workout per week, I'm able to retain a longer more streamlined shape to my legs. When I train heavily too often, my legs and glutes become very thick. The workout shown here is the exact routine I use when preparing during my competitive season. It's basic, but it works!

Some things to remember when training your legs (or any body part) are to keep your focus on the muscles that you're targeting. It's very easy to have another body part take up the slack when the primary muscle being worked fatigues. Also, diet is a huge part of what makes our lower half shine. Women tend to hold onto a great deal of body fat in the hips and thighs as a result of our naturally higher levels of estrogen.
It's very important to make sure we aren't taking in more calories than we are able to burn in a day. Small meals every few hours with the proper ratios of macronutrients will keep the metabolism high, and will provide the necessary fuel needed to make our bodies run efficiently and keep the fat at bay. Lastly, cardio is a key factor in keeping fat levels low. Every body is different, and requires different amounts of cardiovascular exercise. Find what works and stick to it. I am very cardio dependent and do 60 minutes per day in order to maintain a lean physique (more when I'm in show mode!)

Remember to eat clean and train hard, and the luscious legs you've longed for will be yours!

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