Squatting & deadlifting are the king leg exercises, We should all use them.
Fat accumulation around the thighs are what most women have trouble diminishing. It’s not easy for some of us, especially those with hormonal issues. In light of this, there are some particular exercises which help, though the key factor in shaping the legs is most definitely weight training. Hands down, this is what will get you results. Don’t forget the importance of nutrition within this mix. It’s your key weight loss tool.
Top 5 exercises for leaner legs
The reason why I’ve chosen these exercises is because they are multi-lifts, and they promote the recruitment of the largest muscle structure we have. Basically you are getting the fat burning, strength & muscle building effects in these exercises. These exercises also help with stability, running and jumping.
- Barbell squats
- Dumbbell lunges
- Step ups
Here is an explanation of how to perform these exercises in order to get the maximum benefits.
Barbell Squats. In order for squats to have the most profound effect on your glutes and legs, you must squat low. You have to go down so low that your hamstring covers the area of your calf (arse to grass!). This will improve your balance, flexibility and sprint strength. There is also the wining factor of maximising the musculature structure of the hamstrings and quads, for a nicer definition. I know these kinds of squats do not allow for a large plate load, but the whole concept around this is to build slowly and surely, the correct way.
Dumbbell Lunges. There are several alternatives to this, and to start off, make sure your back leg almost touches the floor as you lunge. Advance to holding a dumbbell in each hand. Aim to do these slowly at first, but you can increase the intensity by speeding it up. Watch your form! Squeeze the glutes on the way down to really activate them. This exercise shapes the whole legs, abs and arms.
Deadlifts (the king exercise). Deadlifts pretty much hit every angle of the leg (calves, hamstrings, glutes and lower back) as well as the quads and abs. Hex bars are great (I use them all the time) as they force you to use the correct form throughout the whole movement. Also spend some time tackling single deadlifts to really get into the glutes and hamstring.
Step ups. Another fantastic exercise. These can be done with a very high step if you are in the advanced, or a small one to start off with as a beginner. Getting your balance is right for this, so start off without any weights. Advance to having a dumbbell in each hand. Step up onto the bench, without allowing your back leg to touch anything until you get back onto the floor. Spend as much time getting used to this exercise and finding your balance.
Special bonus tip on leaning the legs:
Interval sprints on the treadmill. These do wonders for leaning the legs. It’s very HIIT but focusing on the treadmill. You can also increase the intensity by elevating the angle. Sprint to your maximum capacity for 20–30 seconds, then rest for 60 seconds. Repeat for 20–30 minutes only. Your rate of exertion (when you sprint) needs to be the most maximum you can do and able to breath. It is very intense, but worth the effort and you will really see some fantastic results. Do not attempt sprints after leg day, you won’t have the energy for it. Aim on a day you aren’t training.
Try the sled. Using the sled is another little secret! I love this because you can push the sled on your toes, sprint with it or basically do squats, push ups and lunges with it. Have a look at some great tips on youtube for exercises you can implement within your leg program.
I absolutely guarantee you will get results when using the exercises outlined above. Keep in mind that nutrition is key, and you will get the best results when you combine proper food with the right training, Let me know if you need any more advice as I’m quite experienced in leg development.