The Best Leg Workouts For Women To Get Slim & Toned Legs Without Making Them Big & Bulky
For most guys, we want broad shoulders, defined arms and full pecs. Women, on the other hand, tend to focus more attention on their hips, legs and thighs. The best leg workouts for women to get lean legs that look firm and toned (while not being big and bulky) need to be structured and setup differently than the way most guys lift.
Often I’ll hear someone trying to say that a woman can lift weights like a man but get totally different results. I agree, our bodies are different, but they are not that different.
In my opinion, the best leg workouts (for women) are not ones that concentrate on putting on size or adding a ton of muscle. They should concentrate on the shape and tone of the muscle.
The common advice given to women is that they won’t gain muscle like a man will because they don’t have the same amount of testosterone.
True, but not true…
Men have more testosterone. However, when a woman works out her legs they can get larger. Women can build muscle!
This doesn’t mean that all leg workouts for women are going to make your legs bigger and/or bulkier though.
While having a decent amount of muscle is a good thing, having too much muscle and bulky man-legs is not. A woman’s body should look quite a bit different than a man’s and there is no exception when it comes to her legs.
The Best Leg Workouts For Women
In order to get slim and toned legs you’ve got to work your muscles accordingly.
I’ve found that the best way to get a muscle to tone up without increasing it’s size is by doing strength training. I know that this may sound bizarre at first, but let me explain.
As I’ve talked about in one of my posts on how to get good muscle definition, the theory that lifting high reps and light weight will make you toned is not true.
Lifting with high repetitions creates a pump in your muscles. You should not train for the pump if you want small, toned and hard muscles. So while you may be used to thinking the burn or pump is a good thing … it’s not if you don’t want your muscle to look larger.
Training for the pump brings on muscle growth known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which means that you are filling your muscles with fluid (sarcoplasm).
This fluid makes your muscles large and soft looking. Instead, leg workouts for women should aim to increase the strength of the actual muscle fibers which will give your legs a harder look … without drastically increasing the size of the muscle.
Weight Lifting Leg Workouts
Since doing high reps with light weights creates an increase in the sarcoplasmic fluid, you’ll want to avoid this type of training.
The usual 3 sets of 10 reps is not what you should be doing. That’s not a strength training workout.
Here’s what a strength training workout looks like: Pick your favorite leg exercises from the list and do 4 sets of 3-5 reps.
Pick a weight that you can do 5-7 times but stop at 3-7 reps … stopping 1-2 reps short of failure. You never want to fail on a lift.
This may feel much different than what you’re used to, but this is probably the best approach to getting toned legs instead of big and bulky legs.
In addition to the amount of reps you do, you’ll want to perform the reps differently as well. Make sure to go nice and slow and to rest for 1-2 minutes between each set.
You do not want to fatigue your muscles as this promotes growth.
Cardio Leg Workouts
Many of the same principles apply even while doing cardio. Whenever I am really trying to lean out I eventually end up on the stationary bike. For me this is fine but I do notice that my legs fill up and this exercise gives me the “pump” much more so than the treadmill.
If you’re main focus is to create slim and toned legs I’d recommend not using the stationary bike for the majority of your cardio.
In addition to the exercise machine that you do your leg workouts on, you’ll also want to focus on the type of cardio.
Most of the time I suggest HIIT over more traditional types of cardio. You can really super charge the fat burning process by doing high intensity interval training workouts but that doesn’t mean that they are the only workout you should do.
Traditional cardio does have it’s place. In fact, when it comes to decreasing the overall size of your legs, there are some tricks that you can do to lose some leg muscle.
This may seem like a crazy idea but it’s actually quite effective if you have an overdeveloped muscle group — even less crazy for women who usually don’t want to be big in the first place.
The basic idea is that you should do long bouts of cardio much like an endurance trainer would do. Ever notice how marathon runners are usually quite skinny and don’t have much muscle mass? Train like them and you can really start to slim down.
For more info on that, checkout my Visual Impact for Women review — it’s an entire blueprint which focuses not only the best leg workouts for women but also all of the other aspects to creating the “slim, feminine physique.” He’s even got an entire chapter devoted to losing muscle so you can get smaller.
Here’s a video presentation on Rusty’s approach and view towards what a woman’s workout should look like and how women should train differently than men to get the results that most women are after.