by Thomas Hawk
We have all seen it before; the long, lean, tan legs that look great in jeans, skirts or swim suits no matter what. Have you ever asked yourself, “What do they do to get those legs?”
Well the answer may be some good genetics, I can guarantee that that is not the only reason they look so good. Training your legs and your entire body takes a lot more work than most people even imagine.
In order to develop a tight lower body figure, you need to make sure you are training the right way. Many people go into the gym and hop on the treadmill or elliptical because they think it is working their legs. This is not quite what you are looking for when it comes to lower body and leg blasting training.
Steady state cardio training will not elicit the metabolic response that your body needs to eventually develop the tight and toned look that everyone wants. Cardio training will get your heart rate up and burn quite a few calories during the workout, but it will not boost your metabolism to the level that will keep torching calories for up to 36 hours after the training session.
In order to efficiently and effectively burn calories (and fat) when you are not working out, you must perform resistance and strength movements. These exercises will use more muscles, will mobilize fat to eventually burn it for energy, and will keep your metabolic rate high even when you are not working out.
Many women avoid strength training altogether because they do not want to look bulky or manly. This transformation will not happen because women lack the high levels of testosterone and other growth hormones that stimulate serious muscle hypertrophy (size).
Strength training for women is very beneficial because it adds lean muscle tissue which gives us a nice toned looking figure, and it also elevates your resting metabolism which burns calories when you are not working out. This helps to keep you in shape and any training that you do will just cause the metabolism to soar through the roof.
When it comes to training your legs and lower body, here are the five best exercises. All of these exercises require stability, use all major muscle groups, and will be much more fun and rewarding than slow, steady cardio training.
1. Squats- back squats, front squats, overhead squats, box squats, single leg squats
2. Lunges- multi directional lunges, walking lunges, bench lunges
3. Step Ups- lateral, forward, with dumbbells or barbells
4. Dead lifts- traditional barbell, sumo, dumbbell, single leg dead lifts
5. Glute/Ham Raises- glute ham bench or Nordic hamstrings with a partner
If you are working out on cardio machines or Nautilus circuit machines, you must change your workout plan. Incorporate multi-joint movements like the ones listed above and you are guaranteed to see changes in your lower body. Pick two of the five and perform anywhere from 3-5 sets depending on your training level. These movements will kick your butt into shape, literally, and will also burn a very high level of calories because of their complex nature.
Not only will you leave your training session feeling great, you will continue to burn those calories for up to 36 hours after the training session.