I find it amusing that Cat sent me this article on exercises to reduce bulky legs because I can relate to it very closely. (I mean, she is pretty amazing, but how did she know that was one of my struggles?)
I always noticed that when I start strength training more, my legs get so much bigger. I’m not complaining really; that’s simple genes for you! Some women just grow muscle more readily in certain areas.
While we can’t do anything to change our genes..we can do something to try to fit into our jeans a little better! (see what I did there?) Again, not complaining; I love my body, but fitting into jeans that I only bought a couple of years ago would be nice.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t workout in order to get bigger muscles. I workout for overall health and fitness. Strength training twice per week is recommended for overall fitness and helps women prevent things such as bone density deterioration and the loss of muscle mass.
The thing is, there are many different ways to strength train! I am very interested to see if doing these specific exercises to reduce bulky legs will help me fit into my jeans more comfortably.
3 Exercises to Reduce Bulky Legs
If you’re tired of being slim everywhere else on your body but bulky in the leg department, it’s time to mix up your workouts and transform your muscles into a longer and leaner version of themselves.
Reducing muscle mass in thighs may sound counterproductive to some people but for many women, especially former athletes, it’s the one area of their body that they wish they could change. Check out my top workouts to reduce inches around your thighs and get the bikini body you’ve always wanted.
1. Boot Camp Workouts
The 30-day squat challenge is trending right now for a reason. Strength training is an important part of changing muscle shape in legs. Controlled resistance training increases lean muscle mass, reduces fat accumulation and cellulite plus boosts insulin sensitivity. This means that you’ll burn more calories. Mix up your training with leg loving lunges, calf raises, reverse lunges or release your inner skater with lateral skate lunges.
- Squats: start with legs just a little wider than shoulder width. Bend down slightly below your knees, putting weight on heels and hands in front. Move hands downwards to help you to get up and transfer weight to your toes.
- Skate Lunges: Jump or step to your right, onto your right leg (which is bent). Place left leg behind and as far right as possible. Stand up and do the same thing on the opposite side.
Do 10 Skater Lunges on each leg, then 20 squats. Repeat 3 sets.
The Pilates system is about stretching and strengthening exercises to improve muscular tone, flexibility and posture. According to Go ask Alice! (Columbia University’s health Q and A), Pilates is great for losing thigh bulk if you have minimal body fat looking to drop a jean size, or are on the slimmer side looking to tone and strengthen without bulking up.
3. HIIT Workouts
High intensity interval training includes fast paced training through workouts such as sprinting, plyometrics (e.g. box jumping, high knees, tuck jumps), spinning and anything that elevates the heart rate into the anaerobic threshold for 30 to 90 seconds. This is then followed by a rest period of 10 seconds to a minute, and repeated up to 10 times, no more than three times per week depending on your fitness levels.
One study put 45 women in their early twenties through their paces for 15 weeks, divided into two groups of activity – slow cardio (running, biking, hiking with their heart rate at a lower pace) and HIIT. High intensity interval training came out the winner, showing significant loss in total body fat and leg fat as compared to the group assigned with slow steady exercise.
This leg bulk reducing program should include workouts with boot camp style training and intervals three times per week, and perhaps two sessions of Pilates per week. This, combined with slower workouts (when time permits) is how I transform my former athlete clients into red carpet beauties.
Cat Smiley is the owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations, located in B.C. Canada. She has been named Canada’s top trainer three times by the International Sports Science Association. Her live-in weight loss retreat combines hiking, personal training and outdoor training with gym workouts in a luxury boot camp environment. Buy her book The Planet Friendly Diet, to follow her program in home.
This is the last of my guest posts for the foreseeable future! Get ready for some Blend recaps and a yummy recipe or two!
Do you tend to grow huge muscles? Does it ever affect the way your clothes fit?
What is your favorite leg workout?
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