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Legs (again)

January 28, 2010

Many women don’t train legs effectively. They do cardio and figure “that’s enough.” Or maybe they do cardio, then hit the inner/outer thigh machines before they head home.

But a good leg workout stimulates the muscles from your glutes down through your calves and shins. Combined with a proper diet, effective leg workouts can:

  • tighten up your butt and hip area
  • tighten and “tone” your thighs
  • firm your calves 
  • help burn more calories than most other workouts

After a couple months of eating right and working your legs, you may be able to buy a size smaller jeans! 

PLUS, an intense, focused (not gab-infused) leg workout stimulates the production of human growth hormone, which is a hormone that helps you get (or stay) lean!

TIPS

  • When training legs, take care to hit both the quadriceps (front of your thighs) and hamstrings (back of your thighs) equally so you don’t develop muscle imbalances. 
  • If you’ve got fleshy calves, don’t shy away from training them. I’ve found it only makes my calves look firmer and sleeker–and much prettier in a short skirt!

Here’s my leg workout from Tuesday.

Warm-up:

  • Bodyweight squats – 15 reps
  • Bodyweight squats plus holding a 10 lb plate to my chest – 15 reps

Front Squats on the Smith Machine – 4 sets

Wide-Stance Stiff-Leg Deadlifts superset with Close-Stance Good Mornings – 3 sets

Machine (Precor) Leg Press – 3 sets

DB Sumo Squats (pictured below) – 3 sets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simultaneous Calf Presses (on leg press machine) – 4 sets

Single-Leg Calf Raises (unweighted) – 3 sets

 

The Cardio-After-Legs Conundrum

These days, I’m not doing cardio after legs.  But you can. In fact, an easy walk on the treadmill is thought to flush lactic acid out of the muscles, helping to ease post-workout muscle soreness so you recover faster.

A more vigorous cardio session is up to you. I used to do it. Can’t handle it at the moment and I’m not sure it’s advisable–or necessary! Especially for women over 50 who may not have the recovery ability they once had.

Ah, sweet rewards!

After my workout, I went home and had a scoop of whey protein in water, plus a slice of what I call “man toast,” lol. (That’s French Meadow Bakery’s “Men’s Bread,” toasted with a little almond butter and Sarabeth’s Blood Orange Marmalade. It’s a quick and easy combo of protein and carbs, plus some healthy fat.

I love the crunchiness and “seediness” in this bread, which is certified “low glycemic” by the Glycemic Institute, so I don’t get much of a blood sugar spike–always good.

I’m also devoted to this thick, fruity marmalade, which contains only 5 grams of sugar in a tablespoon. When you start reading labels on all these jams and jellies, that’s not a bad deal!

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