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Have fun and sculpt your legs with aggressive resistance training.
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For most women, the lower body is naturally stronger than the upper. This gives women an edge when it comes to training their legs. If you're concerned about getting a set of legs like Schwarzenegger, rest assured. Ladies don't have the hormones necessary to build massive, bulging leg muscles like that. They can, however, sculpt shapely and strong legs with resistance training. Always check with your doctor before starting or changing your exercise program.
Fun With Free Weights
Free weight exercises can provide some of the most intense challenges to your legs. Squats, dead lifts and lunges can make use of free weights. For your free-weight workout, warm up with a brisk walk or jog for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, complete three to five sets, 8 to 12 reps per set, for each of the following exercises: barbell squats, walking dumbbell lunges and barbell dead lifts. Follow the big three with dumbbell bench step-ups.
You can do a ton of leg exercises on machines, but this workout will have you using the most widely-available pieces of equipment as you move from difficult compound movements to targeted, isolation exercises. Warm up for five to 10 minutes on the treadmill. Starting with the leg press, complete three to five sets, 8 to 12 reps per set. Then, move on to the hack squat machine for the same number of reps and sets. Your last three movements, leg extensions, leg curls and seated calf raises, will give your quads, hamstrings and calves dedicated attention. Complete three sets, 8 to 12 reps per set, for each of these.
Jump For It
Traditional resistance training isn't the only way to build impressive leg muscles. The short, explosive movements utilized in plyometric workouts will also stimulate muscle growth. Plyometrics, or jump training, utilizes numbered or timed drills. To push your legs, start with a light warm-up on the treadmill for about five minutes. Begin your plyometric workout with three to five sets of 10 squat jumps. Then complete three sets of six to eight box jumps, tuck jumps and hurdles. Finish your workout with three sprints, 100 to 400 meters, and allow yourself a couple minutes to recover in between.
Always follow proper form and utilize a spotter when engaging in resistance training. If you need assistance, ask a fitness professional for help. Periodically mix up your workouts to prevent training plateaus. Instead of sticking with the hypertrophy range of three to five sets, 8 to 12 reps per set, for every workout, throw in both heavy and light training days once in a while. Regardless of the set and rep range you use, always push enough weight so that the last couple of reps are difficult to complete. However, do not sacrifice form to complete those last reps. Finally, be sure to eat a diet rich in lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole-grain carbohydrates to provide your muscles with nutrients that will support their growth and health.