The 5 Most Effective Exercises to Shape and Tone your Legs - New Primal Fitness

The 5 Most Effective Exercises to Shape and Tone your Legs

Ok so I’m hoping I don’t have to enlighten you about the benefits of strength training, also known as weight or resistance training, especially the benefits of strength training if you are female.

Just in case you didn’t know, here are some of the many benefits

 

  • Lose inches

 

Yup, losing inches is one of the key benefits of strength training, especially when you haven’t been used to doing it in before.

Resistance training will help turn your body into a fat melting furnace, increasing your metabolic rate (more on that later) far longer than a steady 30 minute jog on the treadmill.

 

  • Improved energy

 

Your energy levels will also increase dramatically, as lifting weights improves your blood circulation and your cardio vascular health too. Meaning your body becomes a lot more efficient at doing its vital daily tasks.

 

  • Better sleep

 

An exhilarating day of activity, including weight training not only tires you out, but also encourages your body to fall into a deeper sleep. If you fall into a deeper sleep your body can recover better but you will also wake in the morning feeling more refreshed and you will have more energy throughout the day.

 

  • Decreased stress

 

Regular strength training has been shown to help reduce stress levels in the body, but more importantly from a mental point of view, allows you to cope with stressful situations better. Exercise is a great stress reliever, going into the gym and “switching off” for an hour or so is very beneficial for your mental health.

 

 

  • Increased libido / sex drive

 

Strength training naturally increases the levels of the anabolic hormones testosterone and growth hormone.

Don’t worry that doesn’t mean you are going to start looking like Hulk Hogan.

This is actually a good thing, because your body can use these hormones to improve your performance in the gym, improve your muscle recovery from training and most importantly will help you to burn fat and maintain your muscle tissue. Which should always be your one of your goals with strength training.

You will also feel more confident and sexy as your body changes shape too 😉

 

  • Improved confidence and self empowerment

 

This is a huge one, especially for ladies who have not done any strength training in the past.

The feeling of seeing your strength levels improve and also the confidence to know that you can perform exercises which you never thought possible before is a big motivator.

You start to see changes in your strength levels and at the same time you are losing inches and your shape is changing as well.

This confidence and feeling of empowerment is something that a lot of our members report feeling soon after they start a strength training program with us.

 

  • Increased metabolic rate

As mentioned earlier, strength training increases your metabolic rate during training and also for up to 24 hours after training too.

Your body has to work hard to lower the core temperature after training and it is this extra energy expenditure which helps contribute towards losing body fat.

 

  • Sexy curves

 

Everyone wants sexy curves right?!!

Putting your muscles through the stress of strength training is an essential part of the process. It makes the muscle fibres more firm and also allows your to build up lagging muscles and body parts to create and sculpt a sexy body.

 

 

If I had a £1 for every time a female client told me they don’t want to get “big and bulky” I would probably be on a yacht in the South of France right now

All joking aside

I understand from experience, how the weights section of the gym can seem very intimidating to a lot of women

Especially with all of the myths that surround weight training and the effects on the female body

 

Myths:

  • “Weight training will make me big and bulky”

Actually eating a poor diet and only doing minimal exercise is more likely to make you big and bulky.

When done correctly (key point here ladies) – weight training can be a crucial part of helping a female client get lose body, maintain muscle tissue and also to feel good.

After all, its nice to feel good, right?!

Because your body will pump blood directly to the muscles you are training, there is a temporary feeling of the muscle being more solid and “pumped” but I can assure you that this is only temporary and will pass shortly after a weight training session.

 

 

  • “I am toning, so I will only do high reps instead of heavy weights as I don’t want to build muscle”

Sure it is important to do high reps of certain exercises, but only a part of a well structured strength training program.

To get the best results, you must alternate between exercises doing lower reps with a higher weight and also doing higher reps with a lower weight. This is known as periodisation and is a crucial part of the success of a strength training program.

If your strength training program is not periodised then you are definitely missing a key part mastering your success.

 

  • “I will get injured if I lift heavy weights”

Sorry, but this is not true either. If you lift with the correct technique and try to lift the appropriate weight for your experience level and ability then there is absolutely no reason why you should get an injury.

The problems occur when people either don’t warm up correctly or lift with poor technique. This is a big problem, especially in group training and many women who are new to lifting are not supervised in the correct manner, leading to technique problems and potential injury.

 

Top 5 Exercises to shape and tone your legs:

 

I understand from experience, how the weights section of the gym can seem very intimidating to a lot of women

Ok so as you can see, there are heaps of benefits to using strength training as part of your health and fitness regime.

I often get asked from you ladies out there, about the most effective exercises for shaping and toning legs.

Well, without further ado

Here they are:

N.B (if you have not heard of these exercises, just drop me a line and I will send you video demonstrations so you can perform them correctly on your own)

 

  • Split squat (Bulgarian style)

A great exercise that can be used to good effect by beginners and experienced lifters alike.

Very good for improving hip mobility too as well as strengthening the quads, glutes and hamstrings.

There is less pressure going through the lower back because of the split stance too which is perfect for anyone who might be reluctant to start squatting if they’ve had previous back problems.

 

  • Romanian (aka stiff legged) deadlift

One of my favourite exercises for the posterior chain.

It teaches you to be able to maintain great lower back posture as well as putting good tension through the glutes and hamstrings. Essential if you want to firm up your butt

 

  • Leg Press

Great for beginners who are not used to strength training their legs.

These machines have a controlled movement and are very safe they are also an excellent option for people who struggle to squat but still want to put some heavy load through their legs

 

  • Barbell hip bridge

An essential exercise for shaping and toning the glutes as it isolates this muscle group as much as possible so you can focus on getting a good contraction of the muscles, which is key to improving the tone and also getting that “lift” effect that many of you ladies desire.

 

  • Squat (Back / Front / Goblet)

The godfather of all lower body exercises.

If you want to tone your legs, then squatting will get you there quicker than any other exercise.

Unfortunately this is also one of the more complicated exercises to perform and many people get it wrong. That is why learning the correct technique is essential.

There are many different variations that increase in complexity, so as you learn to become better at the lift then you can progress to a more complex variation of the squat. The main point at all times is to make sure you are using the correct technique.

sporty woman im gym

Key Points to remember:

Strength training for women is a fantastic way to get into shape, and if you combine it with the appropriate level of conditioning then you can really shape and tone your legs super fast.

There are heaps more exercises that you can do to work your legs, the ones I have mentioned are the best in my humble (but always correct) opinion 😉

but the most important thing of all is that whatever exercise you choose, make sure it is one you enjoy, because after all, transforming your body should be an enjoyable experience and exercise should be fun. if you despise all the exercises you do and an hour in the gym feels like absolute torture then find something else that you do enjoy doing.

 

Chris

 

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