By 8-Time Ms. Fitness Olympia Adela Garcia
A Figure competitor who has the typical body frame of a woman – she has a very lean upper body but tends to hold more muscle and weight in her lower body – wanted to know the best way to bring her legs down and shape them. If you have a hard time bringing your legs into shape, you first must analyze your training program. If it isn’t working, it is time to change it up. Whenever a lady who needs to bring her legs down comes to me, I first ask her how much running she is doing. Running is a great way to bring your legs down, especially long-distance running. I will usually recommend that my clients start off running three to four miles, six times a week first thing in the morning. I will continue to monitor the progress of the client and add more mileage or an incline if I feel that they need it.
Typically, traditional weight training is not the best way to shape the legs, but I like to incorporate a lot of plyometrics in their program. I will steer away from the mass builders and focus more on high-repetition walking lunges and utilize supersets with plyos. High-repetition box jumps are another training modality that I will include in the training program. Below I have outlined a great leg-shaping workout to try.
Walking Lunges – 4 x 30, each leg
1¼ Squats – 4 x 20
Stationary Dumbbell Step-Ups – 4 x 20, each leg (emphasis on glutes)
Leg Curls – 4 x 15
Leg Presses (feet high) – 5 x 30
Pop Squats – 5 x 25
Reverse Hyperextensions – 4 x 20 (hold for a second at top)
Jump Lunges – 4 x 25
Single-Leg Glute Bridges – 100 repetitions, each leg
Cardio: High-Intensity vs. Low-Intensity
Q: What intensity level is best when it comes to cardio?
A: With my years of experience, I believe in getting not only your body conditioned, but also your heart. There are so many variations to do cardio these days that it becomes really confusing at times. I believe it comes down to what you are trying to achieve. Everyone responds differently; some athletes have a fast metabolism, so high-intensity cardio might be a bit too much for them. If you are short on time and want to burn some good calories, high-intensity cardio can be beneficial to you. If you think about it, 30 minutes of cardio on high intensity is going to burn the same amount or more calories as walking on a treadmill at 2.5 on a 10 incline. I love taking my cardio to a different level where I can incorporate plyometrics to burn more calories. One of my favorite high-intensity cardio workouts is running two miles on the track and finishing with 20 minutes of non-stop bleachers. You are using every single muscle in your body when you are running and perhaps burning more calories.
Walking Lunges: Keep It Simple
Q: What do you think about doing walking lunges on a treadmill at a high incline?
A: I love doing walking lunges, and I just don’t feel you get the same benefits as when you do them on a regular surface. I see people lunging on the treadmill on an incline, but I ask myself the purpose of this. Maybe I am a little bit old school, but there is nothing like taking two 10-pound dumbbells and putting your headphones on and getting going. Do 10-15 minutes of walking lunges nonstop and tell me how your legs and lungs feel after. In my opinion, it is going to be more beneficial overall than trying not to fall off a treadmill. Remember to keep it simple, my friends.