We all have a favorite body part to work: abs, legs, back, butt, you name it. And though I am a firm believer in focusing on an all-over approach, I secretly do cartwheels when it is leg day. Now, my trainer may not agree as I often whine and complain throughout the entire workout, but deep down inside, my heart and soul jump in joy. Why do you ask? Why would anyone in their right mind enjoy the pain of endless squats, lunges, leg presses, and so on? Simply said: because of the curves!! What woman doesn’t want a firm butt, sculpted legs, toned hamstrings? I know I do. But I also know that it took me many years to get over the belief that skinny was attractive, that not having a butt was a good thing. I didn’t want too big of legs, too round of a butt, too thick of thighs. After realizing that having curves was a GOOD thing, I changed my mindset. I realized that I DID want to have a rounder figure, a more toned physique – that I wanted my clothes to fit a little better, to show off my hard work just a little more.
So…with time, and feedback from my trainer, we started incorporating more leg day workouts into my routine. Instead of once a week, we started focusing on them two to three times a week. I began implementing timed sets, heavier sets, more complex sets so that we could focus on areas to grow and develop. I also started doing sprints to help tone the muscle even more. And though I hate running, actually DESPISE running, I began to see changes I never thought possible. My legs were leaner, yet firmer, toner yet not bulky. My butt was firmer and rounder, yet not huge as I imagined it would become. My clothes fit better, I no longer just looked skinny but I had curves that I felt comfortable with and now enjoyed. So, what exactly did I start doing in the gym? Well, to begin, I did TONS of squats and lunges, some to the point where I thought my legs would give out. Then I did more. After that, I would do single leg lunges and deadlifts followed by more leg presses. Some sets were timed, some were heavy sets, some were light sets with high repetition. The hour long session would be filled with numerous different leg routines that focused on all aspects of my lower body: butt, thighs, hamstrings, calves, you name it. By the end of the hour I felt great, empowered, strong! It wasn’t until the next day that the soreness set in! But boy was it worth it. Knowing that I was getting stronger, leaner, toner made it all worth it. And when I look at my legs now, all I can do is smile. Gone are the skinny bird legs, the nonexistent butt, the jiggly thighs and in their place is a lower body that I am proud of, one that I continue to work on and improve upon every day. And if you are wanting to do the same, then I am here to cheer you on! Here to listen to you complain about the pain and wanting to quit because I will also be there for you when you don’t and when you’re laughing and smiling in your newly toned physique!
Sample leg day workout: (modify to fit your own needs, strengths, and capabilities…and always check with a doctor before trying anything new)
- Leg extensions: 4 sets for 1 minute a piece (weight heavy enough to tire you but not so much you can’t do the entire minute)
- Leg curls: 4 sets for 1 minute a piece (weight heavy enough to tire you but not so much you can’t do the entire minute)
- Squat jumps: 4 sets x 20 reps
- Single leg lunges: 4 sets x 20 reps each leg
- Straight leg deadlift: 4 sets x 10 reps