Before I get to demonstrating the workout, I wanted to clear up two important misnomers about leg exercises:
MISNOMER #1: Squats Are Bad For Your Knees. Squats done IMPROPERLY can be bad for your knees. Unless you have a knee injury or structural issue, squats should not cause pain or damage to the knee joint if done properly. The key is alignment: the knees should always be behind the toes. As you lower into your squat position, you need to keep the majority of your weight in your heels (you should even be able to wiggle your toes) and STICK YOUR BUTT OUT.
CORRECT ALIGNMENT INCORRECT ALIGNMENT
MISNOMER #2: Working inner and outer thighs will reduce fat on the thighs and make them slimmer. AARGHHHHH!!! This is one gets me fired up. Unless you are planning on cracking nuts between your legs, there is no reason why you should be working inner and outer thighs. First of all, it is physiologically impossible to spot reduce – you cannot burn fat off an area of the body by doing resistance or toning exercises for that are. Read one of my previous posts addressing spot reduction here.
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL WORKOUT
Always do a warm-up of cardiovascular activity OR a set of 15 repetitions using a very light weight for each muscle group before doing your intense resistance training.
Perform 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, doing 1-2 sets with no more than 60 seconds of rest between each set.
Make sure you are using a challenging weight or body position. Your last 2 repetitions should be extremely challenging to complete with good form.
Work each muscle group 2 times per week.
Do not work a single muscle group two consecutive days in a row. Allow 1-3 days of recovery.
ALWAYS stretch at the end of every workout.
SQUAT ROLLDOWNS: Begin in a standing position and place the exercise ball behind your low back, between you and a wall. Step your feet forward and keep them hip width apart. Keeping the abdominals engaged, roll down the ball lowering your hips closer to the floor. Try to get the legs to a 90 degree angle and be sure the knees are behind the toes. Press yourself back up and give the legs a strong squeeze at the top. For more resistance you can hold dumbbells in your hands.
LUNGES AROUND THE WORLD: This is a 9-step series of lunges – you’ll do 10-12 on the right side and then 10-12 on the left.
- 1. Step your right foot directly forward into a lunge position and then press back to stand.
- 2. Step your right foot forward at a 45 degree angle to the front and then press back to stand.
- 3. Step your right foot directly out to the side for a squat and then press back to stand.
- 4. Step your right foot back into a rear lunge at a 315-degree angle and then press back to stand.
- 5. Step your right foot directly behind you for a lunge to the back and then press back up to stand.
- 6. Step your right foot back into a rear lunge at a 315-degree angle and then press back to stand.
- 7. Step your right foot directly out to the side for a squat and then press back to stand.
- 8. Step your right foot forward at a 45 degree angle to the front and then press back to stand.
- 9. Step your right foot directly forward into a lunge position and then press back to stand.
HAMSTRING CURLS ON THE BALL: Lie on your back, place the ball under your heels and lift your hips. Bring the feet toward your hips and then roll back out.
CHAIR LUNGES: You will spend a good amount of time in your “air chair” for this exercise. Begin in a squat position. Continue to maintain your squat while stepping the right leg back into a lunge. Bring the right leg back into the squat position and then immediately step back into the lunge again. Repeat 8-12 times on the right leg before moving on to the left leg.
STEP ON THE CEILING: Lie on your stomach with knees bent, feet flat. Engage your glutes and lift your thighs off the floor.