women athletic legs

How Women Can Develop Athletic Legs

Women often differ from men when training for aesthetics. Instead of fixating on the bench press, women often gravitate towards developing athletic legs. The good news is that it’s possible to develop strong, athletic legs without spending countless hours training.

Take A Balanced Approach

To get on the fast track to stronger, leaner legs, you have to know what works and what doesn’t. One of the issues with many leg workouts designed for women is there is an overemphasis on the quads, little work for the hamstrings, and no work for the calves. For complete development, you need to have a more balanced approach to your training.

It’s also important to determine which lower body muscles are lagging, and prioritize those areas in your training. The goal is to achieve balanced leg development, not to see how many plates you can slap on a leg press.

Although there are generally-accepted guidelines for prescribing reps and sets in a workout to achieve a specific goal, there are differences between the sexes that should be taken into account when designing workouts. Because women have more estrogen and less testosterone, they are generally able to perform more work with less rest than men. From a practical perspective, this means that it's better to let the repetitions determine the weights you use, rather than relying on percentage-based formulas. For example, if you are training in a rep range of 10 to 12, you should use a weight that you can lift for at least 10 reps. Once you can do 13 reps, increase your weights.

Leg Training For Women

Here are two challenging leg workouts that can help women build athletic legs. Do the first workout 3 times a week for 3 weeks and then progress to the second program. The second program varies exercises over 2 days and can be done 4 days a week.

Workout 1, 3x Week for 3 Weeks

A1. Heels-Elevated Back Squat, 3 x 8-10, 4010, rest 10 seconds
A2. Dumbbell Lunge, 3 x 8-10 reps per leg, 20X0, rest 10 seconds
A3. Romanian Deadlift, 3 x 8-10, 3010, rest 180 seconds

B1. Lying Leg Curl, Feet Inward, 3 x 6-8, 4010, rest 30 seconds
B2. Back Extension, 3 x 12-15, 2010, rest 60 seconds

C1. Lying Leg Curl, Feet Outward, 3 x 6-8, 4010, rest 30 seconds
C2. Standing Calf Raise, 3 x 12-15, 2111, rest 60 seconds

Workout 2, 4x Week for 3 weeks
Day 1

A. Front Squat, 4 x 3-5, 40X1, rest 180 seconds

B1. Dumbbell Step-up, 3 x 6-8, 20X0, rest 30 seconds
B2. Lying Leg Curl, Feet Outward, 3 x 4-6, 4010, rest 180 seconds

C1. Reverse Hyper, 3 x 8-10, 20X1, rest 30 seconds
C2. Seated Calf Raise, 3 x 20-25, 2111, rest 60 seconds

Day 2

A. Hex Bar Deadlifts, 4 x 4-6, 4020, rest 180 seconds

B1. Dumbbell Split Squat, 4 x 6-8, 30X0, rest 30 seconds
B2. Seated Leg Curl, Feet Neutral, 4 x 4-6, rest 60 seconds

C1. Single-Leg, Romanian Deadlift, 3 x 4-6, rest 30 seconds
C2. Standing Calf Raise, Feet Neutral, 2111, 3 x 10-12, rest 60 seconds

Final Words

Athletes develop amazing legs from years of hard practice in their chosen sport. Women can take the express route to achieve the athletic legs you want by hitting the gym and practicing sound, balanced workouts.


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