You’ve done more squats and leg extensions than you can count, but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t firm up your thighs. It might be your geneticsâ€”unfortunately, some of us are just born with more fat cells and fewer muscle cells than Jillian Michaels.But even if that’s the case, don’t kiss the dream of dynamite thighs good-bye. Avoid these 7 common mistakes, and you’ll sculpt some gorgeous curves.
1. You’re being unrealistic
You can’t resize your thighs with just a few workouts. Most people think they can go to the gym for 2 weeks and see all the muscles in their legs,but it doesn’t work like that. If you strength-train your lower body 3 times a week, expect to start seeing changes in about 4 to 6 weeks.
2. Your diet isn’t very thigh-friendly
To really change your body, the first thing you need to attack is your nutrition. Protein, vegetables, fruit, and good fatâ€”if it’s not one of those things, don’t eat it. Protein is vital: It builds muscle while raising metabolism, so you shed fat faster.
3. You’re not doing enough cardio
If you’re training your lower body 3 times a week and still not seeing any definition, add some cardio. Don’t have enough time to exercise that much? Try spinningâ€”the pedaling tones legs while combusting 420 to 780 calories per hour. Another alternative is stair climbing. Walking up any incline spikes heart rate and recruits 25% more muscle fibers than strolling the flats.
4. You’re not doing clockwork lunges
This simple, at-home, no-equipment exercise tones the legs, butt, and thighs, and it’s great for getting rid of cellulite. In fact, the older you get, the more important it is to regularly do moves like this one. As women age, they lose muscle. As that muscle layer becomes thinner, weaker and less firm, the overlying fat layer loses its stable base, and it crinkles and wrinkles. Result: Your thighs pucker up. Do these lunges like clockwork.
5. You’re ignoring the rest of your leg muscles
Most of usâ€”especially walkers, runners, and cyclistsâ€”already have well-developed quadriceps muscles. But to get the slim, sculpted leg look you want, don’t forget the hamstrings and inner thighs. And it’s not just about aesthetics: If you’re not working every muscle equally, you’ll tighten your hip flexors and put yourself at risk for knee injuries. For the hammies, do glute bridges. For the inner thighs, do these two ballet-inspired moves.
6. You’re not using enough weight
To really change your muscles, you’ve got to challenge them. If you’re a strength-training newbie, it’s okay to start off using just your body weight. But as soon as 12 reps no longer feels challenging, increase resistance. For squats and lunges, start with 16 pounds (two 8-pound dumbbells) and increase by 2 pounds each week or whenever it begins feeling easy.
7. You’re doing the wrong kind of exercise
You can’t change your basic body type, but you still have a lot of room for improvement. If you have skinny legs, avoid long-distance running, which breaks down muscle and will make them even more birdlike. Instead, concentrate on weighted step-ups or spinning to build muscle. But if you’ve got short legs, too much heavy weight training can make you look even stockier. Try doing squats and lunges with just your body weight, and to aim for 12 to 18 reps. Cardio will also help. But no matter what your body type, everyone should be strength training.
And there you have it. Your prize: Great thighs.MYNEWSHUB