Ladies, Rethink Your Leg Workouts

The Debate in Their Heads
 
So many women are conflicted about leg training. They see it as a double-edged sword. This is their line of thinking: 
 
Weight train your lower body and your legs will get "too big." Don't weight train your lower body and your legs will be squishy and weak. 
 
And the dilemma doesn't end there. Women want firmness, not bigness. They want more glute, less quad. They want muscle definition, but not if building it means never being able to find jeans. They want smoothness from hamstring to butt; a flawless, nearly-nonexistent gluteal fold. 
 
Yes, there are females not conflicted about their legs. They know exactly what they want from their workouts and how to get it. If that's you, go enjoy some squats for me.
 
This is for the rest of the women. The ones apprehensive of heavy lower body weight training because it adds size to places that are already sizable. This is for the women who desperately want to define, lift, tighten, and reduce what they’ve already got going on down there. 
 
But the “reducing” part is what trips them up. And it’s bullshit. Let’s talk about it.
 
Cultural Leg Drama  
 
 
Why are so many women afraid to build lower body muscle? 
 
Because thicker legs have gotten the shaft in pop culture. No marketer tries to attract a potential consumer by telling her his product will make her legs look more muscular.
 
No. They sell their products by peddling us the idea that we'll achieve "long-and-lean" looking legs if only we wear these pants, try this diet, or take that Pilates (or whatever fitness) class. 
 
And it's not just advertisers. Hollywood, the fashion industry, and most major female fitness magazines show us that thin legs are sexier. Is it any wonder so many women still resist lower body weight training? 
 
Luckily, the tide is turning.
 
 
3 Things Making Muscular Legs Chic
 
The look of a powerful lower body on a female is becoming commonly celebrated thanks to these:
 
Thing #1. CrossFit. Even if you’re not into it, the byproduct is a culture of fit women walking around with gorgeous quads, and not giving a crap about the size of those quads. 
 
Check out Kara Webb and her gorgeous gams.
 
Thing #2. Fitness photographers. They're a thing now. They didn’t used to be. This is good. It means that the world sees more sexy pictures of women with muscle and their muscular legs. It also means marketers aren't the only people choosing which body type proliferates across the media.
 
 
 
Thing #3. Social media and the athletes who let us into their world. We’re now able to see fit women flaunt what they’ve built because they share it with the public. Their images -- the ones embracing athleticism -- are far more inspiring to the average woman than the hungry models in haute couture ads. 
 
Fitness model, Kelly Dessington featured below.
 
 
Body Balance
 
Trying to decrease the size of your best body parts is self-defeating. If you feel like you're disproportionately buff in a certain area, own it. That's a gift, not a curse. Especially when it comes to legs. 
 
Think about it: Legs and glutes are the lower half of your body. From waist down makes up what, 40-45% of you. If you stop training your lower body entirely (like I've done before) that's a lot of muscle that could be put to work. 
 
That’s a lot of potential to raise your metabolic hormones and turn you into a little furnace. Note that weight training doesn't just benefit the area you're working. Muscle growth is systemic. Building more helps you build more; it helps you burn more fat too. 
 
 
Training your lower body means hypertrophy, fat loss, energy expenditure, and strength. So instead of thinking in terms of reduction, think in terms of proportion.
 
What can you build up to make your legs look more proportional? Glutes. 
 
By switching your focus from trying to shrink legs to trying to grow glutes, you'll maintain your lower body leanness, but complement your built legs with an eye-catching ass.
 
The Flat-Butt Fix
 
 
T-Nation.com published my article called The Flat-Butt Fix, which addresses this very thing. On multiple occasions I've taken my legs from big and built to small, but shapeless, squishy, and weak. 
 
I've finally found my happy place with lower body training. The key was not about trying to change the size of my legs, but instead learning how to use my glutes more efficiently so that they'd grow and outshine my legs. And so far, the strategy is working.  
 
Granted, I'm no glute expert, I just know what works for me. And many other women have struggled with the big-leg, little-butt paradox too. So if you can relate, check it out. 
 
If you can't relate then at least swing by to see some pictures of my favorite butt exercises.