The most common training requests I get from women are, ‘what do I do to tone my thighs and build a booty?’ I am certainly not surprised by this, as most women hold their fat stores in their lower body. By age 25 women have almost double the amount of fat than men do and this is predominately found in the hips, butt and thighs. Fat is stored in these locations because of hormones which support child bearing and breast feeding. Although we know why the fat is stored in these locations, it doesn’t seem to make it any easier to accept. Hence so many women wondering how to lose the fat.
Fat stored in the thighs and butt can be tough to shift, because as mentioned, we are predisposition to store fat here. As a result, it’s often the last bit to budge. However, whilst we can’t ‘spot reduce’ the fat, there are exercises we can do to strengthen and tone the muscles. I certainly store fat in these areas, but because of my training, my butt at least sits up a bit and my legs are strong.
So here’s a few exercises to get you going:
Sumo squats are a wide stance squat. By widening your stance you are able to target the inner thighs, abductors and the glutes. Don’t forget to put some weight on the bar when you do these, we are growing muscles, which means you need to put them under stress, hence the weights.
Glute bridges are just as they say, to work the glutes. There area few different ways you can complete a glute bridge. The beginners way is to simply lie on your back, bend your knees, with your feet firmly on the ground. With your arms on the ground, drive through your heels and upper back to lift your glutes off the ground. To increase intensity you can do these holding a plate or kettlebell. Other variations are placing your feet on a bench or step and completing the exercise, or doing it with one leg elevated, single leg glute bridge.
Hip thrusters are a similar exercise where you use a bench and barbell. Sit on the floor and position your upper back against the bench, place the barbell across your hips, with feet in the floor. Push through your heels and drive up with your hips.
A curtsey lunge is a great compound exercise, particularly for the quads. From a standing position, keep your weight on the left leg and extend the right leg behind the left leg and lunge. Think a royal curtsey, turned into an exercise. To make the move harder complete it while holding a kettlebell with both hands at chest height.
Bulgarian split squat
Think of a normal lunge, but elevate your back foot on a step or bench. This being a compound exercise it works your quads, hamstrings, calves and of course the glutes. For an added burn, complete the exercise with dumbbells or in a smith machine with a barbell.
Get on the ground on all fours, keeping the bend in the knee, lift one leg at a time, bringing the heel towards the sky. Do not lengthen the leg, keep the bend in the knee, it should remain at a right angle. To increase the intensity, place a dumbbell at the back of the knee.
If you really want to tone those legs and butt, I suggest you try working them 2 days a week. I currently do one leg day a week, then after back and shoulder days I incorporate a quick leg circuit to finish, such as:
- 20 x goblet squats
- 20 x donkey kicks
- 20 x Bulgarian split squats