Almost everyone has their own problem areas. Some have fat deposited on the waist or arms, others form the hated “lugs on the hips,” so it is important to know how to train to bring maximum effectiveness. In this article, we will tell you how to lose weight in your legs doing some effective exercises both at home and in the gym.
Reasons for building up of fat in the legs
First, accept the fact that absolutely everyone has fat. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), men of normal weight have an average of 18 to 24 percent body fat, and women have an average of 25 to 31 percent body fat. Depending on genes, hormones and other factors, fat is either distributed evenly or those “problem areas” occur.
There are several types of fat in the legs:
- Subcutaneous fat: most often found in the thighs and located just under the skin.
- Intramuscular fat: that which is concentrated inside the muscle itself, literally in the meat.
- Intermuscular fat: located between the small muscle fibers of the meat.
Most of the fat in the legs is subcutaneous, which allows you to get rid of it effectively.
How to lose weight in the thighs? It is worth considering that it is almost impossible to lose weight locally. If you want to get rid of excess weight in your legs, doing exercises solely on your legs will not produce faster results.
A study conducted in 2012 involved 12 people (7 men and 4 women). They exercised the non-dominant leg 3 times a week for 3 months. This training resulted in an overall fat reduction, but the trained leg did not show any significant fat reduction.
Basic Dietary Guidelines
There is no special diet that helps you lose leg fat. Anyone loses weight if they consume more calories than they consume.
For a healthy diet, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends eating:
- a variety of fruits and vegetables because they contain fiber
- whole-grain foods (brown rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, quinoa, etc.)
- protein-rich foods such as beans, nuts, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken fillets, etc.
- healthy oils, such as olive oil and peanut oil.
Such a diet can affect the hunger hormone (ghrelin) and give the body a feeling of fullness. This will avoid unhealthy snacks, extra calories and overeating during the day. In addition, a proper diet is able to speed up the metabolism and greatly help in the process of losing weight.
So how to lose weight in the legs? Combine a balanced diet and physical activity.
Optimal exercise for losing weight in the legs
The first step to burning fat is aerobic exercise. These are physical exercises of low intensity. The main source of maintaining muscle activity in such exercises is oxygen. Muscles consume energy, which is produced through the oxidation of glucose and fats.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. Depending on your preference, you can choose swimming, cycling, running, tennis or another sport. Either option is beneficial and increases muscular endurance. It is important that the exercise be of moderate intensity and increase your heart rate for maximum calorie loss.
Anaerobic (power) workouts are aimed at high-intensity, short-term exercises during which energy production takes place by phosphorus compounds and glycogen contained in muscles and liver.
The great advantage of working with weights in strength training is that in addition to fat loss, muscles are built. And muscles, in turn, burn calories.
A recent six-month study found that 11 minutes of strength training three times a week resulted in an average metabolic increase of 7.4 percent. This value is equivalent to burning an additional 125 calories per day.
In addition, numerous studies have shown that after weight training, the body continues to burn calories even at rest (in some cases up to 48 hours), unlike aerobic exercise.
Exercises for home and street
Lunges target the biceps, rectus, and lateral thigh muscles. In addition, the gluteal muscles and the semitendinosus muscle are engaged. This is a great exercise to get rid of “lugs” on the thighs.
The classic version of lunges is performed as follows: stand up straight, put your hands along the body, make a wide step forward on an inhale so that the leading leg formed an angle of 90° and the knee did not go beyond the toe of the sneaker. The knee of the non-working foot should not touch the floor.
There are many variations of the execution: lunges to the sides, cross, reverse, with weight, with a jump, using a chair or a bench. In order to diversify your routine, try different variations.
Squats provide a complex load. They work the middle and big gluteal muscles, as well as the lateral, biceps, camelback and calf muscles.
Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, with your hands in front of you. Keep your back straight. While squatting, move your pelvis back so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees do not extend beyond your toes. Watch your breathing, breathing in as you descend into the squat and exhaling as you return to the starting position.
Squats also have many variations of performance: deep squats, side squats, jump squats, dumbbell squats, one-leg squats, pliés, etc. Find the option that works best for you.
Remember that the most important thing in jumping rope is technique, not speed. Concentrate on jumping with your knees slightly bent to avoid damaging your joints when you land. Prefer rubber surfaces for the sport.
Studies show that a daily 10-minute jump rope workout is just as effective as a 30-minute jog.
Follow a few basic rules: keep your elbows close to your body and your back straight. If you feel uncomfortable, try alternating between different types of jumps, such as side to side or with alternating legs.
Every 100 jumps helps you burn an average of 45 to 80 calories.
Leg exercises at the gym
If you are wondering “how to remove fat from the thighs?”, this is one of the most effective exercises. The leg press acts on the thigh and gluteal muscles, most of the load is on the biceps of the thighs.
There are several types of exercisers, depending on the angle at which the weight is moved, but they all have about the same load.
When performing the exercise, it is important that the back is tight, especially in the lumbar region. Depending on the position of your feet on the platform (shoulder-width or narrow stance), you can pump different areas of the muscles.
Start with a shoulder-width position. Grasp the side handles for comfort. Remove the restraints and on an exhalation squeeze the platform as much as possible until the knees are straightened (if you want to reduce the load on them, leave your legs slightly bent). Return to the starting position. Make sure your knees do not fall inward.
Do at least three sets of 10 reps.
Leg abduction in the crossover
The exercise works on big buttocks muscles, quadriceps, also involves muscles of the rear and inner surface of the thigh, as well as strengthens muscles of the groin area. It all depends on the variant of performing the exercise and the positioning of the legs.
The crossover does not fix the trajectory of leg movement, so it also works the stabilizer muscles.
Stand facing the trainer. Fix the special cuff on your foot or ankle. Comfortably grasp the trainer or special handles on it, take a stable position and fix your body.
The pelvis should be strictly above the foot of the supporting leg (the one that remains stationary). Slightly bend the working leg and swing it backwards. Make sure that your back does not sag and remains straight. At the upper peak of the movement, pause for a moment and lower the leg to the starting position.
Repeat the exercise for both legs, doing three sets of 10-15 repetitions.
Leg abduction and adduction
The exercise is an isolation exercise and is used for shaping, toning and strengthening the muscles of the legs and thighs.
Set the necessary weight on the machine (girls can limit themselves to 10-15 kg to start with). If at 10 repetitions you will feel burning and fatigue, then the weight is chosen correctly.
Lean your back against the seat, grasp the handles with your hands and put your legs behind the special soft rests. Now you can begin the main part of the exercise. As you breathe in, bring your legs together or apart, depending on the mode set. Hold in the position of maximum tension and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the set 10 times (1-2 sets).
When performing leg extensions the main load is on the quadriceps.
One important condition for performing the exercise is that the exerciser must be adjusted to suit you (rollers, backrest, weight, etc.). Make sure that the toe roll is at the lower part of the shin and the angle at the knee joint is at least 90 degrees.
Take a stable position, lean on the backrest if there is one, grasp the handles and as you exhale smoothly straighten your legs at the knees, lifting the roller. Hold this position for a second. Your toes should be facing upward. As you exhale, smoothly lower the weight (do not bend your legs all the way down). Perform at least 10-12 repetitions (2-3 sets).
Standing or sitting toe raises are traditionally used to train the calves and calf muscles. Many people perform this exercise not in the simulator, but standing on weight bells and using weights or dumbbells, but for beginners the projectile is more suitable, since it fixes the position of the body and relieves the load from the stabilizer muscles.
The technique is simple: stand with your toes on the platform so that the rollers rest on your shoulders. Then start alternately rising on your toes and lowering your heels below the platform.
Make sure your legs do not bend at the knees and your back stays straight.