A quartet of MuscleTech's fittest female athletes are here to share their favorite go-to leg routines for a fast summer shape-up. Their workouts are designed to bring down body fat levels while also building the kind of muscle that creates sexy curves. As a bonus, you'll also get plenty stronger along the way.
Backside Blaster With Sam Amorim
When Pittsburgh-based physique competitor Sam Amorim wants to hit her hamstrings and glutes hard, she starts with Romanian deadlifts. "This is the best exercise because it hits your upper hamstrings and glutes especially well," she explains. Most popular hamstrings exercises move only around the knee joint, but this one is focused on the hips instead. For complete legs, you need both.
Amorim suggests keeping your knees soft and not entirely locked out. Keep the bar close to your shins, and lower the bar as far as you can without rounding your lower back.
While doing leg curls, Amorim switches it up between working both legs at once or just doing one leg at a time. "I love to hold for 3 seconds at the top, which is the hardest part, and then slowly release to really feel it," she explains.
She then moves to good mornings with an elastic band before finishing up with 4 burning sets of hip thrusts.
Quad Killer with Caroline Tusiuk
Want to focus on the front part of your thighs? MuscleTech athlete Caroline Tusiuk has a challenging quad workout in store, which also hits the glutes to a lesser degree.
She starts with a single-leg leg extension to serve as both a warm-up and a pre-exhaust for the legs. "This exercise is great for getting the blood flowing through both your joints and your quads before your heavier sets," she explains.
After that, she includes a variety of squats to hit her quads from all angles. "I like to include narrow-stance front squats using a heavier weight. Having the load in the front instead of the back puts more emphasis on the quads, especially the outer region, versus the glutes and hamstrings," Tusiuk says. Small changes like this can really make a difference over time in overall muscular development.
She finishes her workout by returning to the leg-extension machine for a single burnout set. "By finishing your quad-focused leg workout with this exercise, you'll ensure that you have fully blasted your quads," she adds. "By the time this one's finished, you'll jump right off the machine and know you've reached the end of your training session."
No-Squat Lower-Body Builder with Lindi Carter
"Muscles don't know weight. They know work," says figure competitor Lindi Carter. "Only your ego knows weight, so leave your ego at the door and get down to work."
The MuscleTech athlete warns that choosing a weight that's too heavy can cause you to break form, which in turn makes you miss out on the benefits of the movement. "Bad form invites other muscle groups into the motion, taking stress off the target muscle group," she explains. "Now you aren't really isolating the muscle, and you're likely risking injury."
But good form doesn't end there. "Don't just go through the motion; actually squeeze the target muscle," she says. Carter recalls that she only started seeing better results with her own training when she followed this advice. "To achieve better development, squeeze the muscle hard at the point of peak contraction, like you're wringing out a towel."
When it comes to load, Carter suggests choosing a weight that allows you to barely achieve your target rep. The last few should be especially challenging. "One of the factors prompting hypertrophy is training to failure," she says. "You need to push yourself and never get comfortable with a routine."
When training plateaus inevitably arise, Carter responds by changing tempo or foot position. On the leg press, for example, she'll alternate between a narrow stance, hip-width, or even wider to change the emphasis from one part of the leg to the other.
Booty Booster with Caroline Tusiuk
If it's your booty you want to target, Tusiuk has the workout for you. "This is one of the top requests I get from the clients I work with," says Tusiuk. "To really build your booty, you need the right selection of exercises combined with optimal rep ranges."
Remember, you won't build a booty by simply slaving away on cardio machines, Tusiuk explains. You need to weight train to build muscle that gives you both shape and roundness.
"Make sure to really push yourself; a heavy weight stimulus works this muscle better than a light weight," she says, noting the moderate rep targets in the workout below. That eighth rep should be really challenging, and you shouldn't even be able to complete a ninth. If so, add more weight next time!