Once upon a time I was working really hard to lose weight (especially thigh fat) and I ended up with big bulky thunder thighs. According to fitness experts (usually of the male variety) women can't bulk up but if you're a woman and this is happening to you then you know that is just another one of many fitness myths that guy trainers really need to get a clue about.
The truth is that women can and do bulk up especially those who take up heavier weight training to "build lean muscle to burn fat". The good news is the solutions to this annoying bulking problem are so simple and they will make your workouts more fun too.
Lean Toned Legs Tip #1: Focus on more interesting training variables (exercise order, recovery time, tempo, frequency).
It's tempting to increase the weight, reps, sets and duration of your legs workouts. I mean those ARE the most obvious and easiest training variable to manipulate but more volume generally means more muscle (translation: more bulk).
So instead of changing up the variables that are going to make you huge switch up the variables that are going to make you stronger, fitter and leaner. Vary the order of the exercises you do, vary your rest periods between circuits, vary how often you train your legs and booty (some weeks more others less), and especially vary the type of exercises you are doing and the tempo of those exercises.
Workout intensity can be achieved many different ways and manipulating some of the more subtle training variables is what works for women who are not interested in getting huge. The videos on this page show examples of all this.
Lean Toned Legs Tip #2: Focus more of your time on multi-planar movement (fancy anatomy term for dynamic multi-directional movement).
Today's workout plans are so dynamic compared to what was available twelve years ago when I was struggling to lose my post pregnancy thunder thighs but most women still insist on sticking with the same old boring up and down, back and forth squats, lunges, leg lifts, and bridges.
The problem isn't so much with the basic movements which ARE key to getting a better body. The issue is with never progressing to the really advanced version of these basics. Not progressing is what lands you on a fitness and/or fatloss plateau that keeps your body looking the same year in and year out (also makes working out boring as heck). Check out my thigh slimming exercises for even more tips and exercises.
Lean Toned Legs Tip #3: Customize your workouts to your unique body type and female body shape.
How much of your workout week are you spending working your legs or lower body? While it may seem like a good idea to focus more of your time on your trouble zone the downside of this is that you are neglecting other types of workouts or other areas of your body that can help to lean out your legs and balance out your body shape.
Instead of focusing more on your trouble zone try finding a better balance of workouts for your unique body type. I personally spend a lot of my time training the butt because I need and want a bigger stronger butt.
Remember tip #1? More volume = more muscle....so if you already have enough butt or leg muscle then focus more of your time on total body fat burning or upper body workouts that will help you burn body fat all over.
The legs may be the last place you lose fat if that is your biggest trouble zone BUT you WILL lose thigh fat much faster and achieve a more balanced body shape when you start customizing workouts to your unique Female Body Shape.