If you want to sport sexy legs like sexy Angelina Jolie, you need to pair up with the right leg workout.
In this case, the thighs have it!
Contrary to what some believe, the thighs are not a single muscle. Rather, they are comprised of numerous muscles that interact with one another to carry out movement.
Therefore, a standout leg routine will target all areas properly with minimal overlap between exercises. And the exercises need to work synergistically with each other for maximal development.
So to get optimal leg development, you have to hit the leg at different angles. This enhances symmetry and shape in the most efficient way possible – and it could soon have you wearing a super-high slit skirt a la Angelina with pride!
Before you get started, here are a few dos and don'ts for thigh training:
• DON’T lock your knees when training your thighs! All too frequently, a person completely straightens their legs at the finish of a rep. Not only does this take stimulation away from the thigh muscles, but it also places a great deal of stress directly on the joints.
• DO stop just short of lockout, keeping continuous tension on your thighs at all times! There always should be a slight bend in your knees at the finish position of each move.
• DON’T over-exaggerate foot position when training your thighs! In an effort to work various aspects of the frontal thigh, it is common to turn the feet in or out during exercise performance. However, the benefits of this practice are rather subtle, and the overall effect will be limited. Certainly, you should avoid exaggerating these foot positions, as it can cause damage to the knee. This is especially important during closed chain movements where the feet are immobile (such as the squat, leg press, etc.).
• DO keep your feet turned slightly outward during all closed-chain movements (such as the squat and leg press)! Doing this allows the patella (knee) to move to its natural arc, maintaining the integrity of the joint. If you choose to experiment with different foot positions, do so only in open chain movements, (such as the leg extension) and make sure to stay in a comfortable range.
When done in tandem with healthy eating and cardio exercise, you can achieve lean, muscular legs – the kind of legs that have long had the paparazzi focused on Angelina Jolie!
Here's a sample leg routine that can be performed one to three times a week with at least 48 hours rest between sessions. Three to four sets of 8-15 reps is a good target range. Be regimented and you'll see your thighs take shape in no time at all!
Grasp a pair of dumbbells and allow them to hang at your sides. Stand facing the side of a flat bench with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pushing off your right leg, step up with your left foot and follow with your right foot so that both feet are flat on the bench. Step back down in the same order, first with your left foot and then with your right, returning to the start position. Continue alternate stepping for the desired number of repetitions.
Grasp two dumbbells and allow your arms to hang down by your sides, palms facing your hips. Stand approximately two feet in front of a raised object (such as a bench or chair) and place your right instep on top of the object. Your back should be straight, head up, chest out. Keeping your front foot flat on the floor, slowly lower your body until your left thigh is approximately parallel to the ground. Your lower back should be slightly arched and your left heel should stay in contact with the floor at all times. When you reach a “seated” position, reverse direction by straightening your left leg and return to the start position. After performing the desired number of repetitions, repeat on the opposite side.
Assume a wide stance, approximately a foot or more past shoulder width. Grasp two dumbbells and hold one in front and one in back of your body. Keeping your left leg straight, slowly bend your right knee out to the side until your right thigh is parallel with the floor. Forcefully rise back up and repeat this process immediately on your left, then alternate between legs until the desired number of repetitions is reached.
Brad Schoenfeld, MSc, CSCS, CSPS, FNSCA, is widely regarded as one of America's leading fitness experts. Brad has appeared on hundreds of television programs and has been featured in virtually every major fitness magazine. His new book, The M.A.X. Muscle Plan, has received worldwide acclaim as the definitive guide to muscle building. Click here to check out his website.