Legs are generally just one part of the whole package. Some women athletes are blessed by perfect legs that require little to no toning, while others are given long, thin limbs. All is not lost, though- even short female athletes can have amazing legs that are a testament to a fine balance between beauty and strength.
Athletic and feminine legs are the ultimate goal for women who want shapely, powerful legs without it being too big or masculine-looking. The aim is to be a sort of a fitness model rather than a powerlifter or a bodybuilder.
How Does One Build The Perfect Amount Of Muscle?
Athletic, feminine legs can be achieved via the right exercise. You’ll also need to drop your body fat percentage to get into the “lean” form.
Exercises For Athletic and Feminine Legs
Use these 5 exercises and build athletic and strong legs that are still feminine and not bulky.
1. Squat Variations
You can’t go wrong with squats if you want to build shapely, athletic legs! Squats are great for increasing lower body strength. Moreover, when you do the squats right, you improve core stability and work various muscles, including the quads, the hamstrings and the glutes. There’s no other exercise that will make you look great from behind than good old traditional squats!
Leg presses, deadlifts and squats make up quad-dominant exercises. The glutes and hamstrings, or the hip extensor muscle groups are duly activated when you start the movement. Quads get the most stress and therefore get the best training response.
The squat is simple and yet it targets all your leg muscles- the calves, glutes, hams and quads while simultaneously strengthening your lower back and hips. Over time, you’ll get closer to your goal and become more athletic, flexible and powerful in terms of leg strength.
The Back Squat
The back squat is an essential part of every athlete, lifters and bodybuilders’ training regimen everywhere. By itself, the exercise builds up leg muscles while boosting performance in many ways. Leg muscle groups are targeted while ankle stability grows over time. Your core gets a lift, along with trap activation and shoulder mobility to balance that barbell.
One of the best conditioning moves out there that’s also great for beginners who want to work on their leg muscles. All the fundamental motions of a squat are included here, plus you get your hamstrings, glutes and quads exercised. Graduating from the goblet squat means you’ll be able to do advanced lifts and variations.
Barbell Front Squat
Having the barbell in front rather than in the back puts more emphasis on your quads and less strain on your lower back. Some even say this exercise is superior to the back squat. In terms of hitting the quads, they are right.
This is another great exercise that really hits the quads and the glutes. Your core also gets hit pretty hard while you try and keep your balance. You can start this exercises using just your bodyweight and move up to doing it with dumbbells as you get stronger. You also may want to hold on to something sturdy for balance when you are first starting this exercise.
Bodyweight squats may be easily integrated into various workout routines and CrossFit because they don’t require special equipment. All you need is your own body weight! Doing air squats activate your glute and thigh muscles.
Pick the squat variation that is right for you and do 3 sets of 10 reps.
Lunges will make your legs look great and give it that feminine appearance you’ve always wanted. This kind of exercise is employed if you want to work your quad muscles. More weights equals more burn and at the expense of incurring fatigue faster, but the true pain begins after you finish!
Lunges target specific muscles, including your thigh’s quadriceps, the hamstrings, your butt and the glutes located in your hips. Your calf muscles, abdominal and back muscles also get the burn. Over time, stability will come from the back, abdominal and calf muscles.
Side lunges provide the same benefit with the addition of working out the inner thigh muscles.
Perform 3 sets of 12.
Did you know that sprinters usually enjoy better leg definition as compared to distance runners? This is because the movement works out 6 muscle groups- the calves, abdominals, the glutes, quadriceps and the hamstrings. Moreover, sprinting is considered as a full body workout that offers high-intensity reps and easy recovery periods.
While sprinting, your free leg moves forward and your knees extend, exercising the hamstrings. When your foot makes contact with the ground, the quads and hamstrings stabilize your knees. Then, as the leg pushes off, your hamstrings get exercised, stabilizing your whole body in the process.
Sprinting can also lead to effective body fat loss and increases your metabolic rate for a few days. The high-intensity aspect burns calories even after you’ve finished with the workout.
Perform 5 sets of 60 yard sprints.
Related: 5 Sprint Workouts to Blast Fat
4. Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian Deadlift works the hamstrings and is a great addition if you specifically want to target your back leg muscles and glutes which we know you do.. This type of deadlift takes out the bending of the knees, which in turn places more emphasis on the glutes and hamstring muscles.
Moreover, this deadlift variation focuses on a movement pattern called the hip hinge, which is a must-have for all athletes. Dynamic flexibility is further improved, which gives the muscles greater length extension during movements.
Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.
5. Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebells look and feel like iron cannonballs with a handle. By themselves, they don’t look much, but they’re one of the best investments you can ever make. The kettlebell swing is a complex workout designed to provide maximum gains to your posterior chain, which leads to a better and healthier posture overall. It targets the pecs, shoulders, abs, lats, hamstrings, glutes and hips, as well as your grip.
Your hip acts as a hinge during the swing, with your legs doing most of the work as you swing the kettlebell upwards. Your back and shoulder muscles get activated when the kettlebell is at the apex; even your neck muscles play a part in keeping everything balanced.
You get more lean muscle, generate more power and burn more fat if you incorporate the kettlebell swing in your workout routine. These are truly an underrated exercise.
Perform 3 sets of 15 reps.
The key to building a pair of athletic, feminine legs is to keep the exercises and movement as natural as possible. Put your focus on building effective muscle and you’ll develop great-looking legs that are surprisingly powerful and explosive in terms of performance.
Ryan is a former college wrestler and lifelong fitness fanatic. He has run half marathons, done mud runs, placed in body transformation contests, coached wrestling and now coaches girls soccer. Not to mention he has also tried literally hundreds of supplements over the years and has a vast and thorough supplement knowledge. He has written for Muscle & Strength, Testosterone Junkie, The Sport Review and other publications. He is also the editor in chief of this website. Feel free connect with him on his LinkedIn page below.