Walk around pretty much any gym these days and you’ll see females doing endless number of bodyweight squats, lunges, kickbacks etc all in aid of their mission to build a bigger, firmer, more defined and ‘more toned’ (Gahhh toned!!) lower body.
This practise is very common place as these exercises are easy and because people do SO many reps with them they get a killer burn so automatically think they’re doing the right stuff.
Time is Money
While doing any form of exercise, no matter what it is and how high or low the intensity is, it’s going to benefit you in some way and is certainly better than doing nothing at all (Unless you’re injured or burned out), but it’s important to make sure that you’re making the best use of your time when you’re working out and try to make your workouts a optimal and as specific as possible to you goals.
To that end, let’s turn to classic lower body bodyweight exercises such as squats with no weight, kickbacks and god forbid the stairmaster/kickback combo (Why, just why do people do that?!). My issue with doing infinity reps of these exercises (Seriously, how to you not lose count after number 50?) is that it’s not providing the muscles with enough stimulus to grow, giving it no reason to want to get bigger and stronger.
Biceps VS Glutes
Think of it like this. I, a 24 year old male Personal Trainer, have as you can imagine spent a fair chunk of my time working on my biceps.
Now, would i have built up my arms if I was lifting 1kg dumbbells for sets of 50 reps instead of doing sets of 6-15 with a much heavier weight? Would I have built up my chest doing Bench Press with a 5kg bar? No, of course not! So the same principle applies to women wanting to build up their lower body.
So What Should We Do Instead?
Instead of basing your workouts around the high rep bodyweight exercise we have discussed earlier, you would be much better off doing either exercise with weights or tough bodyweight exercises that only allow youto do 6-20 reps.
Example exercises are:
- Squats (Barbell Back Squats, Front Squats, Box Squats, Goblet Squats, Dual Kettlebell Front Squats)
- Step Ups
- Lunges with Weights
- Split Squats (On the floor or back leg on a box)
- Stability Ball or TRX Hamstring Curls
- Hip Thrusts
- Single Leg Hip Thrust
- Leg Press
- Leg Extension Machine
- Leg Curl Machine
So there you have the reasons why doing endless reps of bodyweight exercise is not the best way to build up your legs and you can get much better results by simply lifting some weights!
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