Those who want to be fit are always advised to carry out a balanced workout session; a balanced workout session involves working both the upper body and lower body. When you concentrate more on the upper body than the lower body, you are likely to have a bigger upper body and a smaller lower body. The opposite occurs when you concentrate more on your lower body than your upper body; a more significant lower body with a small upper body. The second case has recently become an issue, and in this read we shall look at how to slim muscular legs.
Things You Need To Know About Muscular Legs
Genetics and bone structure play a significant role when it comes to how lean your legs can be. This is not to say you can’t change your legs’ size, as things like your lifestyle, activity levels, training methods, and calorie intake may help you with this.
While attempting to get your muscular legs skinny, there are two questions you need to ask yourself:
- Are my legs muscular or fat?
- Was I born like that or are my muscular legs influenced by the exercises I’ve done?
If your legs are fat and not muscular, there is a lot you can do to get them slim. In this case, all you need to do is burn the fat, and thus your legs will be skinny. Before you get too happy, it is important to remember that you cannot do target weight loss. This is to say that you cannot choose to lose weight in a particular part of your body, as you will have to lose weight all over instead.
If your legs are naturally large and muscular, there are probably no significant changes you can make. Things like exercises and getting on low-calorie diets might help though.
How To Exercise To Get Slim Without Bulking Up Your Thighs
People who have muscular legs believe that working out will lead to their legs getting even more muscular, which is not what they want. The answer is straightforward for women as it is difficult for you to bulk up from exercises, since you don’t have the hormones needed to bulk up. The only thing that might influence bulking your thighs might be from taking supplements. To bulk up, you need testosterone and women have 15 – 20 percent less testosterone compared to men and thus exercises for women would help them get more lean and slim (5). With that said, here are some of the ways everyone can use exercises to slim their muscular legs:
Reduce The Number Of Intense Workouts Focused On Your Lower Body (3)
This does not necessarily mean giving up your leg days. Before you start saying goodbye to leg days, remember that you need to do a balanced workout which means that you won’t be looking for solutions to having slim legs and a bigger upper body soon. What you need to do is concentrate less on your lower body. If you were doing lower body exercises four times a week, you can reduce it to two or once a week. Try to avoid exercises that pump up your legs.
Focus On Activities That Help Lengthen Your Muscles (3)
There are certain activities that will help to lengthen your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues. An example of such is yoga and Pilates. These will help lengthen your muscles so that your legs don’t look so muscular.
More Cardio (2)
Cardio exercises are very effective when it comes to burning fat and muscles. Whether your legs are large because of fat or they are just muscular, cardiovascular exercises are a great way to go.
Those are some of the ways you can use exercises to slim your legs without bulking them up.
Other Ways Of Getting Your Muscular Legs Slim
Apart from exercise, adopting a low-calorie diet will help with your journey to slimmer legs. This should be a complement to working out. The goal is to lose fat, and creating a calorie deficit will trigger your body to use the already stored fat. When there is not enough fat to burn, the body will be forced to use muscles, and you will end up losing the muscles in your legs. It is important to remember that just like fat, you can’t choose which muscles your body will lose first, and you will first start to notice changes in your biceps and other small muscles before you get to the larger muscles in the legs. To create and adopt a low-calorie diet, you need first to find your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Here is a methods you can use to get your BMR:
- For men, BMR = 66.47 + (13.75 * your weight in kgs) + (5.003 * size in cms [height] ) – (6.755 * your age)
- For women, BMR = 655.1 + (9.563 * weight in kgs) + (1.85 * size in cms [height]) – (4.676 * your age)
Once you get your basal metabolic rate, the next thing is to reduce your calorie intake by 500 to 1000 per day. While doing this, always make sure your calorie intake does not go below 1200 calories as that is considered starvation (4).
Exercises That Will Help Slim Your Muscular Legs
Most of these exercises are useful when it comes to burning fat and muscles, which is something you need at this point. You can also engage in weight-lifting exercises as long as you don’t overindulge and you are on a low-calorie diet as the exercises will trigger the body to burn fats and muscles for energy since our body does not have enough energy (9). Here are some of these exercises that will help make your legs slimmer:
How it is done:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a kettlebell in front of your chest. While you are doing this, you need to make sure your elbows are pointing towards the floor or down.
- The next step is to push your hips back and bend your knees into a squat. After that, return to your starting position and do this all over again.
To do a Plié squat you (1):
- Stand with your legs apart. Make sure there is about two feet of space between them.
- Make sure your legs are turned out so that your inner thighs are pointing forward.
- Place your hands in front of your chest.
- Bend your knees and move your tailbone towards the floor. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Return back to the original position.
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Squats are a common exercise. They are effective when it comes to toning different body parts like legs and one’s butt. (8). When you want to do squats you can choose to only use your body weight as the only resistance or you can use equipment like dumbbells. If you are new to the exercise or working out in general, start with bodyweight exercises and you can add the different tools as you become more used to the exercise.
How Squats are done:
- Start by standing upright while you face forward with your chest up.
- Then place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
- Bend at your knees and hips, sticking your behind outwards to a pose similar to the pose you make while sitting on a chair.
- Then lower your body as much as you can.
- Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position. This is one rep.
Cycling is a fun activity to do with a group of people or alone. What makes it a nice go to exercise is the fact that it is not only fun but also effective when it comes to burning calories (8). Why not take your mountain bike and cruise as you burn calories. If you are not an outdoor person, you have no need to worry as there are stationary bikes that can be found in almost all gyms and you can even buy one for yourself. Cycling can help you burn upto 1150 calories per hour.
If you are on a stationary bike, you can make this workout more challenging by doing intervals. This is to say you can cycle at a high intensity for a while and then cycle at a low intensity for the next few minutes; Do that until you are tired and can’t go on no more. If you are not on a stationary bike, you can look for a hilly route as this will help make the workout more challenging.
Single-Leg Deadlift To Reverse Lunge
This exercise works your hip hinge by using the deadlift component of the workout and the squat movement and will help in toning your hips.
How to do it?
- You begin by standing with your feet together while holding a dumbbell in each hand. You should hold the dumbbells in front of your legs.
- Then shift your weight to your left leg while keeping a slight bend in your left knee. Raise your right leg straight behind your body, hinging at the hips to bring your torso to a position parallel to the ground, and then lower the weight towards the ground.
- Make sure to keep your back flat. Your torso and the right leg should be almost parallel to the ground at the bottom of the movement, with the weight just a few inches from the floor.
- While keeping your core tight, push up using your left heel to stand up straight and pull the weight to the initial position. Bring the right-left back down to meet your left leg. Hold that position for a couple of seconds as you squeeze your butt.
- Then step back into a reverse lunge with your right foot, landing on the ball of your right foot and keeping your heel off the ground. Then bend both of your knees to create two right angles with your legs.
- Push through your left heel to return to the standing position. That counts as 1 repetition.
How to do it?
- First, take your dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length. Make sure they are just before your thighs. While standing with your feet at hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, shift the weight to one leg.
- Then, while still keeping your knees bent, bend your hips and lower your torso until it is almost parallel to the ground.
- Hold that position for some time, then go back to the standing position.
Did you know walking can help slim muscular legs? Well, if you did not know why not start walking a bit more. Walking is so easy as we all know how to do it and hence there is no wrong way of doing it. You can start small and keep adding more as you go on. If you are used to going to the store with your car, start walking to the store. This exercise has very low chances of causing injuries as it is a low-impact exercise. Walking will have you burning calories just by doing everyday activities like taking your children to school.
Jogging Or Running
Jogging and running are great exercises to help you lose weight. Jogging and running can help burn fat. Both jogging and running are great exercises that can be done anywhere and are easy to incorporate into your weekly routine.
Pilates are great when it comes to toning your muscles without leading to a great deal of muscle mass. Pilates consist of weight bearing exercises that will slim your thighs (5).
Who doesn’t love swimming? Especially in the summer when you are all hot and sweaty, a dip in the pool works wonders. Well, apart from swimming being very fun, it is also a good workout that will help you with your weight loss journey. Swimming is considered a full body workout because it works your whole body from the minute you enter the pool or ocean to the minute you leave it. This is from the fact that you have to keep yourself from drowning and this engages your whole body and most if not all of the muscles.
Swimming is a good exercise to burn calories as just a minute of swimming can burn up to 15 calories and that means the more you swim the more calories you burn. There are different swimming styles and the harder styles burn more calories, an example being the butterfly. These are some of the ways you can make swimming not only fun, but also effective in burning fat and muscles which is something you are going for in order to get those slimmer and leaner legs you wish for.
Jumping rope is an easy exercise and it is quite fun. Most of us used to do it while we were young as we played with our friends. This exercise gets your heart rate up within a very short period and this results in you burning fat (6). The exercise will help improve your balance and it will work most parts of your body like your arms, legs and core.
When you jump rope for about 30 minutes, you can approximately lose about 500 calories (4). A good way of making this exercise effective is by doing intervals of fast and slow jumps. You can also just jump for one minute then rest for about 30 seconds. Repeat this until you feel exhausted, and you should be okay.
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Plank With Leg Lift
This is a modified plank that will help to make your muscular legs slimmer:
How to do it?
- You start by going into the normal plank position; forearms and toes should be on the floor.
- Then, the next step is to gently raise your right leg a few inches (5-8 inches) from the ground.
- Hold your right leg in that position for a few seconds, then slowly lower it back to the ground.
- Now, switch to your left leg and repeat the same procedure as you did for your right leg.
How to do it?
- First, kneel on a mat.
- Then, place your elbows on the mat.
- With your legs hip-width apart, extend your right leg back, then your left leg.
- Keep your neck, back, and hips in the same line and your core engaged.
- Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds.
How to perform deadlifts?
- First, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. While bending your knees, reach down and grab your dumbbells or barbell, whichever you are using.
- Keep the dumbbell or barbell lifted with your hands slightly closer together than shoulder-width. This is your original starting position.
- The next thing to do is raise the dumbbells or barbell slowly until they get to the hip level and then bring them back to your shin.
This exercise is effective when it comes to working your thighs and toning them. If you are a beginner, you should start on a horizontal or seated leg press as there are leg press machines (1).
A small study was done where the participants were to do 960 – 1200 leg press repetitions thrice a week for 12 weeks, just using one leg. The results showed that the exercise was quite effective when it comes to reducing fat mass (7).
How to do a leg press?
- First start by placing your feet at shoulder-width apart on the crosspiece. Then rest your feet on the bar to create resistance. Make sure your toes are pointing forward while doing all this.
- Then push your legs until they almost extend. Try not to lock your knees.
- Gently return the weight until your knees are back to the 90-degree angle.
The Bottom Line
What we’ve just highlighted are ways to slim muscular legs. Before you start doing the exercises highlighted in the article, it is always important to consult an expert. It is also important for you to ease yourself into these exercises, especially if you are new to working out; this will help prevent injury. When you reduce your calorie intake, make sure to keep your daily calorie intake above 1200 calories per day. If you don’t see the expected results, make some time and go see an expert as they will advise you on what you do.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Expert-Recommended Exercises for Slimming and Toning Thighs (2017, everydayhealth.com)
- How to get Skinny Thighs – Can you go from Muscular Thighs to Slim Thighs? (n.d., fitnessblender.com)
- How to Slim Down Muscular Thighs (2019, livestrong.com)
- How to Slim Down Muscular Thighs (2010, healthfully.com)
- How to Work Out to Get Skinny but Not Muscular Legs (2018, livehealthy.chron.com)
- Lunges and Jumping Rope to Slim Muscular Legs (n.d., thenest.com)
- Regional Fat Changes Induced by Localized Muscle Endurance Resistance Training (2013, journals.lww.com)
- Shed Some Mass: 7 Exercises to Help You Reduce Your Thighs (2016, food.ndtv.com)
- Toning Your Body – and Your Thighs (n.d., webmd.com)