How To Get Lean Not Bulky Legs

How to get lean not bulky legs

Image Credit: Deagreez / iStockphoto

Everyone has an aesthetic preference when it comes to muscle mass. Some like to look extra thick in their lower body, and some women are legitimately terrified of looking like a 250 pound linebacker. If you’re worried about your lower body getting too thick, here’s how to get lean not bulky legs.

How To Get Lean Instead Of Bulky

Lean Vs Bulky

First, let’s establish that there’s nothing wrong with being “bulky”. Some people like to carry more muscle mass on their legs than others. Some like to look strong and powerful while others prefer to look slim and athletic.

Genetics and body type will also have a large influence on how much muscle mass you have on your legs. Some people are able to stimulate muscle growth on their legs without directly working them.

If you never do squats or lunges, but your legs are very muscular that’s genetics at play.

What Causes The Bulk

A significant increase in muscle mass is the result of resistance training (to failure), adequate calories, and the needed recovery cycle to repair damaged muscle fibers.

Basically, you do specific types of resistance training, eat enough to grow, and rest enough for your body to recover. The absence of any of those variables makes getting bulky very, very challenging.

You Need Resistance Training To Get Lean

“I just won’t do any resistance training!”

That’s the tricky part with getting lean and “toned”. You won’t have noticeable muscle tone without resistance training. Trust me, you don’t want that either. If all you do is cardio, cardio, cardio you won’t get lean.

You’ll be skinny fat. Yeah, you’ll be thinner but you’ll still be covered in a layer of noticeable body fat instead of looking lean and athletic.

So the problem is you need resistance training to get lean, but if you do the wrong kind of resistance training it can result in unwanted leg bulk.

Getting Bulky Is Not Easy

If you’re worried about getting too bulky from lifting weights, let’s put your mind at ease.

Getting bulky, in general, is very hard. It’s not easy to do. It’s also a very long process, and isn’t something that happens in one or two workouts.

Every guy in the gym lifting weights wants to be more muscular than they are. Even with the aid of testosterone, they find it incredibly challenging to add just ten pounds of muscle mass.

For women, trying to add bulk without the aid of testosterone, it’s even harder.

Muscle mass, or bulk, also requires maintenance to sustain. Once you have all that muscle bulk, you have to continue eating enough and training enough to keep it.

So if you get unhappy with the size of your legs from certain types of training, all you have to do is stop and change to exercises that don’t stimulate as much growth.

Exercises To Get Lean Not Bulky

Some exercises are more likely to cause unwanted leg bulk than others. Training with heavy weight to muscle failure (or past it) is how bodybuilders stimulate growth and gain all that mass.

Other exercises that are considered short-burst explosive movements will recruit more muscle fibers with high potential for growth.

Workouts like CrossFit, and HIIT workouts, can stimulate unwanted leg bulk because they recruit a lot of fast twitch muscle fibers. When stimulated fast twitch fibers have the greatest potential for adding muscle size.

That’s why sprinters (explosive exercise) are noticeably more muscular than long distance runners. If your goal is to get lean, not bulky, here’s some exercises you should do and some you should avoid.

Do More

– Resistance Training (Light To Moderate Weight/Higher Reps)
– Pilates
– Swimming

Do Less

– High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
– CrossFit
– Heavy Weight Lifting To Muscle Failure
– Incline Running (Treadmill/Hills)
– Step Machines/Stairs

Lean Not Bulky Workouts

1. Leg Toning – Danielle Peazer

2. Sculpted Legs Workout – Wishtrend TV

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