The beginners leg and butt workout for women
Women often want to start a weight training workout for the legs and butt but are too afraid to take the plunge. The gym can be a scary place with all the fancy machines and heavy steel weights.
If you want to start a legs routine but are a little bit unsure of how to go about it then this post is for you!
Why a Legs and Butt Workout for Beginners?
I noticed the other day that almost all the posts here at Real Women’s Fitness were aimed at expert or experienced trainers who know what they are doing. However, when looking at my Google statistics I realized that a lot of women come here looking for beginner workouts, exercise and routines.
For that reason I will br writing a whole series of posts over the next few weeks aimed at forming beginner workouts and looking at some of the most important elements of weight training and exercise that beginners need to know.
Why do weights for the legs and butt?
If you are a beginner looking to do some weights for your legs and butt chances are you have a general idea about what you want to achieve. However, the main motivations for weight training are:
- to help tone and firm your muscles;
- to increse strength and power;
- to lose weight;
- to achieve good health.
One of the great things about weight training is that it helps you achieve all of these at the same time. Contrary to what many websites will tell you, you do not need a separate toning workout and a separate weight loss workout. Weight training, when done correctly, works on all of these areas at once.
Leg training principles and facts for beginners
If you have never done any leg weights or exercises or are only new to them then there are a few facts you need to know before you go jumping into some heavy squats. These facts may save you from a nasty injury so make sure you take them in.
- Injuries happen in three ways
If you want to avoid injuries you need to avoid three things when you are weight training. Firstly, always use perfect technique when training with weights. Secondly, always warm up before a session. Thirdly, always progress gradually when attempting to add more weight.
- Leg exercises are hard
You need to be aware of the fact that a good legs weight training session will knock you flat on your butt! The exercises are hard and they take a lot of energy. Learn to pace yourself and give yourself enough time to recover after a leg workout before you head off to other sports or classes.
- You need to master the technique
I already talked about this point before but your lifting technique is the most important thing of all when weight training. Good technique will stop you from injuring yourself and it will help you make faster progress. There is no excuse for not having perfect technique.Some ways you can find good technique are to read as many expert instructions as possible in books, websites, etc., ask an expert or gym instructor to show you and help you while working out, get others to watch you workout. It is paramount that you get it right so don’t skip on the important stuff.
- Weights should be done slowly
This is something I try to drum into my readers and clients all the time. The most progress comes when you do the exercises in a slow and controlled way. It is hard work doing them slowly and it makes sure all the right muscles stay targetted. Sometimes when we speed things up other muscles jump in and try to take over the work. This is not what we want.
How weight training works
Now, before we start weight training we need to know exactly how weight training works. This is important for beginners as it helps us train better and more effectively. If we know the reasons why and how weight training works we can incorporate that into our training session and make it more efficient.
Firstly, we should know that everytime you weight train your muscles tear slightly. The muscle growth that we see is the body repairing itself from these tiny tears.
Secondly, we should realize that the best way to ‘tear’ the muscles is to use heavy weights. The heavy weights put the muscles under more stress and as such we can make faster progress.
Now for the big tip – it doesn’t matter whether you are trying to tone, get slim, get bigger, get stronger, etc. – heavy weights are the best way to do it.
The reason heavy weights are best is because it is the best way to challenge and grow the muscles. The other elements are taken care of outside the weight training session.
I’ll give you some examples to show you what I mean.
Lets say you want to tone your muscles. There are two elements to toning; weight loss and muscle gain. You need to lose the fat covering the muscles and build the muscles under the fat to make yourself appear more toned. So, the best way to grow the muscles is to use heavy weights. Heavy weights are also good for weight loss as it burns calories and boosts your metabolism. And then you stick to a good diet and cardio program to finish the toning off.
Likewise, if you want to slim your body down you should use heavy weights. The heavy weights build the muscles quicker so you can get rid of as much fat as possible at the same time as boosting your metabolism. Then you do vigorous cardio workouts to burn the fat. This cardio will also burn a lot of muscle as well so you will be essentially getting slimmer and firmer using heavy weights and cardio.
The Beginner Legs and Butt Exercises
Now that we have been through some of the basic principles we can get onto the exercises that we will be using for our butt and legs workout. I will give brief explanations of them as well as some tips and hints.
- The Squat
The squat is the queen of all butt and legs exercises. You should do it every time you workout your legs as it will bring you the most progress in the least amount of time.It is a compound movement that uses lots of muscles all at once. It puts the body under a heavy amount of stress and thus will bring about the most progress when done correctly.
How to do it -
To do the squat you should start without any weight. With your feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart and your back straight squat down to a point where your upper legs are almost parallel with the floor. We don’t want to go past this point as it can cause knees problems. Once at this lowest point pause for a brief second and then slowly push yourself back up using your whole leg.Once you have mastered the technique and can do it without any joint pain you should move into a squat rack at the gym. This allows you to place a bar bell loaded with weight on your shoulders so that more resistance can be added as you get better. This is one of the best ways to tone and strengthen your legs and butt!
- The Lunge
After the squat you should learn to master the lunge as it is probably the best exercise there is for targetting the butt muscles (glutes).The lunge is a simple exercise that is often complicated by people who insist on performing it incorrectly. It targets the glutes, quadriceps and calves. Do a search for the term “lunge” in the right hand side bar and you will find many detailed posts on it.How to do it -
Holding some light dumb bells in your hands slowly step forward so that your front leg is about a metre in front of you. As you step forward with your front leg bend both of your knees so that the weight is shifted to your front leg and butt. Lunge down to a point where you back knee almost touches the ground and then push yourself up to the starting point and repeat.
- Calf Raise
The calf raise is a very simple exercise that has very few risks involved. It will only take you a few attempts to master it.
How to do it -
Stand on the edge of a block or step so that your heels fall off the back and your toes are holding you up. It is a good idea to have a wall or something to hang onto for balance.Slowly lower your heels down as far as they go so that you feel a nice stretch in the back of your legs. Once you reach this point slowly push yourself up using your toes and tense the calf muscles. Pause at this top position for the count of one and then repeat. A simple exercises but one of the best ways to get shapely and firm lower legs.
If you want more information on how to do these three basic exercises use the search feature in the right hand side bar or browse the category list in the left hand side bar. There are well over 300 posts here at Real Women’s Fitness and many of them are on leg training and exercises.
The Beginner Leg and Butt Workout
Now that we know what exercises we are going to use we need to put them into a workout.
However, before I give you the workout I need to explain a little concept to you that is vital to your weight training success – sets, reps and the term ‘failure’.
A loyal reader of mine from Modern Sage commented recently on how not many people know how to choose the correct rep range when doing weight training exercises. So I will explain it here.
Everytime you are given a weight training workout it will come with some numbers that are labelled as ’sets’ and ‘reps’. Using the example of squats, you might be told to do four sets of 10 reps. This means that you would peform 10 squats and then take a break and repeat those 10 squats three more times to make four sets. Simple.
The problems comes when choosing the correct weight. Many people think that when a workout tells you to do 10 reps that you can use any weight you want and it will magically give you the desired results. WRONG! The number of reps is telling you how much weight you should use as it is implying that you will ‘fail’ at 10. This means that after 10 squats you won’t be able to do anymore because your legs are too tired and you need to take a break.
So, next time you see a number of reps on a workout try and find a weight that will cause you to fail at that number. It is a simple principle that most of you will know but it is vital to understand it properly.
Here is the workout:
After the workout you should have a high protein meal and do lots of stretching. Make sure you warm up first using weights, cardio and stretching and keep stretching throughout the entire workout. After a few weeks you will be ready to add some sets and increase the weight but make sure your technique is perfect.