Posted by: Ira | 2004/11/23

Muscle Definition

Hi Doc,

Thanks for good advice always. I read this forum with great interest. Just a question from my side. How do I make my muscles in my legs more defined. I am fit and toned and have only about 18% body fat. I am totallly against the use of super boosters and protein supplements.

Please can you recommend some specific exercises for my legs both upper and lower legs.


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Our expert says:
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Hi Ira

The thing about wanting to tone, is that you have to really work long term - this is because it involves both the building of muscle, and the burning of fat, so it's not simply a case of getting onto the weight machines and lifting massive weight. If I may illustrate this with a point, if you look at someone like Os du Randt (or any rugby prop forward), they probably have the most powerful legs around, and are extremely strong, but are not what you might call toned. Look at Paul Tergat, Paula Radcliffe, Lance Armstrong etc., and you see that they have this amazing definition but probably not the same power in the legs as Os du Randt has. So, what I am trying to say is that strength does not necessarily mean the same as definition, and that's important because knowing this affects your approach to gaining definition.

Practically speaking, what it means is that to gain defintion, your focus must be equally on weight training and cardio. Cardio is perhaps even more important, and what i suggest is that you consider running and cycling as two very important activities. If you can do 45 minutes or so of one of these (or both) each day, you are using the leg muscles, burning fat, and gaining definition.

To this, you would add weight training. For the legs, my advice would be to do squats, lunges, hamstring curls, leg extensions, leg press (if you don't want to do a squat), and then calf raises on one leg at a time, standing on the edge of a step.

I would say that 3 days a week, you can do a short weight session before your normal cardio training.

Good luck

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