What are the best exercises for toning up legs when you have tendency to develop bulkier thighs?

I played football throughout my teens and so my quads have a tendency to develop and strengthen fairly quickly. Can anyone recommend exercises that (along with cardio) will help tone leg muscles without necessarily building up the thigh area too much?
Asked by Ali-Rowley

7 answers

Top answer
If you want to strengthen the body without building bulk and you want cardio to mix in with it dont bother with wasting money on kettlebells when your gym has dumbells(anything you can do with them you can do with dumbells) As for TRX AND THE LIKES THEY ARE AN EXPENSIVE WASTE OF MONEY I CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE ONE FOR ABOUT£20.
Right what you want to do is get a telegraph pole and get three other mates two on the log and two running along side. Run the log about 6 miles with the people on rest changing every 600 m.
If getting fit is what you are after then this is where it is at. This will get you fit to fight war and believe me there is no tougher test of fitness than that. It might not make you look fab in a t shirt but what is more important looking fit or being fit.
Other things you can do are firemans carry drills pick up your mate onto your shoulders and run with them.
And trust me running a 300 pound log is alot more mentally and physically challenging than swinging around on a swingy thing!
What you need to ask yourself who are the fittest people well easy soldiers, so train like they do and you wont go far wrong, oh and no they dont use swingey things or swing lumps of mettle around thay do BATTLE PT.
If you Want some real training from a real trainer then contact me on info@dosctraining.co.uk
or visit http://www.dosctraining.co.uk and i will be more than happy to introduce you to real fitness training without the gimmicks.


sorry Dan, you obviously haven't done any kettlebell training, and if you are still in contact with anyone who's in the forces, especially in Afghanistan at the moment, they use KB's. There are plenty of things you can do far better with KB's than DB's. Granted TRX's are expensive and you don't need them to do alternating assisted pistol squats, a RB is just as beneficial.You've only been a PT for one year, not a good idea to start rubbishing people's advice just in order to promote yourself. I too boxed at Lynn ABC before you were born. Getting a female to do firemans carry drills is not a good idea, she doesn't want to become strong woman of the year.......so puffin your chest out on here doesn't do you any favours.
Whatever Seanieh.......... So when was the last time you were in Afghanistan then?I dont know what you have seen on tv or read, individuals may use KB's but thats it. In the 13 years i served was never asked to touch one and i have been on some of the toughest courses the Army runs. Sorry Barbell and Dumbells are far superior at producing strength. Fireman's Carries are perfectly fine for women to do, providing they use correct lifting technique. I get women to do them all the time as well as squating while performing the firemans carry. Even take part in the stretcher race. As far as i am concerened there is no such thing as gender specific training. Training is training regardless of gender. It doesnt matter how long i have been a pt either as you dont learn anything on the pt course anyway it is stuff you should already know.
As for rubbishing peoples advice, what i was in fact trying to tell her was that she doesnt need to spend money on stuff as there are plenty of ways to train without equipment or use stuff that is available for free.
I would definately back this advice up. I am a female who Dan trains and I do all the exercises that Dan is describing and I haven't turned into strong woman of the year! He has got me to a high level of fitness and my body has toned so much since working alongside him. There's no question of a doubt that I would pick Dan over any trainer.
Thanks for the kind words Kate. You see enough said. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating. Kate trains in real fitness without the gimmicks.
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I would recommend lying hip adductor and abductor exercises. In other words lie on one side with your arm supporting your head, then lift and lower the upper leg for 20. Then bend the lower leg in and flexing the toe on your upper leg, bounce the foot a little for 20. Then stretch both legs out and lift the upper leg about a foot of the ground and bring the lower leg up to reach it, again for 20. Repeat on same leg for 15, then 10, then 5 of each. Then do the same on your other side. Think jane fonda! The oldies are goodies! This will work- and no expensie equipment required! Do every time you train. Good luck!
I too was a football player growing up and bulk INCREDIBLY easily. The only thing that has worked for me is dance based movements as well as TRX (see Sean's answer below) and Kettlebell swings. Though, I do believe burning out the muscle with high reps is the way to go. As for cardio....interval training using jumps in place (think ballet jumps) are a great way to keep the legs small. Stay away from running. If you do bulk easily running is NOT your friend. Good luck!
Hi there, the best advice I can offer you is to do functional exercises whereby instead of isolating just one muscle you are exercising several muscles at the same time. Not only will it stop you from bulking up but it can considerably cut the time of your session. I use Kettlebells in my sessions and when I workout myself. 30 minutes of bells 3 times a week will give you a good result in no time. For example, 'The Swing' is a fantastic exercise for toning your inner thigh, back of the leg, bottom and back and its a cardio workout. This workout will give you great legs. Kettlebells sculpt the body, strengthening the normally forgotten muscles and keeping your body in toned proportion. You can buy a kettlebell on-line fairly cheaply and use it in the comfort of your own home but, what I would suggest is, get proper training first on how to use them.
and Ali, I would be more than happy to show you personally how to execute the exercise.....and one thing I didn't add was that it aids proprioception strengthens connective tissue and tests your mental strength.....what more could you ask for....and it can all be done in 5-10 minutes
all the best
Hiya, I can highly recommend that standing yoga poses such as warriors as balances will most definitely help to strengthen and tone your muscles without creating bulk. There are many warrior variations that will work every muscle in the leg and so your strength gain will be equal and functional in the entirety of the leg as opposed to just being focussed on the thighs. I teach Ashtanga yoga which is very much strength and stamina based. If you require any further info, please do not hesitate to ask.
get yourself a jungle gym or trx and do one legged alternating assisted pistol squats for time i.e. 5, 7 and a half or ten minutes (EDT), next time try and better your rep count but don't necessarily fall into the trap of being a numbers game....your legs anterior and posterior, glutes, core, along with your conditioning will reap the benefits of this fantastic exercise, I have trained many a female using this exercise and it works wonders
all the best
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