10 Exercise Moves to Sculpt Lean Legs

lean legs workout

Want your legs to look dynamite? This post is all about how to sculpt lean legs. 

So you want a pair of killer legs. I’m here to help you. I’ve had all sorts of requests from women asking how to get shapely legs without looking TOO muscular. So let’s dive right in.

In order to add “shape” to your legs you must focus on adding muscle. The addition of muscle is going to add curves to the overall look of your legs including calves, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Now depending upon what your legs look like starting off is going to play a role in the sets and reps you perform through your workout. There are two types of legs that generally fall into this equation. You either easily build muscle and want to lean them out a bit OR you have naturally thin legs and want to add some muscle.

To slim down your muscular legs

In order for your naturally muscular legs to look a little more shapely you’ll be focusing on higher reps and volume with short rest times. Basically you’ll be doing quick circuit workouts to incorporate both cardio and weight lifting at the same time. Pick 3-5 exercises to do one after the other with a minimal break. Pick a medium weight and perform 15-20 repetitions for each exercise. Take a 60 second break after completing the full circuit. Repeat circuit 3 times.

Leg exercise 1, 15-20 reps
No Break
Leg exercise 2, 15-20 reps
No Break
Leg exercise 3, 15-20 reps
No Break
Leg exercise 4, 15-20 reps
No Break
Leg exercise 5, 15-20 reps
60 second break – repeat circuit 2 more times through.

To add shape/muscle to your naturally lean legs

If you’re someone who has naturally smaller/lean legs you will need to focus on adding muscle! Don’t let the idea of “muscle” scare you. In fact, it is the only way to truly change your leg shape. To effectively add muscle you will want to lift 75%-85% of your one rep max (1RM). If you don’t know how to find your 1RM, you can calculate it here. You’ll want to pick 2-4 exercises per body part and perform 6-12 reps for a total of 3-5 sets. Rest as needed. usually with a heavier weight I’ll take between 30 seconds – 1 minute of rest before repeating the exercise.

Leg exercise 1, 6-12 reps.
Rest 30-60 seconds.
Leg exercise 1 (again), 6-12 reps.
Rest 30-60 seconds.
Finish your 3-5 sets of exercise 1 and then move on to exercise 2 repeating a similar lifting style.

My final thought on adding muscle – make sure you focus on your tempo! Your muscle will only change under stress. The perfect muscle building tempo is going to be 2/0/2. For example if you’re performing a squat you’ll take 2 seconds to lower to a squat, pause for 0 seconds, and take 2 seconds to stand back up.

10 examples of my favorite leg exercises to sculpt lean legs

  1. Alternating Jumping Lunges*
  2. Alternating Curtsy Lunges
  3. Plea Squats
  4. Diagonal Walking Lunges
  5. Hamstring Ball Rollouts
  6. Hip Thrusters
  7. Sprints*
  8. Jumping rope*
  9. Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
  10. Bench/Box Step Ups

I included a few cardio-like exercises (denoted with a *) in that list to help build long lean muscle. Performing these movements a few times a week will help to ensure that you’re burning fat while also building muscle.

If you need help designing the perfect workout to sculpt lean legs I am currently taking online clients! Feel free to shoot me an email with questions and to schedule your free consultation.

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