The Real Bikini Leg Workout for Women

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Nearly every time I walk into my college gym I see it: young women on foam mats doing glute bridges, squats while holding those pink 5 pound dumbbells. Let’s also not forget the long time classic… casually repping out sets on the hip adductor/abductor machine. Just as I can expect to see women going through the motions with those exercises every week, I can also bank on them looking exactly the same from semester to semester.

Despite the large amount of focus many women place on achieving an ideal beach body, I’m surprised at how wide spread the notion is that such ineffective exercises will actually produce results. It seems that women think doing squats and leg presses are just as bad for their well-being as not inviting Regina George to their party (mean girls reference that most women will get).

Since normal gym etiquette includes not giving advice unless directly asked for it, I decided to write an article instead to explain why swapping those glute bridges for a spot in the squat rack could be the best decision females can make to get the pair of legs they’ve been looking for.

The Incredible Bulk or the Fabulous Booty?

Nice Booty

Don’t want to get big and bulky? You won’t. It’s impossible.

Without a doubt the first rationale most women will bring up is that they don’t want to get “big and bulky.” Well I have good news for you, unless you are a genetic rarity or are using performance enhancing drugs, your hormone levels will naturally limit the amount of muscle mass you gain in a lifetime.

Even if you wanted to, getting “too big” isn’t likely in the cards for you. Heck, even the natural female bodybuilders that WANT to gain a lot of muscle, and structure their diet and training accordingly, struggle to gain the amount of muscle they desire to compete on stage.

What WILL happen is that you will actually create enough stimulus to prompt your muscular system to adapt, allowing you to add the lean muscle mass required to attain the lean, slightly curvy look that will grab the attention of the fellas at the pool this summer.

Consistent Workouts for Curves!

This is a problem with most gym members that also holds true for many women I see, or have conversations with about their training. Most women just aren’t training their legs consistently enough to see appreciable results.

Especially in the college population that I’m often around, a lot of women seem to think going to the gym whenever is “convenient” will be enough. Friday night before a date or every other Saturday before hitting the beach isn’t exactly the most optimal training frequency for getting an good physique.

If you aren’t already doing so, making it a point to train your lower body at least twice per week can go a long way in helping you improve over time. It’s important to remember that improving a physique is very much a marathon and not a sprint. Sporadically training whenever you feel like it is a small step above not training at all. You wouldn’t go weeks without eating or showering, likewise you shouldn’t go days on end without getting in a workout if you expect to improve.

Making Gainz in a Man’s World

Some women avoid doing particular exercises because they don’t want to venture into the free weight section that is typically filled with men. This area of the gym can be intimidating or even sometimes creepy. I can’t say I’m exactly proud of how some of my fellow men act towards women in the gym, but I can say that the majority of men that are actually gentlemen will be impressed to see a female putting in serious work in the weight room, not inclined to be rude or offensive.

Anyone confident enough to go into the gym and put in work will gain the respect of their fellow gym members. I can assure you that the initial strangeness of being in an unfamiliar atmosphere is far outweighed by the long term improvements it will allow you to make in your appearance. Not to mention, a good pair of headphones and a no BS attitude is a solid way to drown out any losers that may otherwise distract you from making gains!

Woman Squatting

Some women avoid doing particular exercises because they don’t want to venture into the free weight section that is typically filled with men.

3 Month Bikini Leg Workout Program

It may tempting to stick with those 5 pound pink dumbbells, especially when the other women around you seem to be so committed them. But if you’re willing to take just 2-3 months and focus on seriously training legs with the base of your workout focused on compound weight training movements, you’ll be impressed at how much improvements you can make.

You’ll notice that this program uses a lot of multi-joint movements like squats and deadlifts. The main benefit of focusing on these types of exercises is that they each incorporate a large number of different muscle groups at the same time.

While a bodyweight glute bridge only focuses on your glutes and hamstrings, not to mention limits the amount of progressive overload that can be achieved to continue making progress from week to week; the deadlift is going to emphasis development in the glutes, hamstrings, quads, your entire core, and even your back and forearm muscles. Would you rather spend one minute on a set of glute bridges and only stimulant a few muscle groups or one minute deadlifting and stimulant over twice the amount of muscle, and to a much greater degree to boot?

Perform these workouts 2-3 times each week, striving to slowly increase the amount of weight used or repetitions completed each workout, and start making the gains you expect from your visits to the gym.

Month 1
Leg Workout for Women
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Barbell Squats  3  12-15  1:15
Leg Presses  3  12-15  1:15
Barbell Deadlifts  3  12-15  1:15
Dumbbell RDLs  3  12-15  1:15
Seated Calf Raise  3  10-15  1:15
Month 2
Leg Workout for Women
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Barbell Deadlifts  4  8-10  1:30
Barbell Squats  4  8-10  1:30
DB Walking Lunges  3  10-12/Leg  1:30
Barbell Hip Thrusts  3  10-12  1:30
1 Leg Calf Raise on Step  3  10-12/Leg  1:00
Month 3
Leg Workout for Women
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Barbell Squats  4  5-8  2:00
Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts  4  5-8  2:00
DB Bulgarian Split Squats  4  5-8/Leg  1:30
DB Box Step Ups  4  8-10/Leg  1:30
Standing Calf Raise Machine  4  8-10  1:30

A friendly reminder that this example program is just for the lower body portion of your training. Adding in a few days per week focused on your upper body is just as important to make sure you have a balanced physique.

For women that tend to shy away from training their upper body, I often remind them that a well-trained upper body makes a big difference in how females appear in dresses at dinner parties and other events. As I’ve explained above, getting “man arms” is an unwarranted fear, but achieving a balanced, lean upper body will go a long way in helping you achieve an eye catching physique. I strongly suggest training upper body at the same, or at least close to the same frequency as you train lower body.

Making the Switch

If you’ve been a long time member of Team Pink Dumbbells and unhappy with the progress you’ve made in your lower body, give this base workout a try for the next few months.

Hesitant to tear away from your normal workout with the girls? Worst comes to worst, I’m wrong and after a few months you look the same that you have been the last few years doing what you have been doing. However if I’m right, you’re finally on the right path to achieving the legs you’ve always wanted and can start wowing people the next time you put on that bikini or slip into that new skirt for the big date!

Editor’s note: Author Andrew Pardue is a Core Nutritionals representative. Make sure to check out the Core Burn Hard stack. It includes Core Hard, a body recomposition and hardening agent, and Core Burn, an effective fat burner. Order now.

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Name: Andrew Pardue

Bio: Andrew Pardue is the Sales Director for Core Nutritionals as well as a Team Wilson contest prep coach, and NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is also a graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a B.S. in Exercise Science and minors in Chemistry and Entrepreneurship.