Exercises for Women to Get the Long Lean Look

A well-rounded fitness program can help you get that long, lean look.
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If you're one of those women who wants a long, lean look similar to a dancer's body, you may have started working out with the goal of losing fat while creating firm, toned and sculpted muscles. A combination of aerobic exercise, strength training and a low-fat eating plan won't make you taller, but it can help you achieve a long, lean appearance.

Cardio and Strength Training

You have to do both cardio for losing fat and strength training to build muscle if you want to achieve a long, lean look. Some women might shy away from strength training with the mistaken belief that lifting weights or using gym weight machines will give them bulky muscles. As you lose fat doing cardio, you need to balance your workout by doing muscle-building exercises to preserve muscle mass. Building muscle also helps to burn even more calories since muscle burns calories, even when you are not exercising. According to the American Council on Exercise, a woman's genetic makeup will ultimately determine the likelihood of bulking up. ACE also recommends performing higher repetitions with lighter weights to help build muscular endurance without bulking up, whereas lifting heavier weights with fewer repetitions will help you get stronger. Running, jogging, jumping rope and working out on a treadmill or stair climber are all effective ways to burn calories for fat loss. Tone and strengthen your muscles for a lean physique by lifting weights or doing resistance-band exercises.

Burn Calories

You can strength train to build lean muscles, but unless you burn fat you won't see the results of your hard work. You need to burn 3,500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat. Cut your caloric intake by 500 calories each day and reduce the number of calories in your diet to burn about 1 pound of fat each week. According to MayoClinic.com, you should strive to do 30 minutes of physical activity each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. The CDC also recommends strength training two or more days each week.

Lean Not Long

Your muscles will not get longer no matter how much you exercise. When your bones stop growing, your muscles have reached their maximum length. While you cannot make your muscles longer, you can make your entire body appear longer by burning off fat and toning your muscles. Your genes also help determine your body type. Some women are naturally taller, longer and leaner than others. If you are shorter and rounder, exercise and diet can help you achieve a slimmer figure by burning fat and building lean muscle.


Pilates is a popular form of exercise that helps to strengthen your core muscles and tone your muscles all over your body. Pilates also helps to improve your posture so you stand taller and straighter, which can help make you appear to be leaner. Posture-improving, muscle-strengthening Pilates exercises include leg stretches, spinal stretches and leg pulls. Keep your core muscles engaged by squeezing your ab muscles during Pilates. Remember to breathe when doing Pilates; inhale before the exercise and exhale on exertion.


High-Intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout that alternates between moderate-intensity exercise and short bursts of vigorous, maximum-effort exercise. You can apply the principles of HIIT to any exercise routine to burn fat while strengthening your muscles. Some examples include running as fast as you can for one minute and then slowing down to a rapid walk for two minutes. You can do the same riding a bicycle or jumping rope. HIIT also stimulates your metabolism to increase your resting metabolic rate for calorie burning even after you stop exercising.

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