Losing weight is the holy grail of training for many women. Fitting into your new red dress, looking toned and lean at that party you've got coming up and getting sexy arms and a washboard stomach can all be accomplished by embarking on a weight loss plan. Rather than spend hours slogging away on the rower or stepper, why not try working out your legs with weights to increase your rate of fat loss?
Weight Training and Weight Loss
While training with weights may appear to be more for those looking to bulk up, weight training could just be the key to faster weight loss. Half an hour of weight training burns between 180 and 266 calories, depending on your body weight according to Harvard Medical School. Not only that, but lifting weights burns further calories by increasing your metabolic rate and can build lean muscle mass, states MayoClinic.com.
The more muscle groups you work, the more calories you burn. As your legs comprise three large muscles -- your quads, hamstrings and glutes -- plus many other slightly smaller ones, such as your calves, abductors, adductors and hip flexors, training your legs burns a high number of calories. Leg exercises like squats, deadlifts and lunges are also highly demanding. They work many of your lower-body muscles, creating a bigger calorie burn and metabolism boost.
Increasing Weight Loss
To get your leg workouts to burn more fat and lead to greater weight loss, pick mainly compound movements that work multiple muscle groups. These are far better for weight and fat loss than single joint isolation movements, writes strength coach Rachel Cosgrove in her article "Strength Training 101." Choose squat or deadlift variations, leg presses, step-ups and glute bridge raises over leg extensions, calf raises and leg curls.
Train your legs twice a week, with sessions spaced three to four days apart. Pick three or four exercises that between them cover all your lower body. Stick mainly to sets of five to eight reps using a weight your find challenging, advises personal trainer and powerlifter Nia Shanks. Don't fall for the fallacy that higher reps with light weights burn more fat -- it isn't true. If you can easily do more than 10 reps, you need to lift heavier. Always check with your doctor and get advice from a trainer before starting your program.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.