Written by eventual Eight time Ms. Olympia Champion, Lenda Murray the following article gives a brief insight into the training paradigms for women in the mid-90s, namely low-fat diets and an emphasis on smaller waists.
Murray’s advice to the aspiring iron trainee is simple, straightforward and to the point. Enjoy!
I would like to make my legs and glutes bigger and my waist smaller. What should I do?
Your concern is precisely opposite to that which seems to plague most women. Nearly all women complain of too much weight in their legs and hips rather than not enough. What’s revealing about your situation, however, is that you wish to also have a smaller waist.
The solutions is quite basic: namely, do more serious workouts and sick to a clean diet. Keep in mind that the two must be combined. Exercise will add shape and curves to your lower body; a proper diet will help you whittle down your waist.
While you need specific exercises for your lower body, you also need a conscientious total-body program. There are no spot exercises. Muscles work both systemically and synergistically in reshaping your body. Your legs and hips will develop muscle and shape more efficiently if they are required to work in concert with other muscle groups. Fat is also burned more uniformly when the entire body’s musculature is involved.
Design your training program around basic free-weight exercises that demand sustained and intense effort. Don’t expect results if you merely go through the motions. Expect to huff and puff and sweat, but make it efficient. The heavier and more intense the exercises, the less time you have to spend in the gym, which will enable you to go home less depleted and with your muscles more full.
Barbell and dumbbell movements are your best bet, with four exercises for each body part, four sets per exercise and 10 repetitions per set.
For your legs and hips, squats are absolutely necessary, but I recommend doing them as follows. To hit your entire lower body and give it that “tied-iin” shape, vary your stance to hit all areas of your lower body. The closer together your feet are when you squat, the more you focus on your glutes and outer quads, the wider your stance, the more you focus on your hips and inner quads.
Keep your entire body taut and attempt to squat all the way down, touching your buttocks to your heels. This is the best technique for attaining those full, round sweeps and separations you’re seeking.
Well-developed hamstrings play a big part in the shape of yor legs and hips, so it’s very important that you include exercises like lunges, standing leg curls (empahsizing a peak-contracton glute squeeze at the top) and stiff-leg deadlifts. Such movements are designed specifically to improve your thighs and buttocks.
In addition to improving your weight training, you should also modify your diet by lowering your fat and calories while increasing your protein consumption. To start, try a ratio of 40% protein, 45% carbohydrate and 15% fat.
By then, you will probably have your diet well under control, eating natural fresh food from the meat and produce departments of the supermarket rather than boxed or prepared dishes from the deli section.
Your progress will be faster if your break down your food consumption into several meals, preferably five or six per day. Keep in mind, though, that eating more meals does not mean ingesting more food.
An essential ingredient in all of this is patience. Remember that it takes time to get into the shape you want. Do not expect to reach your goal in a year, even though you will probably have made great progress by that time. Instead, think of your regimen as an ever-evolving process that will give you new inspiration each day. Have fun with it and hang in there.