Women tend to have a love-hate relationship with their legs -- sometimes leaning more toward the side of hate. Rather than be concerned with the negative aspects of your legs, celebrate their abilities. Strong legs carry you throughout your day -- up and down stairs, packing groceries, hauling kids and running after your dog -- without fatigue. You can use the same weight-training principles as men to get stronger, leaner, more-defined legs that will keep you going all day long.
Train with weights two to four days per week. Give your body at least 48 hours of rest between each strength session to allow for complete muscle recovery.
Use heavier weights to challenge your legs. Choose a weight that allows you to do eight to 12 repetitions. If you can complete more than 12, increase your weight by 5 to 10 percent.
Perform two to three sets of each exercise to adequately work and fatigue your leg muscles.
The Right Moves
Prepare to perform a back squat by standing inside a squat rack with a loaded barbell resting on the rack. Position the bar across your upper back and shoulders, securing it in place with an overhand grip. Move clear of the rack, position your feet shoulder-width apart then lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keeping your back straight, return to the standing position.
Assume the starting position of a lunge by holding a dumbbell in each hand with your torso stabilized and erect. Take a large step forward with your right leg. Lunge onto the leg until your thigh is horizontal and your knee is above your ankle. Press through your right heel to return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg.
Begin a step-up by positioning your body so that you are facing a 12 to 18-inch platform. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your torso stabilized. Place your right foot on the platform and, using only the work of your right leg, step onto the platform. Slowly lower your left leg back to the ground, followed by your right and repeat the step-up with your left leg.
Move with slow, controlled movements and breathe normally during each exercise to avoid using momentum or causing an injury.
Perform a 5 to 10-minute warm-up prior to your weight training routine. The warm-up should include light cardio, such as walking and some dynamic stretching.
End your workout with five minutes of light activity, such as walking followed by static stretches of the worked muscles. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.