Lower Body Conditioning


My name is Rebecca Conlin and I’m planning on competing in my first figure competition this time next year. I have a long way to go still but have a few questions to ask.

Ive been squatting and deadlifting really heavy, on top of this I have to do spin classes as part of my job. The problem is on my lower body I seem to put on muscle very easily for a girl. Ive spoken to Carly Thornton, who seems to have the same problem. Ive been advised to lower my weights and do 15-20 reps to slim and define whilst lifting heavy on my upper body to balance myself out. Ive also been advised not to eat as much protein on the days I have to spin to prevent my quads bulking too much. Ive been doing lots of hill sprints for conditioning too.

I really just want some advice on exercises, repetition maxes and best cardio exercises to really get my legs and bum leaner.

I have about 14lbs of bodyfat to lose too to get in perfect performance shape for next year… ???

How lean are your legs? I imagine you will lose a few inches off them when you drop the body fat. I’d be curious to see a picture just so you can get an objective opinion.

I would guess it’s just a matter of strength discrepancy. Is your training half upper, half lower? Might be worth considering shifting that to more upperbody focus. 15-20 rep squats have can actually add size too! It depends on how you are eating. And 15-20 rep deadlifts is asking for lower back issues. I wish I had your “problem” and my legs grew easily!

I will try and find a photo out, I think naturally I am very muscular, I do store my body fat on my lower body (typical pear shape) So I know dropping body fat will help a little. I have got leg definition though… in fact the biggest man in the gym commented on my quads popping out when I wore leggings lol!!! Upper body I’m already very lean. My midsection is flat and a little defined so losing body fat will help there to increase definition. So really its just lower body thats my weak area although I’m very strong.

Ive heard hill sprints are the way forward but what about squats/lunges/deads… do I carry on but lighter and more reps? Concentrate on body weight movements? Plyometrics?

Its just very confusing… and obviously teaching spin doesnt help my quads popping!!! :wink:

How’s your develop mean on the back, i.e. hammies and glutes? Same as quads?

I think their all equally over developed? I don’t feel like its lean muscle though, just bulk?

[quote]bexconlin84 wrote:
I think their all equally over developed? I don’t feel like its lean muscle though, just bulk? [/quote]

Yet you have stated in this thread that they have good definition. See, this is where your personal assessment is sounding more subjective and needs an outside perspective (and not just someone at your gym). There are people on this site who would know what to look for.

I you really feel like it’s not muscle, then when you cut to lower body fats they will shrink significantly. I would stick with the heavy leg training, since strength is your foundation at this point and very important this early in your lifting career.

I’m not sure what you mean by “lean muscle” or “bulk.”

I am my own worst critic!!! lol I think I will stick to 5rm on squats, deads, lunges etc x2 a week. Hill Sprints X1. I go to bootcamps and do a lot of kbell work X2 (the instructor is my pt so he has me doing things that benefit my goal) and morning cardio… sound good?

I’ve also started emailing my PT every night my food log so that I’m not tempted to have a day off… :wink:

Thanks for the advice x

Unfortunately I think the issue is more in your head than your legs.

There is no difference between lean muscle and ‘bulk muscle’

You cant really drop fat from a certain body part with higher reps when you drop the body fat your legs will look leaner and more defined, in the mean time keep doing what you’re doing and get stronger when you drop the 14lbs for the comp the issues will disappear.

Conditioning :Hill sprints, prowler push/ pulls/drags, Box jumps - increase box height every round, KB swings circuits, x2 a week.

Weights: Squats, Leg press, Stiff leg Dls, Hack Squats, Leg curls, x2 a week. Keep it intensive with 30 secs rest, 3x10 for each exercise. don’t keep the weight ridiculously light but heavy enough for you to lift/push. You still want to stay strong.

Works for me when I want to avoid bigger muscle definition in my legs.

[quote]bexconlin84 wrote:
I have to do spin classes as part of my job.[/quote]
What’s the class schedule like? How long and how often are the classes? That’s definitely going to be the biggest monkeywrench in any program you try to figure out.

We don’t have much info to go on, but check out this article from the Figure Athlete site discussing this exact problem area:

I doubt that. Nothing personal, but it’s very common for first-time competitors to underestimate the actual amount of bodyfat they need to lose in order to get into peak contest shape. In any case, base your progress on pictures. Try taking basic pics (full body front, back, and side) once or twice a week under consistent conditions (same clothes/lighting/empty stomach/etc.).

But really, these are all questions you should be asking your trainer. You’re paying them, they see you in person (we’re still waiting on that pic of you to really see where you’re at), so they have the best insight so far. If you’re not confident in their skills or you’re not happy with the results so far, that’s a whole 'nother issue.