In 1985 I was working at a health club, and aerobics classes were very popular. Leg lifts were a staple of the classes. Leg lifts can be done laterally, kicking backward, or forward. They can be done standing, on all fours, while doing a plank, leaning on an exercise ball, or lying on your side. There are other ways as well.
In the course of a class they are performed in high numbers. I did the math. I figured 60 to 70 leg lifts were performed a minute. There were 8 to 10 minutes of leg lifts per class. If you went to several classes in a week and showed up 50 weeks a year you would be doing close to a quarter million leg lifts. One woman did.
At the end of the year she still had substantial fat deposits on her outer thighs. In fact that was the only place she had noticeable fat on her body. Around this same time I occasionally worked out a man who liked to drink beer, and he occasionally exercised. His body fat was about 30%, much of it around his abdomen and much less around his lower body. When he did the leg extension exercise you could clearly see the four muscles of each of his quadriceps, and he had very little fat on his hips.
This woman did 250,000 leg lifts a year, and he drank beer. Why the different results? You cannot change your genetics, and you cannot spot reduce fat from your body with any type of exercise, and you cannot “tighten things up” either. You can make the underlying muscle more toned, not by lifting your legs, but by strength training. Tonus the constant low-level contraction of muscle comes with strength not repetitions. That toned muscle will not become evident until the fat comes off.
The fat will remain there until there is a caloric deficit achieved mostly through diet, but exercise has an important role. If you are dieting your body will try to compensate for those reduced calories by lowering its metabolism by catabolizing calorie-demanding lean body tissue. Exercise, particularly high intensity strength training, will counter the body’s tendency to lower metabolism.
High intensity strength training, the type of training we do at our Austin Personal Training facility effectively burns calories four ways and increases strength and tone. You will find you can spend less time exercising, have more fat loss, and not spend endless hours raising you legs.