Admit it: You want legs that can power you to the town-line-sprint podium. But it wouldn’t hurt if they were also the envy of your entire Sunday-morning club ride. The key to achieving distinct muscle definition, says Sam Iannetta, a certified trainer and owner of Functional Fitness Wellness Centers in Boulder, Colorado, is to trade heavy weights for lighter ones and do more repetitions.
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These moves from Iannetta work your legs from every angle for optimal shaping, not to mention balanced strength and stability. Do them three nonconsecutive days a week, aiming for two or three sets of 18 to 20 reps. Choose a weight that’s challenging but light enough so you can maintain form until the last few reps, at which point your muscles should feel fatigued. (To work out more than just your legs and get even better, try this Whole-Body Tune-Up.)
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Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your back to a chair or bench. Extend your right leg backward, placing the top of your foot on the chair. Bend your left leg until your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Press back to the starting position. Repeat for a full set, then switch legs.
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Single-Leg Step Down
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your right foot on a 6- to 12-inch-high step, allowing your left leg to dangle. Keeping your chest lifted and back straight, slowly lower your left foot as though dipping your toe into water, without touching the floor. Then straighten your right leg and rise onto the ball of your foot. Return to start and repeat for a full set, then switch legs.
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