Fashion trends come and go, and while there may be more variety and fads for women's clothing, men take part too. A recent trend has been 5.5" inseam shorts for guys.
Short shorts for men are not entirely new, which anyone who lived through the 1970s knows. Throughout most of modern fashion, though, shorter lengths have been mostly reserved for women.
From celebrity sightings of short shorts to young men on TikTok rocking the small inseam, shorter lengths are officially in for men.
This means it's time for your fashion-forward male clients to work on their legs. Run them through these workouts two to three times per week for toned calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes they can show off in their new short shorts.
To feel good in the 5.5" inseam shorts for guys, muscle is a must. Some men have the unfortunate chicken leg syndrome. For these clients, you'll want to focus on building muscle mass and toning in the right spots to get more bulk. Here's what men need to do to put muscle on skinny legs:
To go from skinny to bulky, you must increase calorie intake. Muscle cannot be built on nothing. Make sure your client is eating more calories and including more protein in their daily diet, up to about one gram per pound of body weight. Help them understand that the goal is to put on weight, but as muscle, not fat.
A post-workout snack that includes carbs restores glycogen and increases insulin levels in the body. Without the replenishment of carbs, the body may break down protein for energy instead of putting it to use building muscle.
If the whole point is to build muscle and definition, working with small weights won't cut it for most men. Using heavier weights, that allow you to do just five to eight reps, will build more bulk faster. Training heavy strains and stimulates the muscle more than working with lighter weights and more reps.
Workouts with compound movements maximize muscle growth while minimizing time in the gym. Hamstring curls on the machine are great, but a deadlift will also work glutes, the core, and other muscles all at the same time.
No matter how enthusiastic your client is, don't let them train hard every day. A lower body workout up to three times per week is enough. The days they rest those muscles are when they will repair and grow bigger. On off days, they can do cardio, easy workouts, or upper body strength training.
While many men focus on building muscle for better-looking legs, some also need to lose fat. You won't be able to see that muscle development if it is covered by too much body fat. Here are some tips to help your clients lose weight while still putting on muscle mass:
Change your diet. No type of workout can outrun a bad diet, as trainers know. Help your client build a healthier diet, cutting out high-calorie junk and focusing on whole foods and lots of veggies. While trying to build muscle at the same time, make sure they prioritize lean protein.
Do cardio. People looking to build muscle are often afraid to do cardio workouts, but they are important for losing fat. Schedule some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions into your client's routine to maximize fat loss and make sure they eat a smart snack after the workout. To maximize muscle building in the legs, suggest leg-focused cardio, like cycling or stair climbing.
Be more active generally. Your client needs to be moving more in general because small actions add up to big results. In addition to workouts, encourage them to stand at their work desk, walk at lunch, play a pickup game with friends instead of playing video games, and in general be more focused on moving and not sitting.
Lift weights. Fortunately, your client will already be doing this to work on toning their legs for short shorts. Building muscle leads to a greater fat burn, so it's a win-win.
These three methods for losing fat are backed by research.
The body adapts to workouts over time, so remember to progress your client to heavier weights, shorter rest times, and slower individual reps. Also, change out the lifting routine every few weeks. Do a lower body workout two to three times per week and never on consecutive days. Here are some of the best moves that you can mix and match to create several workouts for your client:
One of the most important compound and functional movements you can do, the basic squat works quads, hamstrings, and glutes. With feet a little wider apart than the shoulders, keep the chest upright, and sink down, putting the body's weight into the heels of the feet. Do not let the knees go past the toes. Add weights to progress.
Also an essential for lower body workouts, the basic lunge will work glutes, hamstrings, and quads all at once. Step on foot forward and sink down, lowering the hips and keeping the knee back behind the toes. Again, you can add weights to this move for progression.
This move targets all the same muscles as standard squats but puts particular emphasis on glutes. The movement may be smaller than with a standard squat, which is fine. This is a more difficult move and challenges the muscles more.
This is a tough move, so don't introduce it unless your client is ready. This move will really stress the leg muscles and work on the core too. The move involves doing a typical squat but with a barbell resting in the crook of your elbows. Make sure your client wraps their arms around the bar to prevent it from dropping and causing an injury.
A great way to target the hamstrings while also getting in some glute and core work is a straight-leg deadlift. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the hips, keeping the back straight and flat. Lower the weights in your hands to about mid-shin level and slowly raise back up, again keeping the back flat and strong.
This move also hits the hamstrings and is an excellent compound movement. It's similar to the straight-leg deadlift, but the knees bend a little bit. Use a barbell with an overhand grip, keep the back straight and flat, push the hips back, bend the knees, and lower the weight to the ground. When lifting up again, go through full extension of the hips.
Deadlift variations are some of the best overall workouts for the lower body.
Combine cardio and power moves to build muscle, get the heart rate up, and lose fat. Box jumps work all the big leg muscles and the calves. Simply jump in a squatting position onto a plyometric box. Start with a lower box if your client is new to this move in order to avoid injuries. Also try this move: jump down from the box into a squat position and immediately jump up again.
All the major compound movements will include the calves to some extent, but bigger muscles tend to dominate. While spot training is not generally the best way to train, if you're going for shapely legs, you have to get the calves in. Stand with the toes on a raised edge, like a barbell weight or low step. Raise up on the toes to work the calves. Use weights to progress.
Although not exactly exposed in short shorts, glute definition helps improve overall lower body appearance. Of course, glute strength is also important for general fitness, strength, mobility, and injury prevention. To do this move, lie on your back on the ground with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift the hips up with full extension and squeeze the glutes. To progress this move, add a barbell across the top of the hips.
Those short shorts are not going anywhere, so if your clients want to rock them, help them achieve aesthetic and fitness goals with some tough workouts using these important exercises.
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