Decreasing Size of Quads
I do a lot of high intensity interval training with a client 3 days per week. Mostly multi-joint combo moves, but there is a lot of lunging, squating, and tabatas, TRX and spin. Her legs are actually bigger after a month by an inch. Can you suggest another way to get the cardio in besides elipticals, crosstrainers, spin. I have been doing all of this.
First, I would like to thank Joanne for listing a lot of really good questions for all of us to consider as we design programs and measure progress.
I also agree with her recommendation for training for muscular endurance. I base this mostly on my personal experience and the results I have achieved by applying this science to my training.
I am an ex-cheerleader/gymnast and have competed in figure contests in the past. My past activities plus my genetics have made it a challenge for me to slim my legs.
I have been successful in decreasing my quad size by:
1. Consuming a balanced diet of mostly clean, whole foods
2. Doing 30-45 minutes of cardio at least 5 days/week (I usually use the elliptical since I have one at home)
3. Strength training 3-4 times/week (I change my routine, but mostly stick to total body circuits and upper/lower splits)
Again, this is purely what has worked for me. I would like to emphasize the importance that nutrition has played. I've seen the best results when both my training and nutrition are consistent with my goals. Best of luck with your client!
Your question is kind of tricky to respond to.
Of the many things one has to consider when responding to your query, this is what came to my mind:
1. Are your circumference measurements accurate? Did you take the measurements at the same time of day? Did you use the same anatomical landmarks? Did you take the measurements pre or post workout? Did you use the same tape measure? Did you take it at the same time of the month? This is pivotal especially if she is a client who still ovulates.
2. Is your client new to exercise or is she a person who is experienced? If she is experienced and became inactive, let's say for a few months, can hypertrophy be as a consequence of muscle memory?
3. What was her body fat percentage? If one is going to measure increases in lean muscle tissue, one should also measure decreases in adipose tissue.
4. Remember you get what you train for. SAID principle. What are your client's goals? If you want a body that looks like you train for cardiorespiratory endurance then your workouts must be specific to cardirespiratory endurance. If you want a body that looks like you train for power as in short distances, sprints, etc. then you train in that manner. Please look at the thighs of individuals who run for distance and the thighs of individuals who run for speed.
5. Not to be forgotten is the genetic component.
6. You mention that you do a lot of "lunging, squatting and tabatas" and use ellipticals, cross trainers and spin for cardio. My question to you is how much time are you spending doing cardio as opposed to the resistance training. Also training volume must be taken into consideration. What does your client do after she leaves you? Does she enjoy exercising independently? What is her occupation?
Lisa, I personally think you only need to apply the science of training for muscular endurance if you want to avoid hypertrophy.
I do hope this helpful to you and I wish you the best.