Thighs like what!!
October 24, 2008 2:08 PM   Subscribe

I want a booty and thighs like Serena. Help me get there.

OK, so I don't play tennis and I'm pushing 40, can I still achieve this body?

I'm naturally what we call "thick" in my community and my knees are going but I still do regular treadmill workouts, walk a lot and have a haphazard "let me lift some weights so there's less jiggle" program.

What would I need to do and how much would I have to sacrifice for a championship physique?
posted by notjustfoxybrown to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I'm not sure about the answer to your last question, but if you're not doing standing lunges and moving lunges, you're never gonna keep it tight, as the saying goes. Shape magazine always includes some type of butt/thigh firming exercise in their routine so I recommend you try to find those and do those. They should help to some degree.
posted by Stynxno at 2:16 PM on October 24, 2008

There is this, but honestly as many squats and lunges as you do, it is Serena's job to be in shape and play tennis, and I am guessing you have a different kind of job where you spend most of your day.

You might find this part of their book interesting too. Apparently, some cardio and stretching and then oh a few hours of drills and then some more drills.

Your best bet would be to cut carbs, eat more lean protein, alternate cardio days with strength days and squat squat squat.
I did a lot of cardio and lifting a few years ago but couldn't lost that last bit of mush until I cut bread, pasta, and started eating a whole lot of eggs. I decided I'd rather have a little mush and eat things that taste good, but YMMV.
posted by rmless at 2:20 PM on October 24, 2008

you also must realize that she's airbrushed to heaven in that photo, right?
posted by violetk at 2:23 PM on October 24, 2008

Response by poster: Oh I know she's airbrushed to death but even here she looks quite fit ... not to mention on the court.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 2:26 PM on October 24, 2008

Best answer: Squats + Deadlifts = Booty + Thigh Magic!

But seriously, if you want that body get thyself to a decent weight-lifting program that incorporates squats and deadlifts. A good layer of muscle on the butt is the secret to ass-perfection. Starting Strength is a classic, buy the book, read it, and follow the very simple beginner's program for a while. Then once you've built a good strength base (that is, some nice muscles in your booty), throw in some high-intensity interval training to burn the fat. You want to hold off on the cardio and HIIT while you're doing the initial strength-training, though, it will give your muscles more chance to build and recover.

Everybody recommends Starting Strength for everything, but that's because no matter your goals--building muscle to look pretty, trying to be a powerlifter, or just making sure you don't get osteoporosis--if you don't know what you're doing, everyone pretty much needs to start in the same place. Once you have built your base then you can start messing around with it depending on your goals.
posted by Anonymous at 2:27 PM on October 24, 2008

Squats and lunges, do 'em until you feel like your legs are going to fall off.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:29 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Start playing roller derby, or at the very least doing tons of wall-sits and faux-sits in which you crouch down into a low position. Raised my ass by about six inches.

Ice skating or plain rollerblading will do the trick, too. Just make sure you're in "speed skating position," i.e. are about to sit down in a chair, and stay in that position as you push your legs powerfully to the side. It will hurt. Keep doing it.

I also love cable squat rows, side squats onto a stability board, slide lunges using a paper plate or magazine, and the abduction/adduction machine.

If you're going to be focusing on your glutes and quads in a big way, I would strongly suggest investing in or using a foam roller. Yes, they hurt like hell, but it's worth it if you get tight IT bands like I do.
posted by mynameisluka at 2:33 PM on October 24, 2008

I'm no Serena, but I keep my thighs mighty via deadlifts and split squats. Lunges are a good idea too. You will want to add regular weight training in with the running/walking, and Stumptuous and Exrx (the sites I linked) will help you figure out what's a good amount for you to do.

Additionally, try working out on the elliptical trainer in addition to/instead of the treadmill - it's easier on your knees and (from my anecdotal experience) works your butt and thighs harder.

For all of the above, when it starts to get easy, add more weight/resistance.

Unfortunately, some of it is genetic as well. I've always had strong legs relative to the rest of my body, and they develop easily for me. Your butt might not turn into a fantastic bubble of steel, but on the other hand you might get awesome abs more easily than I do, or something.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:35 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

this question is tough - if not impossible - to answer.

the first big unknown is how you currently look. it would be immensely helpful if you posted a comparable (as in similar position) image of yourself together with the usual front/side/back shots of you standing and your stats. that way one could take a closer look at where you differ from her and start suggesting specific workout routines to address those zones.

the second major unknown is just how much serena actually looks like that.

that white reflection on her arm is a massive softbox (lighting the body in a 30 degree angle from above) together with a ringflash (lighting the face straight on from slightly above her forehead) and quite possibly a third softbox lighting her thighs (notice two white light reflections on her shoulder). that makes her skin look a lot smoother and evens out where usually you'd see shadows. I'm also reasonably sure they smoothened her thighs and arms using photoshop and took out some thigh muscle. this corbis editorial search confirms serena actually has some major pecks on her arns and muscular -not smooth- thighs. (if that link doesn't work just search for 'serena williams') also notice how the color and texture of her skin in the facial area is different from that on her arms or thighs. that could be bad makeup but my money is on a retoucher having worked the body extensively and having stayed truer to her actual image in her facial area. that I can see her earring also makes no sense at all given the massive darkness/shadow surrounding it. a strobe light would have caused a reflection.

I could just answer your question by stating "invest $300 in a capable retoucher and you'll be it" but I suspect that's not what you are looking for from us.

what I will recommend though may be equally frustrating.
I think you need a personal trainer. find someone who comes recommended, someone with a track record. tell that person with this picture in hand what you want and make them outline a weekly plan for you that changes as your body does. meet them once per week to learn a new routine and do what they suggest 5-6 times per week alone. the main issue about people and gyms is that they don't know what they are doing and are too immature to ask for help. just take a look at all those people walking backwards on the stepper machines without even noticing what they are doing. I am fairly certain from what you have said that given the proper investment in time and energy and willingness to challenge yourself physically every day you can have the massive changes you desire within six or eight months.

I realize that dissecting mrs. williams photo like this may make me seem like an internet creep but actually I'm an art director and I have done a lot of these shoots and I can't help but to look at photos like this from a "how did the photographer build this image" kind of angle. I can't look at myspace self-portraits without wincing.
posted by krautland at 2:48 PM on October 24, 2008 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: The thing is krautland, I know that Serena's body is a bit more um, voluptuous than in that Ebony magazine photo. I know about Photoshop and fancy lighting thingamajigs. But I've seen her in person and in other more candid shots so I know that ass is real.

Secondly, the reason I have chosen Serena as a fitness model is because she is built much like I am (and you'll just have to take my word for it because no way am I posting a photo of my ass on Metafilter.) I would not aspire to say, a Venus Williams shape because I'm not long and lean. So, in a sense, I am a realist ... kind of.

That said, the suggestion for a trainer is a wise one.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 3:04 PM on October 24, 2008

Ride a racing bike. If you're not built to be a skinny little rider (and from the sound of it you aren't; neither am I), it will work out your ass like nothin' else. And it's easy on the knees!
posted by notsnot at 6:35 PM on October 24, 2008

First off, if your knees are problematic, you need to get that taken care of before taking on any other knee dominate or inclusive exercise course. Once that is done, yes you do need to work your legs with such things as squats, dead lifts, split squats, step-ups, and lunges of all sorts (front, back, lateral, curtsy). Don't try and isolate certain parts of your body... you can't really do it. You can emphasize body parts in workouts, but you still need to balance hams with quads, chest with back and upper body with lower body.

Also, I would recommend that you learn some simple plyometric exercises such as the box jump and squat jump to add to your workouts. If you are going to do cardio as well, stick to interval training. Think in terms of tennis or soccer player legs...a lot of quick starts with bursts and stops, versus long steady runs.

Finally, get plenty of protein and above all, stick with your consistent and have fun.
posted by pazoozoo at 7:58 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think that squats are probably the key here. There are other exercises you can do, but without squats you'll never get there.
posted by ob at 8:11 PM on October 24, 2008

Agree the bike riding for cardio + easy on the knees. I do this with regularity and I have a crazy cycling booty. I am skinny everywhere else. Ride outside and on plenty of hills if you can.
posted by smalls at 10:32 AM on October 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

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