Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Leg Day
Nowadays, the issue of excess weight is extremely widespread. People all over the world aim to peel off unwanted pounds, look more attractive and improve their health status and self-esteem. There are thousands of weight-watchers in modern society, and all of them have their own fitness goals. Some people want to get a perfect waistline, while others want to reduce their inner thigh fat. Unfortunately, very often they neglect their legs, thinking that if they look nice, there is no need to work on this body part. However, this is one of the most common mistakes. In this article you will find all the benefits of leg workouts. Let’s start!
The benefits of leg workouts for your body
1. You engage your major muscle groups and get cardiovascular load
Yes, the workouts of this type mainly aim to sculpt your legs. However, the majority of the exercises engage several muscle groups. For instance, when you perform your favorite squats, not only your glutes and quads work, but your core muscles as well. Moreover, such training sessions increase your heart rate and as a result you combine strength and cardio exercises.
2. Stronger legs contribute to the better performance of other types of exercises
Leg workouts aim to make your legs toned and most importantly strong. Stronger legs will significantly improve your performance of other workouts, including popular cardio training sessions such as running, walking and jogging. Moreover, by strengthening your leg muscles you’ll also lower your risks of injuries while performing other types of workouts.
3. Leg workouts contribute to your weight loss
Leg muscles belong to the biggest muscle groups of your body. It means that the more you train them, the better your metabolism works and the more calories you burn.
Leg workouts can also help burn belly fat in men. Yes, it is impossible to spot reduce body fat, and if you want to get rid of belly fat you should lose weight in general. However, there are exercises that work like a belly fat burner. This type of body fat is harmful for your health and can increase your risks of health issues, including heart diseases (1). That’s why it is so important to get rid of it. Leg workouts, such as lunges, deadlifts, calf raises and more will help aid the situation (5).
4. This type of exercises helps you avoid lower back pain
You probably know that in order to prevent back pain you should strengthen your core and back muscles. However, you should know that lower back pain is oftentimes caused by weak stabilizing muscles. That’s why by training your lower body muscles, you will minimize the risks of lower back injuries. However, keep in mind that it is important to stick to a proper technique and perform the exercises correctly. Otherwise the risks of injuries will be high.
5. Such training sessions help build more muscles
Hormone testosterone is naturally produced in your body and is crucial for men’s health. However, it also contributes to muscle gain and strengthening. Compound exercises like deadlifts and squats usually target large muscle groups and increase the levels of testosterone in your body (4).
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6. They will make your body look balanced and symmetrical
Bulked up upper body and thin, weak legs – you might have seen such pictures plenty of times. It happens when people pay all their attention to upper body workouts, but ignore leg day. Your body should look symmetrical. It is much more attractive. Besides, training the entire body is an effective way to avoid injuries. The point is that our body works like a unit, every exercise engages several muscle groups. That’s why there should be a balance for your muscles to function properly. Moreover, your lower body faces high amounts of physical load, so if it’s undertrained, it may lead to a number of health issues.
What are the best workouts to strengthen my legs?
There is an extremely wide range of exercises for every muscle group. You can find dozens of leg workouts which will help you achieve your fitness goal. However, some of them are more popular and are highly effective.
Below you can see a list of the three most common and efficient exercises that will target your entire lower body:
This is a standard exercise for your lower body. If you are a beginner, you need no equipment. If you have some experience in working out, you can take a barbell or dumbbells for the better effect.
Start with your feet a little wider than hip-width. Turn your toes slightly outwards and keep your hands by your sides. Keep your back straight. Engage your abs and core muscles to support your spine. Now you should lower your body, shifting your hips backwards and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure you don’t move your feet. Exhale and slowly get back to the starting position. That’s one rep (2).
For this exercise you need a barbell. Stand in front of the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be slightly rotated out. Keep your back straight and slightly sit back into your hips. Your chest should be slightly lifted upwards. Now you should bend forward to grip the barbell with one palm facing down and the other facing up. Then you should sink back onto the hips and press your feet into the floor. You should push your hips forward to get to the standing position with your legs straight and your shoulders pulled back. Remember to keep your back flat. Slowly get back to the starting position. It is important to perform the move properly and make sure that you engage your glutes and the back of the thighs instead of your back (3).
This exercise has numerous variations, and all of them are effective. You can choose the one you like the most. For example, a forward lunge. To perform this, you should start by standing with your feet together. Pull your shoulders back and down. Keep your abs and back engaged. Lift your right foot off the floor, stabilizing your body on a supporting leg. Step forward with your right leg so that your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Remember to keep your balance and avoid swaying in your upper body. Squeeze your glutes and quads to get back to the starting position. Repeat the same move for your left leg. When you have more experience in performing this type of exercise you can take dumbbells to improve the effect of your training sessions (6).
How often should I have leg day?
The main point is to devote an equal amount of time to all your major muscle groups during the week. It is also crucial to give them enough time to recover. That’s why you can create your own schedule of training sessions. For example, you can split your leg days with upper body workouts. Some people also prefer to start and finish their week with leg workouts, then performing exercises for other muscle groups in between (7).
In conclusion, if you want to make your body strong, healthy and perfectly sculpted, you cannot neglect any of your body parts. You should never ignore leg day even if this type of exercise is considered to be one of the hardest. Make sure you pay enough attention to your leg muscles and get all the listed above benefits of leg workouts. You shouldn’t also forget about proper nutrition, necessary amounts of high quality sleep and drinking enough water. All these habits contribute to your overall health and weight loss in particular. Another important point is that it is vital to consult a health professional before changing your lifestyle and starting a new workout or dietary plan. In this way you will avoid suffering from injuries and find the most suitable weight loss methods for you.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Belly fat in men: Why weight loss matters (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Bodyweight Squat (n.d., acefitness.org)
- Deadlift (n.d., acefitness.org)
- Does Working Out Affect Testosterone Levels? (2012, webmd.com)
- Do Leg Workouts Burn Belly Fat for Men? (2019, livestrong.com)
- Forward Lunge (n.d., acefitness.org)
- Here’s Exactly What to Do on Leg Day (2020, livestrong.com)