Leg day, the bane of anyone who works out or goes to the gym regularly. Why is it that we instinctually hate leg day and everything involved with it? Part of it may have to do with the fact that you feel a leg workout afterward more than any other part of your body. You continuously use your legs throughout the day; thus, there is no way to rest after a workout. A tough shoulder workout may hurt a bit afterward, but don’t lift your arms, and you should be alright the rest of the day.
Your legs are accustomed to carrying around your body weight regularly, so unless you lift more than you weigh, you won’t see significant gains.
These muscles also tend to be leaner, so they don’t show growth and definition as quickly as a tricep or bicep might. Though it may be tempting to work the muscles that people regularly see like arms and shoulders, there are many valid reasons not to rest and skip leg day.
5 Important Reasons To Not Skip Leg Day
Nothing looks more ridiculous in the gym or real life than someone who skips leg day. We’ve all seen this person before, either at the gym or at the beach. Massive arms the size of a regular person’s waist that appear chiseled by Michelangelo himself from one solid piece of rock.
Washboard abs that seem to be at the minimum a six-pack but maybe eight, you can’t count that high! How is it humanly possible to be this perfectly sculpted? But then you notice the legs. They appear to be those of a newborn calf. Weak, undefined, feeble looking sticks that are struggling to support this massive upper body.
This is not a good look on anyone. Build your body in proportion, and you will benefit from more than just an even look. Read on for more reasons why.
Increase day to day strength
“I can bench 300 pounds,” says the guy next to me in the gym. Fantastic, but what good does that do you in life? Bench pressing all that weight is useless if your legs are underdeveloped. Functional day to day strength should be your goal.
Functional strength is what helps you to move 10 yards of mulch around your yard in a wheelbarrow or help a neighbor move their couch to the basement.
When you develop strong legs muscles, you build the foundation for functional strength that also helps to strengthen other muscles in the body.
The stronger your legs are, the better balance you will have overall. Weak legs that don’t support your upper body are not helpful at all. A patch of ice or an uneven walkway can be detrimental for anyone with poor balance. As discussed above, building functional strength and doing exercises like lunges and squats will help make strong legs necessary to carry you through your day.
An additional benefit of increased balance is also a more excellent range of motion.
For more read Flexibility and Stretching: Why It’s Important As You Age
Reduce injury risk
In a previous article, I mentioned my torn calf, which occurred in an unfortunate frisbee incident at a vineyard, but that’s a story for another time. If you are a weekend warrior like myself and many other men and women, then skipping leg day is not a good idea.
Leg day can significantly reduce your chances of injury — injuries like torn muscles, shin splints from running, and numerous other sprains and strains.
Burn more calories
Regular upper body workouts will allow you to elevate your heart rate and burn calories but not to the same extent as a full-body workout incorporating your legs. Skipping leg day means you are missing out on extra calorie burning.
Engaging your entire body in a workout like squats will allow you to burn more calories while also toning and increasing your muscles. Therefore, if you loathe leg day, try to incorporate full-body exercises into your routine.
Not skipping leg day and performing the necessary exercises will benefit you over time. Remain vigilant and be patient as the gains will not be as visible as they take time. When you consider skipping leg day, remember these benefits and power through.
What are some of your favorite leg exercises? Let me know in the comment section.