Your legs are probably the most used part of your body. Your lower limbs power you through most of your activities such as walking, running, or lifting. This is why you’ll find your body’s biggest muscles in your legs: your glutes and thighs. However, there’s no question that many people try to avoid working out their legs, assuming that there’s no need to do so.
Avoiding leg day can eventually affect your strength since your leg muscles will deteriorate if you don’t use them. Your everyday activities won’t be enough to tone your legs, so you must dedicate a day or two of your weekly fitness regimen to focus on your legs.
Why Shouldn’t You Skip Leg Day?
You’ve probably seen many gym-goers who have incredibly built upper bodies but have small legs that aren’t proportionate to their physique. Many people who blindly work out without understanding the importance of strengthening all muscle groups often end up with bulky arms and frail legs. If you’re one of them, you may end up finding difficulty performing tasks that involve your lower body strength since you don’t have enough muscle to support you.
If you want to have a well-built body with strong and defined legs, you shouldn’t skip leg day. Most fitness regimens separate the day for working out the lower body from the schedule for upper body and core. For instance, a person who exercises five days a week will only focus on leg exercises on the first day, then do a core strengthening routine on the second day. This type of rotation on your routines will give your muscles time to recover, especially if you’re used to rigorous training.
However, there’s no doubt that many gym enthusiasts dread leg day. After all, the pain that sets in the morning after an intense lower body workout can be excruciating. If you’ve been through a challenging leg day, then you know that the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is really painful and can hinder you from performing even the most basic activities like climbing up and down the stairs. Of course, this shouldn’t be an excuse for you to skip leg day.
If you know how to handle your workouts and manage your recovery days properly, you can even run after leg day. Being mindful of your body will help you have a much easier time breezing through even the most challenging fitness routines.
Leg Day Done Right
Doing your leg workouts properly and knowing how to manage your routines will help you get through leg day without any troubles. You’ll also see an improvement in your lower body’s muscle definition if you practice the proper form of each exercise.
If you want to have an effective leg day, you need to learn how to warm up your body correctly. Most people who exercise regularly often fail to see the importance of warming up correctly. Failure to do so can lead to workout-related injuries and hinder you from achieving maximum results. Even if you’re just focusing on your legs, it’s vital that you target your core, glutes, and hips when preparing for your exercise. This will help you be more limber, which is essential for any workout.
You can also perform light cardio, such as jogging or cycling, for 10 to 15 minutes to get you pumped before your main session. Also, don’t forget to stretch your muscles and loosen any tightness you have in your body before exercising.
Once you’ve finished your warm-up, you can start with your leg exercises. Most gym sessions last for an hour, so it’s okay if you take your time, especially when you’re handling a heavy load. You can determine how many sets you can do and how much weight you can carry. It’s best that you start with 60% of the maximum weight you can handle for any weight training movements before you increase your exercises’ difficulty. This will ensure that you’re not straining your muscles too quickly and prevent muscle cramps or injuries.
You also need to ensure that you’re doing variations on your workout during a single session. Focus on all the muscles in your legs, such as your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, so you can maximize the benefits of your fitness routine.
Best Leg Exercises
If you want to build strength on your legs, you should try including the following exercises into your routine:
The most basic but most effective leg exercise you can do to target your legs is squats. This movement will target your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and buttocks, making it an effective lower body workout that puts your leg muscles to work. You can do variations such as weighted squats or sumo squats to achieve better definition in your legs.
If you want to get a full-body workout while strengthening your leg muscles, then include deadlifts into your fitness routine. This particular exercise targets almost all your muscle groups but most of the effort for this movement will come from your lower body. You’ll significantly improve your leg strength as you increase the difficulty of your deadlifts.
To start, you can do a set with five repetitions lifting a load that’s less than your body weight. If it feels too easy, you can slowly increase the difficulty of your workout by adding more repetitions or adding weight. Once you grow stronger, it’ll be possible for you to lift more than twice your body weight in deadlifts. Of course, you must observe the proper form while doing this movement to avoid injuries or accidents.
- Box Jumps and Squat Jumps
You should also try explosive movements during your leg day to keep your muscles guessing. You don’t want to fall into a fitness plateau where your muscles stop growing because you no longer push your muscle tissues to tear and repair.
Box jumps and squat jumps take advantage of explosive movements to improve your leg strength and cardiovascular performance. Try to include these during your leg day to achieve maximum results.
Including a productive leg day in your fitness routine will ensure that you develop your strength and muscle definition equally in your body. As long as you remember the right steps to exercise your lower body, you’ll be able to see the results you want.