Ahhh… the “dreaded” leg day. Once upon a time, I too could not stand leg day, or working on my legs at all. After all, don’t they get enough of a workout? Think: we play tennis, ride bikes, walk around, carry babies… you get the point. They are the most used muscle in our daily routines. However, just like eating your vegetables, the older I get, the more I understand the importance of keeping them in top shape!
But, here are just a few reasons why you NEED to attack your legs (besides the fact you probably only work them once a week but yet they account for 50%+ of your body and muscles…
- Become a better athlete
- Burn more calories
- Reduce injuries
- Improve balance
- Go longer distances… faster too
- Heighten your metabolism
- Increase range of motion
Because we use our legs so much they are outfitted with a higher proportion of endurance muscle fibers than the chest or biceps. Legs need a higher volume of work
First of all, you don’t want to look like one of those people at the gym who has the upper body of a Greek God and then down below… well, you look like a chicken. However, it is not just about size (I fight against genetics with size, but size doesn’t necessarily mean strength). Leg training is hard but productive since compound movements like squats, leg presses and deadlifts will elevate your testosterone levels and call upon other muscle groups; leg workouts are a total body effort.
Before we get to the ABC’s – let’s talk inspiration and toughness (whether you’re looking to shed cellulite or grow your physique)! Any of you that have gone on a long hike or are preparing to go attack the legs in the gym, know that it is a mental struggle. It is proven that the more you work on mental strength, the more you can endure. Look forward to the challenge – after all, life shouldn’t be a cake walk (pun intended). Be consistent and watch your body and mind grow
The “terrific two”
I kid you not… for men AND women, there are no two exercises more important than the squat and deadlift.
A. These exercises work your whole body. Besides the targeted quads and glutes, these exercises work:
- Picking up and putting plates on the bar or holding dumbbells, squeezing the bar through the workout engage your arms.
- Driving up through the heels engages your calves.
- If you do squats and deadlifts properly, you have to stabilize yourself and push through your core, working your abs… the terrific two are a key component of having that six pack.
- Upon completion you drive up and through the chest.
B. There have been many studies and articles highlighting how the terrific two help boost and release natural growth hormones and testosterone significantly more than any other exercises… this will significantly aid in total body muscle growth. Oh – and that mention of hormones? Yep, that also aids in fat loss, just as efficiently in some cases as doing cardio.
C. Joint strength. Whether you’re a parent carrying a baby, an elderly person or a world class athlete, you’ll build strong knee, hip and ankle joints leg training, reducing your risk of injury. Adding weight to your exercises? This can help in the prevention and management of osteoporosis and arthritis.
This article was non-gender specific, but there are a host of different benefits for men and women (Carrie can attest). Want to know what they are? Want to know how to get started? Reach out!
So get out there and attack those legs! Happy healthy living