A lot of people instinctively cringe when they realize it’s leg day. Unlike with the rest of your body, after a tough leg day workout, you still have to walk around and use the muscles you just worked over. Also, as the lower body is longer and more prone to building lean muscle rather than bulkier muscles, leg day can feel less visually rewarding.
So, while it can be tempting to skip leg day, there are plenty of reasons why you should always stick with your lower body workouts. Read the following benefits of working out legs.
Look More Proportionate
Let’s just get this one out there first:
People who regularly skip out on leg day look disproportionate. If you are on the taller side, you may be able to get away with having a built upper body and a normal lower body for longer. Eventually, you’re going to look comically top-heavy.
For men and women under 5’10”, disproportionate muscle development will be more noticeable sooner.
By making sure that you include regular leg days, you can enjoy a more proportionately muscular look. No one wants to be the person with chicken legs at the gym and leg day is how you avoid that.
Increase Functional Strength
Having tons of rippling muscles won’t do you much good if you have an obvious weak spot, like underdeveloped leg muscles.
Say you get drafted to help a friend move. While your arms and core may not struggle, you don’t want noodle legs as you help carry their couch down five flights of stairs.
Also, by developing your leg muscles, you can improve your other workout days. Instead of feeling like your legs are going to buckle when doing an additional deadlift set, you will be in a better shape to work the rest of your body.
Reduce Risk of Injuries
If you enjoy any sports, from the occasional game of pickup basketball to distance running, leg days can help significantly reduce your risks of injuries. Common injuries such as shin splints and muscle strains can be prevented as your muscles will be better developed and able to support your athletic activities more easily.
Also, even if your main athletic endeavor is bodybuilding, spending time building up your lower body can help reduce the chances of getting a sprained ankle and other potential issues.
Improve Overall Balance
Most healthy adults take their balance for granted. When a lot of time is spent only on developing the upper body, your lower body balance can suffer. Stepping on ice or tripping on a rock, for example, can lead to a complete wipe-out, rather than just stumbling.
Doing functional strength exercises such as weighted lunges and squats can help develop your leg muscles. Also, as your lower body catches up with your upper body strength, you can enjoy a greater range of motion.
Ramp Up Calorie Burn
Weight lifting is popular among those trying to lose weight as muscles burn more calories than fat. But if you only focus your workouts on your upper body, you are missing out on your calorie-burning potential.
For instance, say you are doing weighted squats. Your entire body is engaged in the workout, allowing you to burn more calories as you develop your muscles. So, if you aren’t a huge fan of leg day and want to make the most of them, be sure to choose multi-muscle engaging exercises rather than more static ones like the leg press.
Alleviate Lower Back Issues
To be completely fair, a good deal of back pain is linked to having a weak core. If you have been addressing your core along with building up your arms and upper body, then much of your back pain can be corrected. However, with lower back pain, the issue often lies where the muscles connect your back with your hips.
If you have been struggling with lower back issues, then it is time to step up your leg day workouts. By strengthening your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, you can significantly alleviate nagging lower back issues which are a common side effect of too much sitting.
Become A Better Athlete
One of the major benefits of working out legs, personally, was to become a better athlete. I am a runner and some people believe this means I don’t need a dedicated leg day. But there are plenty of stabilizing muscles that don’t get the necessary attention by running and walking alone.
With set leg days as part of my routine, my overall endurance has been greatly improved. I have been able to drop significant time off of my runs. Also, research shows that those who have a steady leg day routine are better able to push at the end of a competition. It can make a huge difference if you are competitive.
By committing to your leg days, you will see it pay off over time. However, you may need to be patient before you can experience the benefits of working out legs. So, the next time you are tempted to skip out, just remind yourself of these benefits to push through the discomfort.