Blog by: Sulagna Das
Ladies and gentlemen of the gym, let’s talk about the most feared day of the week: the Leg Day. No one really looks forward to leg day, except for some (showoffs, I guess?), but for most of us it seems like a necessary evil. While some of us just go in, do the squats and hobble out, grimacing in pain. And then there are some who completely skip the day.
So-called “mirror muscles” like the core, back and arms are typically more noticeable, but you’re making a huge mistake if you’re only training above the belt. Your lower body is home to some of the biggest muscles in your body. Thus, focus on the workout of your lower half and you’ll be rewarded with toned calves and strong glutes. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t skip leg day, because friends don’t let friends skip leg day:
- You’ll burn more calories: Whether or not weight loss is the goal, it all starts with the legs. “Working bigger muscles in multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts or lunges will require more ‘work’ from the heart and brain and higher levels of metabolism compared to exercising smaller muscle groups,” says Jon-Erik Kawamoto, CSCS, a Newfoundland-based personal trainer. Challenging these larger muscles requires more energy, which means your body will be burning more calories.
- You’ll reduce your risk of injury: Lower-body strength could also be the difference between getting injured and staying in the game. Performing functional exercises, likelunges and squats, promotes stability in the knee, which is your best bet to prevent an ACL tear.
- You’ll improve your balance: Giant biceps are no match for a patch of sidewalk ice. But having a strong lower body just might help you avoid a wipeout. Exercises like side lunges and deadlifts will increase your stability, develop your proprioception and help keep you ready for anything. Whether you’re an adrenaline sport junkie or a weekend warrior type, balance is essential for maintaining control of your body.
- You’ll run faster and longer: Strength-based movements like squats and deadlifts will help develop your hips, which are typically amajor source of injury for runners.
- You’ll increase your metabolism: Not only will leg day make you speedier on the track, but it can also speed up your metabolism.
- You’ll relieve your back pain: If you sit for the majority of your day, odds are good that you experience some back pain from weak hamstrings and short and tight-hip flexors. “[Most people] blame tight hamstrings and attempt to stretch them,” says Sinkler, a former elite-level rugby player. “In actuality, they would be better off stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the hamstrings, glutes and abdominal muscles.”
- You’ll increase your range of motion: You’ll be more flexible if you continue working your lower half out every week.
So you see, it’s not really a good idea to skip leg day. In fact, never skip leg day. Work out and stay fit and healthy.