Never Skip Leg Day | Training Your Legs Regularly
Have you spent enough time on your leg workouts? Find out why leg exercises are key to your overall fitness.
With so many types of exercises, gym equipment, and fitness regimens that you can try out there, you might be forgetting to keep your routine balanced. It’s important to maintain an exercise program that supports a balanced body, but sometimes, we tend to neglect leg workouts in favor of upper-body workouts.
According to Healthline, leg workouts are the key to having a strong, stable foundation. Because our legs and feet support our upper body, we use strength in this area to do basically all types of movements — even those that we associate with our upper body, such as batting, throwing, or reaching overhead.
When you are able to root down your lower body properly into the ground, you create the necessary resistance that travels upward into your core and upper body. As such, working your leg muscles (glutes, quads, and hamstrings) can boost and maximize your overall athletic performance.
The Benefits of Leg Training
Aside from helping you achieve well-toned and sculpted legs, proper leg training allows you to have a strong lower body. As you develop better stability and range of motion, you also improve your posture. This can help you prevent injuries and manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Here are other benefits of a regular leg day:
An Engaged Core
When you do single-leg exercises, you train your core muscles to develop better balance and prevent injury. This is also beneficial in rehabilitation because you stimulate the muscles on the other side of the body when you work on one side at a time. Therefore, it’s better to start with your non-dominant side when doing your unilateral exercises.
A Balanced Strength
Another benefit of unilateral leg exercises is that it helps to correct muscular imbalances — working each leg individually ensures no leg is overcompensating. When you use both sides equally, they then both develop mobility, flexibility, and strength.
Leg workouts help in the production of hormones such as cortisol, which helps us mediate our body’s stress response and metabolism. Working your legs also helps stimulate the release of human growth hormone (HGH), which has been linked to slowing our body’s aging process because it promotes bone and muscle growth and boosts fat metabolism. Furthermore, leg workouts also help your body produce testosterone, the hormone that enables you to build skeletal muscle and repair damaged muscle proteins.
Some Basic Types of Leg Exercises
- Squats - lowering your hip from a standing position works out your thighs, glutes, and core.
- Lunges - positioning one leg forward with the knee bent and the other leg behind is good for strengthening, sculpting, and building leg muscles.
- Single-leg Deadlifts - by lifting one leg off the ground and extending it behind you, you build leg and core strength, as well as develop your balance.
When It’s Okay to Skip Leg Day
To ensure that you don’t injure yourself, feel free to skip a leg day when you’re not feeling well, such as when you’re experiencing a stomachache, chest congestion, fever, or a dry cough. Also, if your muscles feel sore, or you suspect you have a potential injury it’s better not to risk it. Pushing yourself too hard may only lead to less desirable results. Lastly, if you are just starting out, make sure to consult a trainer or an expert for the proper form and procedures.