The dreaded leg day! Yes, it makes one quite lazy just hearing it and not necessarily excited. Actually, leg day is quite important. It doesn’t only train more than just legs, but it also helps in building a strong core and a solid balance. Training your legs is literally grounding.
Leg day is important for building more muscle. Compound movements that rely on legs, such as deadlifts or squats, help increase testosterone levels, which helps in building mass. It is also essential to enhancing your weight lifting. Your lower body is responsible for providing a firm and stable platform to help you pump. And of course, another very important factor is that whoever trains on leg day won’t look like a chicken. And only a chicken would skip leg day anyway, right?
Perhaps the most notable aspect of training on leg day is that it helps prevent the risk of injury and reduce it greatly. If the upper body is constantly trained, but the upper body is neglected, that will result in muscle imbalances. The lower body will be under the pressure of the upper body and that not only affects the joints but the muscles as well. Another weakness because of this will be a lack of mobility. This lack of strength in the lower body almost certainly will result in ACL injuries and lower back pain.
All this sounds like great motivation to train your legs too. But what about the jello legs feeling and that pain? Many avoid leg day exactly because of that and because of the wobbling around after a fierce leg training session. First, constantly training your legs will strengthen them, so there will be less and less wobbling. And secondly, compression leggings! Because compression gear prevents pain during and post-workout. How convenient that there is compression gear for legs too! Now there’s no excuse not to train them.
Must Do Leg Day Exercises
This exercise is a Testosterone booster – necessary for muscle growth. It puts a great amount of pressure on your quads and hamstrings, so make sure you protect yourself against quads pulls and strains. This exercise coupled with athletic compression wear will help you develop proprioception as well – lunges tend to keep you alert, while compression fits the dynamic movement so that it enhances coordination more than any other sort of sportswear.
- Go for the appropriate weight for you and place the barbell across your back.
- Step forward with your right leg and drop into a lunge. Do this by lowering your body with a flexed knee and hip until your other knee is making contact with the floor.
- Push yourself back into the starting position.
- Repeat with the other leg!
More than anything, this exercise loads, and trains quads. This is that one exercises that sets your thighs on fire. In order to prevent the much-dreaded thigh pain and any quad strains, use compression shorts. These protect against muscle trauma during training and help increase recovery in targeted areas like quads, hamstrings and glutes.
For this exercise you will need a leg extension machine. After you choose your desired weight, sit with your back against the pad. Make sure you keep your body firm at all time and do not allow yourself to lift off the seat.
- Place your lower legs under the padded lever and hold onto the side bars for support. Make sure you have a 90 degrees angle between your lower and upper leg.
- As you exhale, using only your quads, extend your legs as much as you can. You can hold a little bit for an increased load on the quads.
- Inhale as you lower your legs back into the 90 degrees angle between your lower and upper leg.
Another quads killer, this exercise is essential for building mass and enhancing leg definition. Again, quads are under immense pressure and with a great load, so make sure you protect it against trauma and pain. This exercise is a perfect squat warm up, as it teaches you the pattern movements of the exercise while providing you with a lighter lift. It’s a pretty good exercise to master before doing more complex movements.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and hold a light kettlebell close to your chest.
- Squat down and low between your legs until your hamstrings touch your calves.
- Hold the load on your quads and hamstrings as you use your elbows to push your knees outwards.
- Stand back up in your starting position.
When training your legs, there are a few things to be intently focused on: building mass, definition, advancing to more complex heavy lifting movements, emphasizing your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Alternate between heavyweight (deadlifts) and speed (lunges) exercises, as that, will help you avoid plateau as well.
For mass building, you need to make sure you hit your muscles from a variety of angles, alter feet placements, and try going for more multi-joint exercises. This requires mobility that allows you to use compound movements. Athletic shorts will help stabilize your joints, as well as prevent muscle stiffness and soreness post workout. Compression gear is also responsible for keeping your muscles warm, in order to prevent strains.
Gluteal hip injuries, lower back injuries, and thigh injuries are, unfortunately, all too common among those who don’t properly gear up for hitting the gym. It’s easy to get such an injury and pretty hard to come back from it. It will reduce any sort of activity you perform, especially at the gym. So make sure you take that into account next time you load your muscles, but neglect the fact that they need to be kept warm against strains.
Next leg day, go out there and train below the belt! You’ll reduce the risk of injuring yourself, burn more calories, improve your balance, increase your range of motion and metabolism. You will become a better athlete because of it!