Here’s Why You Should Stop Skipping Leg Day
Do you and your gym buddies have scrawny little chicken nuggets for legs? Shame on you all. Leg workouts are essential and guess what? Everyone knows you’re skipping them. Maybe you need a little convincing on why exactly you should keep yourselves accountable to hard leg training.
Dave Leek is a personal trainer and coach out of Ontario, Canada. He’s been in the fitness industry for almost 20 years and currently maintains a roster of remote clients while coaching CrossFit. As a dad, functional training and longevity are important to him. Read on to learn some things about training legs.
Change the Way You Train
Long Live Leg Workouts
If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a commercial gym, you’ve probably heard the adage, “friends don’t let friends skip leg day.”
Assuming you’ve completed at least one workout after stepping foot in said gym, then you’re well aware of how challenging a good leg workout can be and why so many people are tempted to pass on it altogether.
I’m here to tell you that if you’ve only got time for one workout, it should be legs. There are a ton of very good reasons never to skip leg day, but I’m going to narrow it down to three.
For one, your legs are your largest collective group of muscles. It makes sense to include them if you want to make gains in strength or hypertrophy.
Second, due to the strong metabolic response of training legs, working them hard will help you burn fat all over your entire body.
Also, strong legs also provide a solid foundation for a large variety of compound, power-based exercises and everyday movements. Solid wheels help to improve your workouts and general ability to navigate through space from day to day.
Oh, we won’t officially include this one, but it’s worth mentioning that a physique without adequately developed legs looks unbalanced and stands out like a sore thumb. I can’t stress this enough. There’s a reason there are so many memes circulating the internet of guys with HUGE upper bodies and little breadsticks for legs.
Please, please don’t be that guy (or girl, but let’s be honest, mostly guys). I don’t care how baggy your sweats are, you’re not fooling anyone into thinking you’re proportionate.
Let’s dive deeper into each of these reasons why friends don’t let friends skip leg day.
Leg Day Has Growth Carryover
Your legs make up the largest group of muscles on your body and this is important to note. Large muscles produce a bigger stimulus when trained, signaling the body to release growth hormone.
This means not only will training legs help build bigger and stronger legs, but this release of growth hormone will also impact growth rates of other muscles in your body. Skipping leg day literally means leaving gains on the table for your entire body.
Big Legs Burn More Calories
Large muscle groups also tend to carry high metabolism-boosting powers when adequately exerted. Training your legs hard each week could be one of your best strategies towards burning off extra body fat or maintaining a lean physique.
This response is similar to the release of growth hormone in that it has a system-wide effect. The larger the muscle group, the greater the boost in metabolism which means the more fat you burn during and after workouts. This also translates to a greater calorie requirement. If fat loss or maintenance is a goal for you, skipping leg day is a major oversight.
Strong Legs = Better Fitness Foundation
In conjunction with a strong core, reliable leg strength is literally your foundation for just about any movement in the gym and in life. Nearly every movement worth its weight in salt requires a strong set of legs to reach its full potential. Without properly trained legs, all of these activities suffer and you invite injuries into your everyday routine.
The best way to create and build an athletic foundation is through closed kinetic chain compound movements like squats, deadlifts, leg press and lunges. Focusing solely on isolation movements that tend to target smaller muscle groups or segments of a strength curve (eg. leg extension, hamstring curl, calf raise, etc.) don’t pack nearly the same punch when it comes to balance, stability and proprioceptive development.
Plus, these movements translate to everything from picking up a moving box to sitting on the toilet. Having a body that functions well in space means having capable leg power.
The list of reasons as to why one should never let their friends skip leg day is extensive, more than just what I talked about here.
A good leg workout helps improve muscle growth through your whole body, ramps up your metabolism, and helps create a strong foundation on which practically all other movement is built upon.
Passing up leg day is a cardinal sin in the weight training world and if you consider yourself even half a friend, you’ll drag your buddy for even thinking about it.
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