A number of people shudder whenever they hear the words ‘leg day’, and that’s even inclusive of the hard-core trainers and gym fanatics.
This is because of all body workouts, leg recovery takes a longer and more painful time. Additionally, leg exercises recruit more muscles than any other workout. Despite all the obvious reasons, leg day is key in any workout regime, according to Gym Bravo fitness trainer John Kihumba.
“Legs provide the foundation of everything related to movement. They move us from point A to point B; they give us the ability to climb, leap and rise from a seated position,” says John.
“Developing strength and power are just a few of the many benefits of a leg workout. Training these large muscles also improves athletic performance, making it easier to jump, run, kick, pivot, balance, accelerate, decelerate and turn. A strong lower body helps prevent injuries as well.”
If one is not a fan of leg day, they might think that they can get the same benefits from exercise just by training the upper body.
“Truthfully, you can build muscles in your chest, back, shoulders and arms without training the large muscles in your legs, but if you want to maximize muscle-building results, you need to embrace the importance of working out legs.”
“This is especially because the muscles in your lower body, which include the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves, all play a key role in several compound movements,” John reiterates.
All in all, skipping leg day one too many times can make one unbalanced and more susceptible to injury. A sports player, especially, will be slower and weaker.
John breaks down the most crucial leg exercises he swears by, starting from the beginner level to the most difficult ones. He encourages two simple approaches to go through the workouts: lifting weights in the workout and concentrating on the exercises that safely allow for progressive overload.“Some of the good examples of leg workouts include squats using dumbbells, barbell or kettlebells, deadlifts, step-ups, leg presses, lunges and hip thrusts.”
“Besides the general benefits of weightlifting; more lean muscle mass, decreased body fat and stronger bones, training these large muscles in the legs promotes the release of hormones that help build lean muscle mass, maximizing your results for all the other muscle groups."
But the muscles involved are not only the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves in the legs, as mentioned above. For example, during back squats, your glutes and hamstrings are worked, but also your upper-back muscles because you need to support a barbell.
Gym Bravo fitness trainer John Kihumba.