Every week people hit the gym and avoid a particular exercise routine.
The problem is, by avoiding these exercises, you’re leaving serious results and improvements to your health on the table.
This exercise routine is leg day.
Leg day simply refers to workouts that focus on or include exercises that strengthen your lower body. It is made up of exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts that target your quads (front of your thighs), hamstrings (back of your thighs), glutes (butt/hip muscles), and calves.
First let’s talk about why most people skip leg day and lower body exercises.
1. Leg day is hard
As we’ll get into below, training your legs is tough. It requires a lot more energy compared to training your arms.
This means leg workouts really get your heart-rate up and cause more work on your body than traditional upper-body workouts. For this reason, many people shy away from working their legs out and stick to exercises, especially upper body movements that they’re more comfortable with.
This is a recipe for plateauing when it comes to your results. Yes, leg workouts are more challenging than upper body workouts, but that’s what we want as tougher workouts yield better results.
2. You have a current or previous leg injury or pain
Another reason leg or lower body workouts are avoided is because of a current leg injury or pain. Often these injuries are at the ankle, knee, or hip.
In turn, people will avoid working out their lower body all together to avoid further injury.
Look we get it. Being in pain is not fun. We have good news for you though. Your lower body is made up of a large amount muscles and joints.
We can use this to our advantage and workout our legs with certain lower body exercises that both work around your current injury and actually strengthen and improve the affected area. Yes, by building a stronger lower body, you can drastically improve pain and injury.
Often avoiding working out your legs all together, makes things worse by weakening and stiffening the injured area.
3. You aren’t sure what to do or how to do it
The final reason many people skip leg day is that they are just unsure of what to do or how to get started.
They walk into the gym or their home workout area and see a variety of equipment and exercises but stick to only the ones they know.
These are typically more upper body dominant exercises like presses and bicep curls. This often leads to a plateau in results as you miss out on the enormous benefits of lower body workouts and your body gets used to the same old routine.
So now that we’ve covered the reasons why most people skip leg day and the impact that it has on your results, it’s time to get into why your leg workouts are important to do.
We’ve also included 3 sample leg day workouts that are perfect for all levels to get you started. Enjoy!
Here are 3 reasons why you should never skip leg day along with your sample leg day workout.
1. Leg day yields better overall results
As we stated earlier, leg workouts are tough, but this is a good thing. First, lower body workouts cause more metabolic stress than upper body workouts. This simply means, they get your heart rate higher and burn more calories both during and after your workouts, compared to upper body exercise.
This means lower body workouts and exercises are superior for improving both your fat-loss and overall fitness level.
Secondly, your lower body includes a lot more muscle mass than your upper body. This is a real opportunity to transform your results. Why? Because the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is. This means you’re going to burn more calories throughout the day, leading to better and longer lasting results.
It’s important to note that research shows, unless we focus on strength training, particularly at our legs, we can lose 5LBS of muscle every decade. This results in a 5% reduction in the speed of your metabolism, making it harder and harder to lose weight.
Transform your results by not skipping leg day!
2. Leg day improves overall workout performance
The stronger your legs are, the better your workouts are going to be.
Leg strength allows you to move faster and with more intensity. It allows you to complete more advanced exercises over time. And it allows you to increase the weights you use.
With a strong foundation of lower body strength, everything else fitness related only gets better.
Your running improves. Your yoga improves. Your strength training improves. Your cardio improves. Your workout intensity improves.
EVERYTHING IMPROVES and so do your results!
The better your workout performance gets, the better your results will be.
3. Leg day improves overall health and quality of life
As we age, it’s important to not only think about our health and results in the now, but also in the future.
Research shows a direct link between muscle mass and longevity.
Yes, the stronger we are and the more muscle we have, the longer and healthier we live. A recent study found that those with low muscle and strength are 50% more likely to die at a younger age compared to their stronger peers.
Muscle and strength protects against injury (especially at your knees and hips), chronic diseases, and a shorter lifespan.
Not only does stronger legs protect your life, it improves it.
As you age, leg strength, bone density, and muscle mass decreases. This means our ability to walk, run, climb stairs, and be mobile decreases. It also drastically increases your chances of injury, and lower body aches and pains.
If you’re a bit like me, you want to enjoy your older years and want to be as mobile and active as possible. Having a strong lower body will allow you to continue to travel, enjoy your family, and live a longer, more independent life.
Leg day can literally save your life. Don’t skip it!
Here are 3 awesome sample leg day workouts:
Workout 1: Body-Weight Leg Workout
Here’s how it works: Set a timer for 10 minutes. Perform each exercise for 10 reps and see how many total rounds you can complete. You don’t need any weights for this one.
Here are your exercises:
1. Body Weight Jump
2. Body Weight Squat 1.5
3. Sprinter Reverse Lunge (each side)
4. Glute Bridge March (each side)
Workout 2: Kettlebell Leg Workout
Here’s how it works: Complete each exercise for 40 seconds and then rest 20 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Complete 3-5 total rounds. Grab 1 kettlebell and let’s rock!
Here are your exercises:
1. Kettlebell Clean and Squat
2. Kettlebell 1-Leg Deadlift (each side)
3. Kettlebell In-Step Lateral Lunge
4. Kettlebell Swing
Workout 3: Dumbbell Leg Workout
Here’s how it works: Complete 10 reps of each exercise and then rest :30-1:00. Then complete 8 reps of each exercise and rest :30-1:00. Next complete 6 reps of each exercise and so on until you finish 1 rep of each. Grab 2 dumbbells and let’s get to work!
Here are your exercises:
1. Dumbbell Snatch (each side)
2. Dumbbell Split Squat (each side)
3. Dumbbell Front Squat
4. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Have FUN and get STRONG!
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