If you consider yourself a true bodybuilder, you’ll know right off the bat, just how brutal it can be to train your legs. Leg day in the gym is, without question, the toughest training day of the week, and there have been many occasions when bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts in general for that matter, have pushed themselves too hard when training legs, and have paid the price, usually in the form of horrendous DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), puking in front of everybody, or, as is usually the case, a bit of both. We all know how beneficial resistance training can be, even for people that aren’t looking to pile on huge amounts of muscle mass, yet in terms of important muscle groups, the legs are, without question, one of the most vital muscle groups to train. Despite this, a large percentage of people who lift weights on a regular basis, do not in fact, train their legs regularly, or ever for that matter. If you’re one of those people, here are 5 reasons why you should never skip leg day.
So you aren’t known as “that guy”
Virtually all gyms up and down the country will have “that guy” – the guy who trains like a beast, who virtually lives in the gym, that eats all of his meals out of a Tupperware, and drinks protein shakes and amino acids like they’re going out of fashion. You take a look at him with his skin-tight t-shirt, or his stringer vest, and he looks like a beast, with muscles in places that most people don’t even have places. However, it’s rare that you ever see him in shorts, and that you will ever see him training legs. His upper body will be huge, whereas his lower body, well, that is a different matter entirely. He may be suffering with what is known as “chicken leg syndrome” in which his already small legs, look disproportionately smaller in comparison to his upper body. Sure, he bench presses, he curls, he rows, and he presses, but you never see him squatting, and you never see him training legs. Don’t be the guy with a reputation for skipping leg day, and don’t be the guy with small and skinny chicken legs, and a huge upper body.
Increased hormone production
Another reason to never skip leg day, is the fact that training your legs will help you build muscle all over your body, and not just on your legs either. You see, the legs are home to some of the largest muscles in your body, especially the quadriceps, and as training these muscles is so tough, studies have revealed that heavy compound training which specifically targets the legs, could in fact result in an increased amount of natural hormone production and secretion. Experts have found that exercises such as barbell squats, and other heavy compound lifts, can increase the amounts of growth hormone and testosterone that is secreted by the body. Both of these hormones play vital roles in muscle growth and repair, so the more of them that there is, the more muscle you will build, and the quicker you will recover.
Improved athletic performance
Training your legs however, is not only beneficial for people looking to look better in a pair of shorts, but training your legs is also beneficial for people who wish to become better athletes in the process. Think about it: virtually every sport you can think of, requires you to generate some form of power from your lower body, particularly sports and events which involve a lot of running. By training your legs however, you will be building up more muscle, and more specifically, more fast-twitch muscle fibres, which are the muscle fibres that are responsible for generating explosive speed and power. Sprinters for example, really benefit from more explosive power generated via their legs, as that will help them to run faster. For people looking to increase force, speed, and power, training the lower body is a fantastic way of doing just that.
Less chance of injury
If you are a relatively active individual, studies have found that training your legs is a great way of helping you to reduce your likelihood of injury, especially in the knees. Research has found that functional exercises including squats and lunges, can help to strengthen the knee, and promote stability, which will help to reduce your likelihood of suffering a debilitating knee injury such as a torn ACL, which is actually a very common injury in sportspeople and fairly active individuals. By strengthening the muscles, you also make it much tougher to suffer from a torn or pulled muscle, providing of course, that you warm up and cool down properly, before and after any form of physical activity.
You’ll look better
Finally, as if all of the above wasn’t enough to convince you to train your legs more, how about the fact that training your legs will simply help you to look better and will help you to build a better looking physique. Individuals with large upper bodies, and large, toned, and muscular-looking legs, generally have very aesthetic and symmetrical physiques, which most people find very appealing. When wearing shorts and bathing clothes for example, rather than having skinny chicken legs, you will have toned and powerful-looking legs, which generally look much more appealing. As mentioned, not only will you look better in shorts, but you will also look more like an athlete and more like a person that is truly committed to their training and to building the most functional, and most aesthetic-looking physique that they possibly can.