Why You Shouldn’t Skip Leg Day
If you stop and think about what muscles you usually want to show off, your abs, biceps, maybe even your lats come to mind pretty quickly.
You may not be so quick to think about showing off your legs. For the sake of your health and wellbeing though, you need to be giving your legs proper attention too.
As tempting as it can be at times, you definitely shouldn’t skip leg day.
Maintain a Balance
If you think about your body in terms of blocked sections stacked on top of each other, you quickly realize that the key to being balanced is to start from the ground up.
Strong leg muscles give you stability and balance. When combined with developed core muscles, you’ll likely find your balance is greatly increased.
Developing your leg muscles also helps you look balanced. It’s easy to spot people who skip leg day. They tend to be built on the top, but pretty scrawny at the bottom.
So-called “mirror muscles” often take the spotlight because they’re so easily visible, but if you want to have a balanced physique you need to focus on your bottom half as much as the top half.
Leg Exercises Build Muscle
Some of your body’s biggest muscles are found in your legs. If you want to get the most bang for your buck and develop the most muscle you can, leg exercises are a must.
This has implications for other areas of exercise as well. Stronger leg muscles give you more power when running.
This helps you go faster and farther, and helps you have extra gas in the tank when it comes to making that last push for the finish. Building muscles in your legs has practical, everyday benefits too.
Lifting or moving furniture suddenly becomes much easier when you have strong, well-developed leg muscles, combined with proper lifting techniques.
Carrying in all the grocery bags at one time? No problem. That heavy box of books needs to be moved? You’ll have it covered.
People don’t often think of weight training as promoting cardiovascular health. That’s what cardio exercises are for, right?
As it turns out, leg exercises support cardiovascular health as well. As you age, your veins can develop diseases that exercise can help prevent.
Time, combined with poor diet and exercise habits, can cause the walls of your veins and the valves within them to weaken.
This results in blood pooling in your legs instead of being carried back up to your heart to be recirculated.
Your leg muscles can provide extra structural support for your veins and promote healthy circulation, but only if they’re strong enough to.
Leg exercises that strengthen your calves especially can be highly beneficial in this regard.
Protecting Yourself from Injury
Injuries can pose a huge setback, regardless of whether you’re a performance athlete or a weekend warrior.
Fortunately, leg day can help you protect yourself from injury. Greater leg strength promotes greater levels of stability. This helps protect more vulnerable joints such as your knee, reducing your risk of ACL tears.
To get the greatest protective gains, perform functional exercises that strengthen the muscles you use in everyday movements and train them to do them safely.
With enough repetition, you won’t have to think twice about the form you use when picking up something heavy.
Reducing Lower Back Pain
80% of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. You might think that you need to focus on developing your core to prevent back pain, and you wouldn’t be entirely incorrect.
Leg day is also important to helping reduce pain in your lower back. Strong, balanced legs give you a strong foundation to start from. They help keep your muscles in balance with one another, which helps you have good posture.
With the vast amounts of people who sit to work, having good posture is essential to protecting your lower back from pain.
Burning More Calories
Developing your muscles on leg day means larger muscles. Larger muscles burn more calories. This is one of the reasons why weight training helps people burn fat.
Your muscles aren’t really picky about where they get their fuel from. Glucose from carbohydrates tends to be the quickest source of fuel, so it typically gets burned first.
Larger muscles demand more fuel though, so the larger they are the more quickly you’ll burn through glucose stores and the faster you’ll move on to burning fat.
Keep in mind that muscle mass is more dense than fat mass, so if you’re building muscle you’re more likely to see positive changes in your body composition than you are to see the number on the scale decrease.
Leg day plays an important role in protecting your overall health.
It helps you stay balanced, build muscle, and keep your veins healthy. It’s also critical to protecting yourself from injury, reducing lower back pain, and burning calories.
All of this serves to make you a happier, healthier you. For your own sake, don’t skip leg day.
Read this next: 4 Exercises to Keep Your Knees Working Well