The saying is always sung by devoted gym rats “do not skip leg day”. Legs are easily the most skipped muscle by most regular gym goers. They are the least noticeable muscle on the body (in terms of gains) and working them can be the least fun. Despite these facts I have become a huge advocate for working legs. My senior year of high school I stopped working legs because I simply did not like to. But by the end of the year it became very noticeable as my upper body was a lot bigger than my lower body and trust me it did not look good. It took me about a full year to even my body back out. Since then I have seldom skipped a single leg day. Here are my top reasons to not skip a leg day.
“The legs feed the wolves”. All sports use your legs significantly and the stronger your legs are the better balanced, and faster you will be. The explosiveness that all athletes want begins in the gym on leg day. Look at all the top athletes in the world and you will notice a common theme: their legs are like tree trunks. It is most noticeable in running backs, a position that requires explosive, shiftiness, and power. Also, having stronger legs and core will help to prevent injury as you will not be pushed around as much and your muscles will act as protection. So, if you work out consistently and play sports competitively or recreationally you might as well help out your game because who doesn’t love being the best.
Upper Body Gains
It is believed that working your legs releases testosterone and increases your overall gains. There is no concrete scientific proof that the increased release of testosterone will increase overall gains. However, from the experience of others and myself I believe that working lower body does increase upper body for a few reasons. Deadlifts, lunges, and crossfit exercises are among many other leg exercises that do involve your upper body, mainly your shoulders, traps and forearms. The added core and stability will allow you to engage your upper body muscles more. I remember before I began training legs again I was stuck and not able to achieve new personal best lifts in bench press and shoulder press. Once my legs got stronger I was able to achieve new personal records. Although this could have been attributed to a variety of things, having a stronger core and legs are among the main reasons.
Everyone Loves a Nice Butt
It is hard to find a person that doesn’t love a nice shaped butt. Jenn Selter has made a career off her wildly nice bum all of which, she attributes to her workouts which focus on legs. But it’s not just men that love a girl with a nice butt, women really do check out guy’s butts. From what I have read and heard from girls if a guy has a nice butt it enhances the way he moves and makes him to appear more masculine and confident. The butt is the largest muscle on the human body. If a man has a muscular butt it is a sign of athleticism and an overall well built body and a flat butt displays the opposite. So, the next time you are thinking about skipping leg day remember, someone is going to notice.
You Look Pretty Damn Bad Ass
The legs are the body’s largest and strongest muscle. Thus, your leg workouts will require you to lift your highest amounts of weight. What seem like a lot of weight on the bench press are peanuts on the squat rack. It is like I always say “what looks cooler than two plates? Three!” When I look at my max squat and deadlift now compared to what it was when I started I feel pretty damn good about myself. It makes me love leg day just a little bit more. However, do remember to always use proper form and never attempt anything too heavy without a spotter. This is especially true for deadlifts although a spotter cannot help you lift the weight back up they can tell you when your form is beginning to slip in which case you should drop the weight right away. Proper form trumps looking cool 100% of the time.
Working Legs Burns More Calories
As I have mentioned before your gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body. Thus, doing exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges that work your glutes will require higher levels of metabolism and will work your heart relatively more than working smaller muscles in your body. Compare your upper body workout days to your lower body workout days and think about how you feel at the end of each of them. I think everyone can agree that the walk out of the gym on leg day feels like a marathon compared to any upper body day.
Increase in Metabolism
Lifting weights puts a considerable amount of strain on the body. In order to recover, the bodies metabolism rises and stays high even when you are done working out. Since leg workouts burn the most calories due to the large size of the muscle it only makes sense that the bodies metabolism is highest after intense leg workouts and the body requires more recovery time afterwards.
Working your legs allows you to train the largest muscles in your body. Neglecting to do so will leave you a disproportionate, subordinate athlete. There is a plethora of benefits to be explored by doing so and very few reasons to support skipping it. Yes, I know it sucks but good things do not come easy. So who’s ready for leg day this week?!