Do you ever find yourself slacking on leg day because you’re mostly focused on your upper body development? If so, then you just signed up to hit legs twice this week! Just kidding. Seriously though, your leg workout is extremely important for the entirety of your fitness gains, not just your lower body.
Here are three simple reasons why you need to make leg day your best day:
1) Posterior Chain Strength
Posterior chain strength is the strength you have running through every muscle leading from your feet through your entire back. To perform an essential leg day exercise like a back squat, you need to use all of the muscles of the posterior chain and drive the weight upward using a concerted motion through your body. This causes a massive level of muscle activation and training these types of compound movements will build a strong foundation of comprehensive strength. For example, think about how you set up for a bench press. You keep tension in your entire body with your shoulders, back, and legs positioned to add drive to the lift. Even though the bench press is being powered primarily through your chest, the supporting muscles are also doing work to allow you to support and lift the weight. This principle can be applied to every single lift you perform. If you want to maximize your body’s potential, you need to develop a strong muscular foundation based on posterior chain strength.
2) Hormonal Benefits
Keep the description of the squat in the last paragraph fresh in your mind as you read this. When you compare a big movement like the squat to an isolation exercise like a bicep curl, it’s obvious which exercise has a more comprehensive effect on the body. When you perform a squat, there is a huge amount of stress and muscle breakdown occurring in the body. This causes the body to release a maximal amount of testosterone to handle the work and energy output, and it’s widely known that testosterone is the primary hormone involved in muscle size and strength. Studies have also shown that heavy resistance training increases the body’s cells’ ability to uptake nutrients and increases the cell receptor’s sensitivity to anabolic hormones. Training leg based compound movements will allow you to generate these hormonal benefits and create ideal body chemistry for muscle synthesis while recovering.
Leg day has a reputation for being the toughest and most strenuous day of the lifting week. Combining large compound movements with presses, lunges, and calf work makes for an extreme amount of calorie burning and energy output. Conditioning is an often under-emphasized aspect of training. Even if you’re bulk dieting and trying to stay in a caloric surplus, your level of conditioning is still very important. If your body can endure more stress and output due to a high level of conditioning, you’ll be able to lift with more intensity for longer periods of time and reach your goals more quickly. Having a strenuous leg day workout is essential to have a baseline level of conditioning, and ideally, you should incorporate at least a small amount of cardio or direct conditioning training to your routine. If you can’t handle the demands of leg day, you may need to re-think your lifting goals and remind yourself that it’s necessary to challenge yourself to progress.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to leg day benefits than big calves and a teardrop quad. By skipping leg day, you’re cheating yourself out of some serious benefits for your overall fitness that are in effect even after you’ve left the gym and are recovering for your next session. Also, when you really think about what it takes to have the athletic body you envision, it only makes sense that it’s necessary to train your whole body with an avid intensity. Next time leg day comes around, think about what you have to look forward to and all the improvements that are on the horizon now that you’re going to tap into these benefits.
And here’s 5 leg day workouts for mass for ya to chew on