Why You Should Learn to Love Leg Day

They are at the gym all the time, those guys with their enormous chests and arms. You probably heard them before you saw them, with all the grunting and shouting that goes on. Something you may also have noticed from time to time are the ones with the upper body that could lift a mountain, combined with skinny legs sticking out from their gym shorts. These are the people who are working out to please their own eyes and are lacking one of the core groups of exercising in their routine, leg day.

Everyone generally hates working out their legs. It is a grueling experience that was led to the creation of thousands of Internet “memes” that mock any form of squats or deadlifts. That is because so many people do not understand the importance of exercising their legs, and the best ways to go about it.

When you exercise your legs, much of the fatigue stems from using your entire body during the lift. Your legs bear the brunt of the weight of course, and your abdominals get a great workout from assisting the legs in the lift. Your chest and arms also benefit because of how you grip the weights during the lift, and how you rack the weight. When you add up the increased mental fortitude gained from doing leg exercises, and the symmetry your body will begin to show after a time, there is no excuse for anyone to skip out on these essential workouts. The only barrier that stands in the way of many people is the mental one. Below are some exercises you can do that will make sure you are getting the most out of every repetition.

Single Leg Lunges: Grab two dumbbells of a weight you can control, and stand on the side of a workout bench. Face away from the bench and pick up one of your legs so that you are resting your foot on the bench behind you. With the leg that is still planted on the floor, slowly lower yourself down until the back of your leg is parallel to the ground, and then return to starting position. Do this in sets of eight or less depending on how much weight you have in your hands. This is a fantastic lift because it isolates your quad muscles, helping to build them faster.

Deadlift: The deadlift has been around forever, but amazing for leg and core strength. Stand over a barbell with your feet shoulder width apart. Take the bar in a shoulder width overhand grip. Make sure to keep your arms and back straight as you bend your knees, and lift the bar up to waist height, then returning the starting position. When you start to get used to this lift you can add more steps by doing a power clean up to your shoulders, and even going from there down into a front squat. If you are unfamiliar with this exercise ask a trainer at the gym to show you the proper technique to avoid injury.

Calf Raise: Lastly, the calf raise can be done anywhere there is a step. Using your own body weight, place the balls of your feet on the edge of a step and push yourself up and down. This is great for bulking up your calves, and you can do it anywhere if you have a couple minutes with a step nearby. These are only a couple of ways to exercise your legs. There are probably thousands of different exercises to try so look around the Internet or gym to see what you can get excited about. There are too many benefits to having a strong base. Leg day should be attacked with a passion not dreaded and ignored.

 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Travis Isaacs

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