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Love Your Leg Day!

Don’t skip out on your leg workout!  Your legs are the strongest part of your body. Not only does it carry your body weight, it also requires the most endurance. You use them often to: walk from place to place, climb up and down stairs, dance, drive, bend down to pick up a child, get up from a chair, get out of bed, play sports etc.

 Legs represent the largest muscles in your body and as such you must train them with heavy weights. In turn, this type of leg workout will increase your metabolism and increase your fat burning power.
  1. Great Glutes.  Enough said!  Who wouldn’t want a nice shapely derriere that even J-Lo would envy? Developing a nice tush is just one of the many benefits to training legs.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
  2. Improve your overall strength. Your core muscles will become stronger as your legs get stronger thus increasing your overall strength. Your upper-body strength will improve thus helping to improve the muscle tone in the upper-body. 
  3. Burn more calories.   As opposed to exercising small muscle groups, multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts or lunges will require your heart and brain to work harder thereby increasing your metabolic levels. 
  4. Reduce your risk of injury.  Lower-body strength lessens the likelihood of injuring your back. Performing functional exercises (exercises that mimic everyday movements), such as lunges and squats, promotes stability in the knee which helps to prevent injuries to the knee.
  5. Increased Mental Strength. Here’s a little trade secret… leg workouts are physically & mentally hard. That’s why you see most people focusing on their upper body. However, doing squats and deadlifts will build your mental endurance & character like no other exercise. You will indeed become a Super Woman!
  6. Improve your balance.  Having a strong lower body just might help you to avoid slipping while walking on a icy sidewalk. Exercises like side lunges and deadlifts will increase your stability, develop your proprioception (the ability to know where your limbs are in space and time without looking at them) and help keep you ready for the unexpected fall.
  7. Increase your range of motion.  It’s very important that you maintain or improve your level of flexibility when you train weights.  Learning the correct movement patters of exercises such as the squat, deadlift and lunge will improve your range of motion.
  8. Superhero efficiency for everyday tasks. Regular leg workout routine will help you to move efficiently while you perform every day tasks such as picking up boxes, carrying groceries, or moving furniture. Your lower body is used to squatting down and hinging at the hips. Even if your arms are strong, you’ll be more efficient when lifting heavy objects when you squat down and engage those glutes and hamstrings instead of straining your back.
  9. Relieve lower back pain.  If you spend the majority of your day sitting or standing, chances are you have or are experiencing some back pain from weak hamstrings and short and tight hip flexors. It’s much better for them to stretch your hip flexors and strengthen the hamstrings, glutes and abdominal muscles.” 
  10. Running doesn’t replace leg day. Running, cycling or soccer will never work your legs like squats and deadlifts. Include both exercises in your routine and see how you move more efficiently and safely in sports and how your upper-body will strength and appearance will improve.

As with any exercise routine, seek professional advice from a trusted personal trainer, coach or physical therapist prior to beginning an exercise program.  You want to ensure that you are training safely and effectively.

Sample Leg Routine

  • Barbell Squat
    3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
    3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Leg Press
    3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Leg Extensions
    3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls
    3 sets of 10-20 reps

Sources:

http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/never-skip-leg-day/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/teen-joe3.htm

http://thescienceofeating.com/2015/01/03/benefits-of-training-your-legs/

https://stronglifts.com/5-reasons-why-train-legs-squats/