Let’s face it—leg day isn’t everyone’s favourite gym routine. Is it worth the pain if it doesn’t hit those mirror muscles—arms, shoulders and chest? Of course, it is! Your legs are the foundation of your body, and they are where a lot of your strength and balance come from.
When you’re feeling unmotivated to work out those leg muscles, here are six reasons why you shouldn’t skip leg day:
Help lower back and knee pain
Often, weak glutes, quads, and hamstrings mean your lower back has to do some extra heavy lifting in your day-to-day, leading to lower back pain. So, if you train your leg muscles and build a strong base, you’ll alleviate a lot of the stress on your lower back and decrease your risk of lower back issues.
Your hamstrings and your quads are also your primary knee stabilizers. The stronger and more flexible those muscles are, the better your chance of keeping your knees healthy.
Up your sports game
Sports are played from the ground up—even skills like throwing a ball, swinging a bat or taking a slapshot depend on your lower body for optimal power. When you use your leg muscles to help drive your weight into the ground and push off of it, you create power through your core and, ultimately, through your swing, shot, etc.
Whether you are an elite athlete, the ringer for your friend’s beer league baseball team, a casual men’s league soccer player, or a weekend family skier, leg days help give you the power to be your best, no matter the sport.
For those who enjoy a pick-up game here or there, leg days also help avoid injury by ensuring your muscles are in good form—even when you get that last-minute call-up.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Research shows that guys who take part in resistance training three times a week experience higher testosterone levels right after working out and that 30-minute weightlifting sessions boost levels by more than 20 percent.
More than any other exercise, leg workouts like squats provide a solid boost of testosterone. So next time you feel sub-par, work those hamstrings, thighs and calf muscles for a shot of the superpowered sex hormone and increase your energy and mood. And hey, if your partner is starting to notice those newly defined quads, calves or butt, that testosterone might just get put to another great use.
Age more gracefully
We will all start to feel our age hit us eventually—but we can do things that will help us feel spry for long er. Leg training is one of the tools in your workout toolbox to keep some of the more painful signs of aging at bay.
Strong hamstrings and quads are like shock absorbers—whenever your foot hits the ground, they help take the stress and pressure off your knees and back. So, naturally, the stronger those leg muscles are, the more absorbing they can do, and the less you’ll feel those nagging knees.
Having stronger legs will also help you maintain a solid physical solid base with more stability; in turn, you’ll enhance mobility, range of motion and coordination. As you age, your legs are what help you physically feel balanced. If you maintain that balance, you’ll avoid imbalances and injuries from potential falls in your senior years. Poor balance can lead to falling from simple things, like tying your shoes or getting out of the shower. You’d be surprised how often we need agility and balance in our everyday life—and how much leg days can keep both in check.
Burn fat fast
Leg exercises–like squats, lunges, and leg presses–burn fat fast. The reason is that your leg muscles are a part of the biggest muscle group in your body. When you work out the biggest muscle group, you use more energy. Plus, most of the common leg exercises, like squats, also work your core and glutes as well. The more muscles you work, the more calories you burn. It’s that simple.
Keep your body looking its best
Leg training also evens out your overall physique, giving you a more proportional and symmetrical body shape. For those motivated to get those mirror muscles on point—consider the symmetrical body from working out all muscle groups a bonus.
What are some of your favourite leg day exercises? Share your go-tos in the comments below for those ready to get their leg day game back on track.
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