Many people dread leg training because let’s face it: it’s tough. All those lunges, step-ups, and squats can oftentimes leave you reeling from exhaustion.
But training your legs will allow you to reap a plethora of benefits — on top of getting a nice derrière! Here are eight reasons to never skip your leg workouts, ever.
Speed Up Your Weight Loss
Your legs comprise some major muscle groups, including the quadriceps and hamstrings. Your lower body also holds the gluteus maximus, which is your body’s largest muscle. Training these areas will force your body to work harder and hence, allow you to burn a significant amount of calories. As more energy is required to repair these huge muscles, your metabolic rate will also increase. This means that you will be burning more calories even at rest! Weekly leg training is a sure-fire way to maintain your weight or achieve a leaner figure.
A Proportionate Figure
It is a lot easier to care about and upkeep your ‘mirror’ muscles — the upper body muscles you immediately see when you look in the mirror. After all, you always want your arms and shoulders to look good when you’re wearing sleeveless dresses or tank tops.
However, neglecting your legs can make you appear disproportionate and ‘top-heavy’. Giving your legs more focus can go a long way in helping you to achieve a balanced physique and even that ideal hourglass figure.
Reduce The Risk Of Injuries
Appearances aside, leg training can also help you to build a more functional body that is less prone to injuries. Frequent lower back pain is indicative of a weak core and weak stabilising muscles in your legs. Working your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and glutes will improve your imbalances, mobility and overall body conditioning, which can avert a host of issues such as lower back pain and ACL injuries.
Complements Other Sports
Possessing stamina and leg strength is pivotal to your daily activities. Think about it — you are practically using your legs every single day! Whether you run, swim, cycle, or play field sports, you will find that leg training can significantly improve your athleticism and performance, as well as reduce your risk of knee-related injuries.
Simultaneously Work Secondary Muscles
Leg training does not solely impact your legs. Muscles in other parts of your body are going to benefit too! Many leg exercises harness multiple muscles and joints as secondary focusses. Compound movements, such as squats and deadlifts, require you to employ other muscles like your back and core. Even lunges require core strength to keep your body upright and balanced. Incorporate more leg day sessions and you will soon have a much stronger and leaner body.
Leg exercises may be physically arduous, but they will definitely challenge your will, push you to your limits, and build your mental resilience. Once you adapt to weekly leg training, you will likely find an improvement to your focus and mental endurance.
Power Your Lifts
Your legs form the base of your body, and some might even say that your legs are the fundamental component to being fit.
As a matter of fact, having stronger legs will enable you to get stronger because ultimately, it is your lower body power that can help you to propel weight forward. Whether it’s lifting more weight in the gym, flipping tyres, or shifting furniture, your legs are an amazing source of strength.
Cellulite occurs when the connective tissue beneath your skin weakens and loses its elasticity. Your lower body, especially your thighs, tend to hold onto more cellulite if you are not physically active. To reduce the appearance of cellulite ‘dimples’, you can strengthen your leg and glute muscles to tighten connective tissue.
Look Good In Heels
Another advantage of having strong, toned legs? You will look stunning in short dresses and high heels (the elevated angle of your legs in heels can really highlight your amazing calves). Shapely legs are sexy, so work on them and put your best foot forward!
Leg Training Tips
You don’t have to lift heavy to make leg gains. Start out with four sets of bodyweight squats and lunges with a maximum of 15 repetitions per exercise. To switch things up, you can try dozens of variations for standard squat exercises, such as pulse squats, prisoner squats, and box squats — employ resistance bands to make your squats more challenging! The form is key, so be sure to practise with a mirror or ask a friend to check your form.
Keep your workouts between 45 and 60 minutes — any longer than that and your fatigued body may just be going through the motions instead of staying engaged. To fire up your metabolism for the entire day, do your leg workouts in the morning. If you are short on time, you can always combine two exercises to create a ‘superset’. Lastly, you should always remember to fuel up properly with protein-rich foods and some carbohydrates after your leg workouts.