You heard me. It’s time to break down the barriers and have everyone who lifts or is thinking about lifting appreciate the wonders of leg day. Here are 4 reasons why everyone needs to train legs at LEAST once a week.
1.Legs are the Foundation of Strength
Your legs are like the trunk of a tree. It’s the foundation, the base, and the reason why certain trees are huge, grow tall and people go to admire, and it’s also the reason why certain trees are skinny, easily sway in the wind and uproot. Don’t be a tree with a skinny trunk. Your body works from the ground up – everything your body does begins with the contact your feet make with the ground, and energy is translated from the ground up through your body. Having a solid and strong base makes your overall strength improve and makes you a more balanced person. Everything you do starts with your legs, and that’s the mentality you need in the gym as well.
2. Muscular Imbalances Create Injury
Neglecting your legs will only lead to injury and muscular imbalances. If you don’t work out your legs, you’ll be as unstable as a house of cards. It also creates a lot of imbalance throughout your entire body which can lead to injury in your hips and knees, as well as diminish your growth and strength potential for the rest of your body. Squatting and training legs will improve your deadlift numbers, and even your bench. Ignoring any muscle is bad for your body, and since the legs are your biggest muscle group, this is a huge mistake and can have long term repercussions.
3. Improve Overall Strength
Partially explained above, training your legs helps grow your entire body and make you stronger everywhere else. Almost every exercise involves making contact with your feet and the ground. This means your legs are used, to some extent, in every single exercise in the gym. On top of this, squatting and compound exercises for the legs use other muscle groups as well including your back, shoulders, and core. So you’re missing out on extra training for the muscles you love by skipping leg day.
It’s not hard to convince and athlete to train legs, because almost every athlete understands the importance of leg strength. But even if you aren’t an athlete, you should train like one. Gaining power and strength in the legs helps daily life – it makes moving furniture easier, walking up the stairs becomes no problem, and almost any other daily activity is benefited from training your legs. Gaining explosiveness and power in your legs makes you athletic and more functional, and a functional and useful body is always an attractive body, an attractive body is not always a functional and useful one.
Just because we can’t see our legs as often as the rest of our body does not mean it should be ignored at all. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Those upper body muscles that we all love to train are often times the less useful and functional ones. Great, your biceps help elbow flexion (hint, elbow flexion is one of the least functional uses of the body. Sarcasm intended) and look sexy, but training them twice a week instead of using that second day to train legs needs to stop. You’re not doing yourself any favors.
Here’s a little program to follow and to be performed once a week. It’s great if you currently don’t train legs, or if you want to take some of these moves and drop them in your normal routine.
These moves are to be performed in this order, with rest intervals of about 1 to 2 minutes in between each set. (Each of the exercises below are linked to YouTube videos to demonstrate and instruct on each of the moves.)
1. Squat – 5×5
2. Dumbbell Step Ups – 3×8 (that’s 8 for each leg)
3. Leg Press – 3×8
4. Single Leg Split Squat – 3×8 (8 each leg)
5. Neutral Calf Raises – 3×15