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3 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day

What did your most recent nightmare consist of? Did it contain lunges, squats, deadlifts, or single-leg deadlifts? For some people who exercise, those exercises are as close to a nightmare as you can get in real life.

All too often the things we wish to avoid are the most beneficial in the long term. This is particularly true for leg exercises. Want to be more athletic? Train legs. Lose fat? Train legs. See your abs? Train legs. Improve your health? Train legs. 

Here are three reasons why leg exercises are so important:

Burn Calories & Fat

What uses more energy, a sedan or an 18-wheeler? Obviously, the big truck. It takes more energy to move big things. The same is true for muscles. Your leg muscles are much bigger than any of the muscles in your upper body (no matter how many bicep curls you do). That’s why leg exercises burn more calories than upper body exercises, they simply use more muscle mass. 

If your goal is to burn fat to look leaner or for health reasons, focus as much energy as you can on your leg exercises. Do more weight and reps. The extra energy you burn will make a big difference because fat loss occurs globally. That means you can lose fat even from your arms by burning calories with leg exercises.

Athleticism

Most adults are past the phase of striving to be a pro athlete. However, athleticism isn’t reserved for sports fanatics. Every time you step into a gym, practice yoga, or go through a pilates workout, you’re using athleticism. Outside the gym, you use your body to lift, walk, side-step aggressive New Yorkers and run to catch the bus or subway.

Stronger legs make you faster and more agile. Leg exercises also improve your balance much more than upper body alternatives. You also use your core in most leg exercises to stabilize your body, which carries over to real life. Your legs are the foundation of your body and it pays to build a strong foundation.

Cardio and Overall Health

Leg exercises are more taxing for your cardiovascular system. They raise your heart rate more than upper body exercises. In other words, you get a cardio workout even though you’re lifting weights. The stronger your cardiovascular system is, the safer you are from heart disease, diabetes and even (some evidence suggests) serious illness from COVID-19. 

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