When you think about your personal fitness goals, your legs probably aren’t at the top of the list. Most of us tend to think more about having large biceps, bulging pectorals, or a shredded six-pack.
However, the legs are the main engine that drives the upper body. Therefore, the strength and toughness of the lower body is just as important as that of the upper body, and quite possibly more important. With this in mind, we are going to give you some other reasons why you should never skip leg day.
Reason #1: You Don’t Want To Create An Imbalance
The last thing you want is to have a stacked upper body with a weak lower body. Not only will it make you look silly, but it will also create a strength imbalance. There are ways to correct a muscle imbalance, but it’s better to avoid putting yourself in that position.
When it comes to athletic performance, muscle balance is of the utmost importance. As you can see by looking at some research, it is considered to be one of the most important health factors for athletes, as it is related to consistency and the ability to deal with unforeseen obstacles.
Reason #2: Greater Balance And Stability
Stronger legs will nearly always provide a more stable base. Regardless of who you are or how you live, it’s always a good idea to avoid falling. Also, it is very important to maintain good balance during any strenuous physical activity. To do otherwise is to increase your risk of injury dramatically.
In this study, performed on a group of older women, it was found that increasing leg strength would also have a corresponding effect on balance. Although the test subjects still had difficulty with falls, we can rule out the factor of poor balance as a factor because their balance scores did increase significantly over the course of the study.
Reason #3: You’ll Probably Burn More Calories
If your primary goal is to burn calories, you will certainly want to put a special emphasis on leg day. If you look at a diagram of the human muscular system, you will see that the muscles of the legs are among the largest in the body. The Gluteus Maximum is the largest muscle in the human body, in case you were wondering.
If you want some proof for this fact, take a look at this. It’s a list that shows how many calories are burned (on average) for a wide variety of exercises and activities. As you can see, the highest values on the list are found next to “cycling” and “elliptical trainer.” Since both of these exercises focus primarily on the legs, it proves our point quite nicely.
Reason #4: Running Speed And Walking Endurance
If you need a practical benefit to motivate you on leg day, think about the importance of speed and endurance while walking or running. Even if you drive most of the time, there is no telling when your car could break down. Also, there are certain places where it just isn’t practical to take a car everywhere. For instance, large cities tend to have a lot of traffic. If you are only traveling a short distance, it makes more sense to walk.
If you should find yourself in an extreme situation where escape becomes necessary, your running speed could mean the difference between life and death. So, if you’re a “hardcore” kind of individual and you need something hardcore to motivate you, concentrate on that! Running can also increase bone density, especially in females.
Reason #5: You’re Less Likely To Injure Yourself
As you may know, muscle weighs more than fat. Thus, when you build your upper-body muscles, you are increasing the load on your lower body. Thus, the chance of injury is increased unless the lower body is strengthened to a similar degree.
Reason #6: You Don’t Even Have To Choose
While many of the exercises intended to develop the upper body are isolation exercises, leg exercises almost always involve some exertion of the upper body. Thus, you cannot really work your legs without giving your upper body some kind of workout as well. For instance, squats are one of the best things you can do to improve your leg strength, but they also work the abdominals and the entire core. Compound exercises exist in many forms, and many of them will do a good job of strengthening the legs while working on other muscle groups at the same time.
A Word About Safety
When doing your leg workouts, it is very important that you guard against injury to the best of your ability. You may have seen this horrific video before, but you should watch it again before you try to increase the weight on your leg lifts, just to remind you of what can happen if you go too far!
You may not have realized just how important leg workouts are. We hope that we have done a good job of educating you, and we hope that you will be able to look at your leg day as a privilege rather than a chore. After all, your legs are the foundation on which the rest of your body sits. If the foundation isn’t healthy, the building is likely to fall. If you have enjoyed this article, please like and follow us on Facebook for more great content like this.