When you walk into almost every gym or playground workout area for that matter, the majority of people will be working out every muscle except their leg muscles. I’ve always told my clients if you have any questions about what to do in the gym, typically pick the opposite of what everyone else is doing and you’ll probably off to a good start.
In my professional opinion legs are not just something you want to squeeze into your workout at some point in the week but actually are the number one muscles you should focus your training around. So walk away from the bench press, drop the barbell you’ve been excessively curling get off that treadmill and read these 8 reasons why you need to do more legs!
1. The biggest muscles are in the legs
Well at least they should be your biggest muscles haha. But no really if trained correctly your largest pieces of muscle mass are in your legs. The Glutes themselves are the densest piece of muscle in the human body, then you have those wiry cables on the front side called the Quads and on the backside called the Hammies. The on the lower half you have those pretty things called the calves. The two most common fitness goals in the world are to get stronger and to loss weight. When doing workouts focus around your legs you can place more load because they are bigger muscles. More load equals more strength and it also equals more calories being used which spikes up your metabolism to intense fat burning levels. A win win.
2. Increase Growth Hormone and Testosterone
Studies have shown that not only does working your legs increase your caloric burn but it also forces your glands to produce the muscle developing hormones called the growth hormone (GH) from the pituitary and testosterone from the sex organs. These hormones are play vital roles in human cell reproduction of muscle tissue, bone tissue and for guys reproduction tissue. So you get better muscles, bones and a sex life from working out your legs lol.
3. Become better at your sport
Almost every athletic move come from generation of strength through opening and closing of the hip. Jumping, running, throwing, kicking, flipping, punching all of these and more rely on being able to generate strong hip hinge and rotation. You can only strength this mechanism through working your legs.
4. Working legs gives you abs
Your ab muscles tie directly into your pelvic floor and also many of the muscles in your upper legs originate in the same area of your lower abdomen. So when your training legs your midsection gets tighter and tighter. Many professional bodybuilders actually don’t do any “Ab” exercises, lunges, squats and Deadlifts do all the “Ab” work they need.
5.Be more proportional
There is nothing worse than having great muscular tone and development on your top half and then little twigs on the bottom holding you up. First it just doesn’t look good chicken legs. But more importantly its super dangerous to have this unnatural disproportion. The lower body in my opinion should be twice as strong as your lower body, think about your everyday function, which muscles are doing most of the work? So if this imbalance exist you are prone to some serious injury.
6. Get a nice butt
Regardless of your gender, everyone wants a better butt. Guys I know when you look into the mirror your only looking at your chest and guns but believe me, the women/men your trying to attract are looking for a cute butt. Ladies the number one fear in life is to have your butt sag, especially after giving birth and the second fear is to lose your butt altogether. But when your doing heavy lifting with those Glutes you’ll start putting on some tight muscle mass and your butt will keep lifting as the years progress.
7. Reverse the effects of sitting
As sedentary lifestyles further increase in our society, we are sitting more and more. Excessive sitting leads to tightness in our hips and legs and loss of muscle mass (primarily in our Glutes). When you go to the gym you want to train to fight the effects of this lifestyle. So if your dealing with tight hips, knee injuries, lower back pains, the goal is to not avoid these areas in the gym but rather to attack them head on with proper strength training using free weights and calisthenics.
8. Improve your cardio conditioning
First off let me start off by saying, doing cardio (ie. running, spinning, elliptical) will not give you the legs that you want! How can this be your asking yourself? Well cardio or endurance exercises challenge only a certain part of your leg muscle tissue, what we call slow-twitch muscles fibers. These muscle fibers are lean, thin and made to last for long periods of time. But the other muscles fiber type we want to train are those fast-twitch muscle fibers. These guys are bigger and take on good shape, they also are the ones that let us generate immediate strength, like for sprinting or lifting a heavy weight. So cardio is great but its not going to give us all the benefits on this list here. You have to strength train your legs.
Finally I think the real reasons that most people don’t train their legs is cause its hard. I mean your using a lot of muscle, your burning tons of calories, it’s exhausting. Your using muscles that are super undeveloped due to bad lifestyles. Your battling injuries due to this same cycle of neglect and bad habit. I mean I get it, its hard to know how to tackle these issues, but that doesn’t mean you just avoid it. Check back next week when I go over my favorite leg exercises and how to perform them with good, safe and strong technique.