The next time you think about skipping your leg workout, think again. They’re the largest muscles in the body, and just like all the muscles of the upper body, they need a proper exercise to make sure your body isn't disproportionate. Many people neglect this area of the body thinking that it has no importance. You see it in many of the gyms or sports centers. Exercising these muscles gives us different benefits when running, walking and jumping, for example.
Remember that all muscles must be in your workout to keep a harmonious body. The leg workout must be sacred if you want to obtain excellent results. It’s also true that the legs develop at a slower speed than the muscles of the upper body. Don't stop leg workouts either way! So consult this website or any workout guide you like, but make sure you continue working out your legs!
Don't refer to the legs as something in general. They are composed of different muscles, which all must be worked out for optimal performance and results. There are large and small muscles that give the leg structure. They also are flexible and can stretch a great distance.
We start with the quadriceps, the largest and strongest muscle in the entire body. It starts in the pelvis and goes along the entire femur, on the anterior face. Basically most of your entire thigh.
The glutes are muscles that are connected in the posterior region of the thigh.
The hamstrings are located in the back of the upper leg (femur).
The gastrocnemius (calf) is located in the posterior region of the leg, below the knee, also covering another muscle: the soleus.
BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES
Training your lower body helps increase the production of testosterone in the body. The body is forced to generate it when we perform multi-articular exercises. What is testosterone? It’s a fundamental hormone we need to produce muscle growth. Exercising the lower part of the body helps to enhance muscle growth in men. In women, leg workouts increase blood circulation is improved helping form the glutes and hips.
Exercising the legs provide us with greater endurance and strength, since they are the basis of our body, and therefore, the basis of most exercises. It helps strengthen the lower back and the core, which are very important when stabilizing your body. Exercises that use body weight or metal weights help increase stability in our lower back. That stability makes us more resistant to pain or discomfort in the lower back.
Given that the legs are the main component in various sports and disciplines, working out your legs help your endurance, or it at least helps improve your performance. Countless activities such as football, soccer, basketball, running, swimming, cycling, among others, are just some of the examples where individuals can benefit nicely.
Aesthetically, a person who has a good balance between upper and lower training is well noticed by others, since it shows well-defined and toned legs. It’s not very pleasant to notice the bad compensation that many people have between the torso and the legs, where their body is similar to an "ice cream cone": wide and stocky at the top, thin at the bottom.
It also helps to improve blood circulation, producing a large influx of blood in the muscle that performs physical activity, transporting nutrients more quickly, preventing accumulation of fluids and fat nodules (cellulite). Just as it helps with circulation, it also helps with weight loss due to the amount of calories that leg workouts burns.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I SKIP LEG TRAINING?
First of all, the inequality in volume between upper and lower training, showing nothing but "skinny" legs, isn't attractive if you wear shorts. Not only does it matter in the aesthetic aspect, but also in the functional part of the legs, where they are involved as stabilizers in other upper trunk exercises, especially in bar exercises.
Training is synonymous with strengthening, and not only the muscles, but also the joints. If we constantly work our legs, joints such as ankles and knees will benefit in strengthening tissues. By not exercising the lower body, the muscles and joints involved can suffer injury. If you want to increase the strength in your upper body by performing exercises where you have to stand, it’s very important not to skip your leg workout.
HOW TO TRAIN MY LEGS?
Something to take into account in training is to be able to integrate or include exercises that involve all the muscles of the leg: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, gastrocnemius (calf) and soleus. Here is a small list of exercises to work each muscle both integrally and in isolation:
- Squats: the main muscle involved is the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. It’s one of the most complete exercises since it’s multi-articular and combines the 3 largest muscles of the leg. The best exercise to develop the quadriceps.
- Deadlift: involves your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and lower back. This is the exercise for hamstring excellence.
- Strides: request the glutes as the main muscle. Also works the quadriceps, hamstrings and abdominals.
- Good Mornings: the best exercise for your hamstrings, since it requires great effort dedicated to that area. The glutes are also worked in this exercise.
- Calf Extension: the calf works in isolation, and if it’s done sitting, it involves the soleus.
Putting these exercises together in a routine is just plain old good for the soul. One of those training sessions will have your legs hurting for a few days. Although the results are not immediate, especially the legs that have slower progress, don’t give up and continue working on them. You should try to work on your legs twice a week, but if you are someone who has always skipped leg workouts, you should go hard up to three times a week.