Exercise

Why Leg Exercises are Important?

 

Gym work out is all about specific training and goal oriented exercises be it developing the shoulders, looking muscular, developing the glutes, reducing inches off the body. The girls and the ladies love to work out on their lower body to tone their muscles and look lovely. More on that topic for you ladies but for boys; “Every day is Arms Day!!!’’

Be it any day of the week, be it chest day, shoulder day or any day from Monday to Saturday, it always feels good to get that pump in the biceps to make you feel good. Hell, I have got to go for a party or maybe just a day out in the college, so how about getting that bicep pump before heading out. Hell yeah!!! Feels good.

Hold on. Biceps are good. The pump is real, but don’t you have 2 sets of limbs- which you use for movement- which makes the most part of your body- your arms and your legs.

Yes, running away is good for the legs but do continue reading because today is LEG DAY!!!

For seasoned gym goers, the leg day is of importance and some even love it. While beginners and those wannabe model types tend to skip on leg day. But legs are where the true power lies. Working out the legs and training your legs is what makes your whole body toned, symmetrical, proportionate and aesthetic. In an Instagram post you can get away with an upper body/bare-chested, abs defined look but in reality your whole body is what makes your personality.

The legs are the foundation of your body and a strong sculpted foundation is a must to look good.

Girls work on their lower body as the hips and the thighs are a major problem area for fat accumulation and then a nice booty and toned muscular look of the thighs make the girls look sexier. Thousands and thousands of booty workouts/training programs are there on the internet and social media. Keep lifting girls, work those glutes and legs, more power to you. And as for the boys, lift those weights, do more squats and get super strong.

ANATOMY OF THE HUMAN LEG (GENERAL VIEW)

When speaking of the leg, it is the lower portion of your body right from the hips to the toes. So if we are to consider the muscles involved or that make up the leg, they are-

  1. Glutes – the butt/ gluteal muscle group.
  2. Quadriceps – front portion of your thigh consisting of rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius.
  3. Hamstrings – the back portion of your thigh below the butt.
  4. Adductor muscles which help your legs move inside out in lateral space or sideways.
  5. Then there are a group of muscles which act as a stabilizer to keep us standing straight.
  6. The muscle group below the knee is the calves – a muscle group consisting of gastrocnemius, soleus, tibilias anterior/ posterior and peroneus longus/brevis.

Okay, now that is a bit technical but you get a general idea as to the muscles you are going to work on leg day and it is very important to know which muscle is working to get the most out of your workout.

WHY LEG EXERCISES/LEG DAY IS IMPORTANT?

While all the above discussion/explanation tells us why the exercises of the leg are important, there are a certain things that we need to highlight so as to understand how and why a leg day programme is designed. A leg day routine involves the following exercises –

  1. Bodyweight Squats.
  2. Squats – weighted. Front and back. Back squats being the conventional squats.
  3. Over head Squats.
  4. Lunges – bodyweight/ dumbbells/ barbell.
  5. Step- Ups.
  6. Leg Press – seated/incline.
  7. Hack Squats (machine)
  8. Stiff Leg Deadlifts/ Roman deadlifts.
  9. Leg Curls for the hamstrings.
  10. Leg extensions for the quads.
  11. Calf raises- seated/ standing.
  12. Adductor/Abductor machine.
  13. Toe Raises.

These are the basic leg exercises that can be performed in the gym. All these exercises activate and target the gluteal muscle group which is the butt and the quadriceps which is the front portion of the thigh. The hamstrings play the assisting role in all these exercises and the curls is the only hamstring specific exercise which also works the glutes.

All the above exercises involve bringing legs closer to the body and then pushing yourself up or pushing the weight away from the body, so this creates a tension on the core muscles and hence these exercises also work the abdominal muscle group and the erector spinae muscles/ makes the lower back stronger to make the body capable of lifting weight without harming/ hurting the spine.

The gluteus muscle group is the biggest muscle in the human body and works in moving the hips and the legs. If you look at how much area the legs cover the entire body, when you work the legs – a large portion of your body is exercised leading to better fat loss effect and muscle generation/repair. More calories are consumed.

TECHNIQUE FOR LEG EXERCISES

A proper range of motion of all exercises is a must so as to activate all the muscle groups and work them. A full range or proper range of motion strengthens the muscles maintaining flexibility and mobility of the joints and stronger muscles protect the joints from wear and tear.

VALSALVA MANEUVERS is a breathing technique used while/in lifting weights in order to create intra- abdominal pressure which in turn protects the spine from the load and makes it easier to lift. Here you exhale quickly in a fast manner and then breathe in, hold your breath, perform the full rep and then exhale. (Please learn valsalva maneuver from a qualified trainer practically.)

APPROACH –

Beginners should perform bodyweight squats daily at the start of their workout to get in the habit of doing them for CNS training. Squat is an essential part of any Leg workout program be it for beginners, advanced or booty programs. Performing squats boosts testosterone levels making you strong and muscular.

In advanced level, one can split the leg work out into 2 categories or 2 days.

Those who are obese or cannot perform squats easily can perform assisted squats by   holding on to something.

Sprinting is much better for claves but doing calf raises is fine but it should be a part of your leg day.

Leg extensions, an isolated movement and a favourite with bodybuilders, leg extensions may harm the knees so perform wisely.

LIST OF BENEFITS OF LEG EXERCISES

  1. Body symmetry.
  2. Prevents osteoporosis and maintains good bone health.
  3. Stronger joints.
  4. Strengthens the core.
  5. Functional movements.
  6. Fat loss.
  7. Better aesthetics and muscularity.
  8. Better muscle conditioning and body composition.
  9. Increased strength making you super strong.
  10. Get a nice butt.
  11. Boosts testosterone levels and growth hormone.
  12. Boosts self esteem and self confidence.

Never skip leg day, legs are the foundation of the body and training them should be a top priority for overall physique and health. Training is not just about looking strong but being truly strong. So as the norm goes – Shut up and Squat!

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