Leg day. Very few people enjoy it, which is a shame but why is it the most skipped day of the week? First off, it hurts. Squatting hurts. Extensions hurt. Walking to the next exercise sucks. Going down stairs afterwards sucks. Lowering yourself onto a chair afterwards sucks. Walking around two days after sucks. A well executed leg workout is synonymous with pain.

But with all that pain comes some pretty awesome benefits.

Least of which is not being the person with a massive upper body and chicken legs. A strong breeze comes by and you might fall over from being so top heavy. Plus, it looks weird.

More importantly, a strong set of legs is important in day-to-day life. Strong legs help you move more efficiently, carry things more easily, and generally just exist a bit more comfortably. Let’s talk about it.

Reasons to Not Skip Leg Day

First things first, why are leg workouts so important to your overall fitness.

You wouldn’t build a house on sand. Building strong legs will make your daily life a piece of cake. Stairs, hills, walking around, picking things off the ground, balance, swimming. It all gets easier.

Strong leg muscles equal increased stability. That’s great news as we age and naturally begin to decline. If you work them out properly as part of a well structured, overall fitness routine you can still give those twenty year old’s a run for their money well into your 40’s and 50’s. Plus, more lean mass and exercise means less bone loss after 40. A decreased risk of osteoporosis is an awesome benefit.

Tired of gaining weight? Muscle is metabolically active, meaning that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn even at rest. Since your lower body contains some of your biggest muscle groups, working them out can speed up your metabolism significantly which can help with weight management.

Strengthening your leg muscles can also support your joints and help prevent injuries, including those that can occur in day-to-day activities. It’s especially important for knee health, as stronger muscles can help absorb some of the shock that might otherwise stress your knees.

And finally, aesthetics. Aesthetically, strong legs are nice to look at. Strong, toned female legs. Strong, defined male legs. Almost nothing shows the work you put in quite like legs which are surprisingly hard to build properly for quite a few of us. I would rank them as second only to shoulders as a show of pride for body parts that are hard to grow.

Why is Skipping Leg Day So Common?

Leg day hurts. That is why so many people skip it. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) makes a lot of people think twice about even approaching leg day. The difficult nature of working them out properly can make a large portion of those who actually do train them regularly hesitate to go heavy. After all, heavy squats can get you out of breath and leave your legs shaking.

Lower body workouts require some serious effort.

Ironically, and here is a pro-tip, training legs consistently will lessen the pain over time. It won’t be gone entirely, but you also won’t be crying internally for days on end.

And finally, confusion. Some people don’t know how to effectively train legs. It’s easier to just avoid them if you don’t know how to work them safely and properly. Others hear all the rumors about how squats kill knees or working out legs is the worst pain you can encounter. It’s human nature to want to take the easy way, especially when faced with the idea of squatting heavy, even if you do have a spotter or are working in a rack with safety equipment.,

Leg-endary Benefits: Why Strong Legs Are Needed

Here are some very cool benefits of a good-old leg workout.

A. Functional Strength: Why Calling in the Big Guns Matters

Remember those heavy shopping bags that felt like a ton of bricks? How about running for the bus without feeling like your lungs will burst? Half of that battle is leg strength. The other half is cardio, so don’t skip that either but cardio is an entirely separate beast.

Functional strength is important! But what is functional strength? It’s the ability to do daily activities easily without a lot of effort. Lifting boxes off the ground in the office, picking up and racking servers in the datacenter, getting in/out of your office chair without pain and a lot of effort. It’s all functional.

  • Daily Activities: Strong legs make everyday tasks a breeze. Squatting down to grab something off a low shelf? No sweat with strong quads!
  • Improve Sports Performance: You’ll also notice a big improvement in any sports or activities you do. BJJ? Soccer? Flag football? Your legs are here for the task!

B. Improved Balance and Stability: Stand Tall and Stay Grounded

Ever tried standing on one foot and felt like a drunk? While balance also has to do with inner ear stuff, strong legs from the hips through the ankles all play a part. Weak ankles are a leading cause of poor balance, but if the rest of the chain is weak you won’t get very far without toppling over.

  • Maintaining Balance: Your legs are like the roots of a tree holding you upright. More strength means steady balance with whatever task you are doing.
  • Preventing Injuries: A good pair of strong legs can also prevent annoying injuries and falls. Better balance means less change of twisted ankles and knee pain.

Need some help?

Shape Success, Live Exceptionally

Hit that button, and get started today.

C. Faster Metabolism: Your Body, the Calorie-Burning Machine

Leg work outs aren’t just about strength and balance. Your leg muscles are the biggest muscles in your body and require the most nutrients to continue existing. That means they consume a LOT of calories, so the bigger they are the higher your metabolism. The higher your metabolism, the more food you need to maintain them. Big, strong tree trunks mean you can eat more and not worry.

  • Muscle Power: Your legs house some of the biggest muscles in your body. By working them out more, you increase your metabolic rate and burn more calories.
  • Weight Management: And with that boosted metabolism comes awesome weight management benefits.

D. Hormones and Immune System Benefits

Lower body exercises have a whole host of extra benefits you don’t get to the same extent with upper body workouts. The link between leg workouts and our body’s hormonal and immune systems is truly fascinating! Here’s how well they work together:

Training our legs can also strengthen our immune system – a true workout wonder! Here’s how:

  • Powerful Lymphatic System: This system plays a major role in keeping your immune system strong. Leg day exercises, including walking lunges and squats, can help facilitate proper lymphatic drainage and circulation.
  • Stress Busters: Working out legs can reduce overall stress, which can subsequently help your immune system function better. Less stress = better health!
  • Speedy Recovery: Intense leg workouts promote blood circulation, which aids in delivering oxygen and nutrients needed for recovery to muscle tissue. The result? Faster healing!

Don’t EVER let anyone tell you that you cannot boost your own immune systems or hormonal levels naturally. The science on this is actually settled.

E. Aesthetic Benefits: Shaping up. No Room for “Chicken Legs”

Lastly, let’s not forget the looks. Strong female legs, massive male legs. (Almost) nothing shows off your hard work quite like a sold set of legs.

  • Proportionate Physique: Strong legs create a balanced, well-rounded physique. From the boardroom to the beach, you’ll own any place and people will notice, even subconsciously, that you are a force.
  • No More “Chicken Legs”: Who wants to sport the upside-down triangle look? It’s odd shaped and off-putting. Avoid it.

Strengthening those legs isn’t just for bodybuilders, it brings some fantastic real-life benefits for everyone! You just need to make sure you can find well fitting pants. That’s possibly the hardest thing about well developed legs.

Leg Day Exercise Guide: Let’s Do These Right!

Here are some exercises that will transform your legs.

A. Squats: The King of Leg Exercises

The squat. King of leg day. Almost nothing compares to how many muscles are worked with a squat. This is one of the most intense compound exercises available and has a ton of variety to choose from. Back, front, belt, goblin, box, etc. Every version has it’s own targeted development area, so vary them up.

Back Squat Proper Form: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, chest up, abs tight, back straight, barbell across your shoulder blades, hands grasping the bar, and lower yourself like sitting in a chair. Go as deep as you can but keep your knees from going past your toes. Stand back up slowly.

B. Lunges: One-Legged Glory

Next up, we’ve got lunges. Lunges are a one-legged exercise, meaning each leg gets its turn to work. They also have a lot of variety. Mix it up with forward lunges, reverse lunges, and sideways lunges.

Doing Traditional Lunges Right: Step forward with one foot, lower your body until your front knee bends to about 90 degrees, and then push back up to the start. Swap legs and do it again. Easy.

C. Deadlifts: Strengthen and Grow the Entire Posterior Chain

Let’s not forget the awesome deadlifts! Deadlifts target the backside of your body, work out your legs pretty hard, and are the only other exercise that uses more muscles than squats. Like squats, they come in with a ton of variety: Sumo, conventional, Romanian. Lots of options to choose from.

Nailing the Traditional Form: Keep your back straight, feet about shoulder width apart, sink down into your hips, grab the barbell with alternating grip, and, keeping a tight core, drive your hips forward to stand up. Voila, a deadlift! Repeat.

D. Leg Press: Because Variety is the Spice of Life

If you’re looking for additional variety, look no further than the leg press. It is a complimentary exercise for squats and lunges and, while similar, works in a completely separate way.

How-To: Load the plates, sit on the pad, place your feet on the panel, and push to extend your knees. Slowly return to the start. That’s one. Just remember, don’t lock those knees at the top!

E. Hamstring Curls and Leg Extensions: Targeting the Isolated Heroes

Lastly, let’s target those hamstring and quadriceps muscles with curls and extensions. These are isolation exercises that will really give your legs a defined and balanced look while working them out.

Doing Them Right: Whether curling or extending, the key is to move slowly, feel the burn, and keep your hips on the pad. If you find yourself lifting out of the chair/off the pad, you are going too heavy. Knee pain? Adjust where the pads sit on your legs.

There are tons of other niche movements and machines to choose from, but these few essential leg exercises form the core of a sold leg day. Remember, focus on proper form and execution. Eventually they will grow. It just won’t be overnight.

Make Leg Day Shine: A Balanced Workout Routine for All

Ready to hit it? Let’s help create your leg workout.

A. Beginner Routine: Starting on the Right Foot

New to leg workouts? No problem! Just follow these simple steps:

Frequency: Begin by doing leg workouts 1-2 times per week, easing into the exercises without overloading your muscles.
Intensity: Start with light weights or your own bodyweight, focusing on proper form and technique.

Example Beginner Leg Workout:

  • Squats: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Forward Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps each leg
  • Deadlifts (lightweight): 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Leg Press (lightweight): 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Hamstring Curls (machine): 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Leg Extensions (machine): 3 sets of 12 reps

B. Intermediate/Advanced Routine: Taking It to the Next Level

Experienced and ready to challenge yourself? Try this awesome routine.

Frequency: Aim for leg workouts 3 times per week, increasing the weight and intensity.
Intensity: Use heavier weights (about 60-75% of 1RPM) while maintaining perfect form.

Example Intermediate/Advanced Leg Workout:

Weighted Squats (Barbell or Dumbbells): 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Reverse Lunges: 4 sets of 10 reps each leg
Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Leg Press: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
Hamstring Curls (machine or free weights): 4 sets of 10 reps
Leg Extensions (machine or free weights): 4 sets of 10 reps

C. The Full-Body Program: Fitting Leg Workouts into Your Routine

Keep it balanced with these tips to incorporate a quality leg day work out.

Training Split: Consider alternating upper and lower body exercises. This way, you won’t neglect leg training and it ensures full-body focus.

Recovery: Give your muscles time to recover by waiting 48 hours between leg workouts to help your Central Nervous System get back to normal. During that period stretch those legs, use a foam roller, or even enjoy a warm bath to help with recovery.

Listen to your body and watch out for signs of overtraining, like fatigue or frequent injuries. Schedule rest days for a proper balance.

It’s easy to add them in. It’s harder to begin executing on them. Remember, a well-rounded leg workout routine is essential for a strong and powerful body. Consistency is the key. So go ahead, and let your legs lead the way!

Leg Day: Safety Tips for Fabulous Leg Workouts

Let’s face it, we don’t want to hurt ourselves in the gym. Here are some tips for safe and effective leg workouts.

A. Warm-Up and Mobility: The Stretchy Way to a Great Leg Day

Never skip warmups. Warming up and dynamic stretching are a necessity whether you are 20 or 120. Muscles can’t go from sitting on the couch to squatting a house without some sort of intermediary action to start the blood flow, increase nutrient delivery, and loosening them up a bit. Skipping this can cause sub-optimal lifts at best, and serious injury at worst.

Suggested Exercises:

  • Jog in place or jump rope (3-5 mins): Increase your heart rate and get those muscles warmed up.
  • High knees (30 sec): Lift your knees as high as you can to wake up those hip flexors.
  • Leg swings (10 each side): Find balance and work on your hip mobility at the same time.
  • Walking lunges (10-12 reps): Gently stretch your hip flexors and get ready for lunges like a pro.
  • Dynamic hamstring stretch (10 each side): Say hello to your hamstrings and give them a nice stretch.

B. Weight Choices: Proper Selection and Progression

Choosing the right weight and progressing safely are crucial for your leg day success. Here’s a secret to picking it: use something that challenges you, but doesn’t sacrifice your form. If you can do 10-12 reps feeling the burn yet maintaining proper form, then you’ve got it! If you can move the weight for 10-12 reps without any sort of exertion, sweat, or feel like you can go forever: Go heavier.

Safe Progression:

  • Be patient: Allow your body to get used to the current weights before leveling up.
  • Progress, not perfection: Add weight in small increments (think 5-10% more). Too heavy too quickly is bad. Not increasing weight at all is bad. Olympia winners get excited when they’d add an extra pound or two over a few weeks. You don’t need to add 40 pounds each time you lift. Progress is progress.
  • Monitor your form: Ensure your technique is still on point as you increase weights.
  • Rest and recover: Give yourself time to rest before conquering the next workout.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to stellar and safe leg workouts.

Wrap-Up: Long Live Leg Day!

There is a ton more depth to leg day (pun intended), but I’ve gone over a lot here. No one likes a wall of text as it is. If you’ve made it this far, thanks. I appreciate you sticking through this and hope you learned something. Let’s recap.

Leg Workouts are Power-Packed!

What’s the deal with leg day work outs?

  • Strength: Leg workouts build up our lower body strength, which build all around strength.
  • Muscle Balance: Strong legs mean a balanced body! This reduces the chance of injuries.
  • Burning Calories: These workouts torch calories, which means you can eat more and not worry about lost progress.
  • Improving your Overall Fitness: You’ll be boosting your running, jumping, and even that funky dance move you love.
  • Immune system and hormones: Lower body workouts boost both.

And remember, it’s not just about doing the exercises — it’s about doing them right. So, keep that form fantastic and those reps in check!

Be a Leg Day Legend!

There’s an old saying that goes “Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.” Don’t be a bad friend. Having strong and capable legs makes everything better, from lifting heavy things to intense sprinting or simply looking good.

Remember to:

  • Warm-up and stretch
  • Choose the right weights
  • Keep the form on point
  • Give yourself time to rest and recover

That’s all I’ve got. Go forth and conquer.

Let Us help You Out

At CONDITIONerd we are here to help you achieve better physical and mental health through exercise. Check out the plans we offer to our customers and see if you could benefit from working with our team. And if you have questions, you can always contact a CONDITIONerd team member

Personal trainers, like those found here, can help guide you on your pathway towards reaching your fitness goals, whether that is getting bigger, stronger, faster, more lean, or just generally feeling better.

We can get you setup with a periodized workout plan, supplement information, and advice on nutrition to help you reach your goals.

The only thing you need is some motivation and a willingness to change some old habits.

Get into contact with us to find out what membership is right for you. In a CONDITIONerd program, you’ll be surrounded by others who can help you to get where you want to be.

Generally, our clients start to see some pretty awesome changes in 2-3 months time, some sooner.

Scroll to Top