Your legs represent the largest muscles in your body, so you have to spend an appropriate amount of time training them with a descent amount of resistance using "heavy weights". Because we use our legs in almost everything we do, they have higher amounts of endurance muscle fibers than our upper bodies would have; therefore, in order to adequately train your legs, they need a higher volume of work.
Popular excuses: “I run for my legs”, “My legs are too big already”, “Squats hurt my knees”, … whatever the story, not training your legs is the biggest training mistake you can make.
Here are 5 reasons you should train your legs
1. MORE MUSCLE: You can find studies showing that Squats & Deadlifts increase the release of Growth Hormone & Testosterone more than any other exercise. These are natural muscle building hormones. Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is naturally produced in your body and plays a key role in the health of men, helping increase the growth of muscle mass and strength. Compound moves, such as squats and deadlifts, which use large muscle groups, help elevate your T-levels.
2. YOU'LL BURN MORE CALORIES: Whether or not weight loss is your goal, if you want to get the most bang for your buck at the gym, you're going to have to do legs. Working bigger muscles and compound exercises, like squats, deadlifts and lunges will require more energy and a higher metabolism. Challenging these larger muscles in short will burn more calories.
3. MORE STRENGTH: You might not believe it, but your legs and core produce the majority of your power during heaving lifting. Stronger legs and core muscles will increase your strength on upper-body lifts and thus help upper-body muscle development. Quick examples of how Squats & Deadlifts can cause strength gains on your other lifts:
• Leg drive matters on the Bench Press. Stronger legs mean more leg drive and a bigger bench, and thus bigger muscles.
• Squats & Deadlifts strengthen your legs & lower back.
These muscles help you stay strong during the Overhead Press. If you lack conditioning, your big lifts will only get so far. Performing functional exercises, like deadlifts, however, will strengthen your legs, glutes and lower body, while developing all-over muscle and mobility.
Remember, core strength supports the body in almost every movement. And the deadlift – the King of Exercises – is the key core strength building movement.
4. SYMMETRY & BALANCE: Simply put, you don't want to have a huge upper body with toothpick legs. You want for your physique to be balanced and symmetrical, but for more functional reasons, upper body strength won't help you much from avoiding slip and fall accidents and maintaining your general balance. Most of our power and balance is generated from our lower half. Balance is essential for maintaining control of your body. Much like a building or any other structure, the strength of most structures lies in its foundation.
5. AVOIDING INJURY. This is the last, but in my opinion, the most important reason I stress that leg training is necessary... If you're training three days out of the week, you have to dedicate at least one day to training your lower body. If you don't, you run the risk of creating muscle imbalances, poorly conditioned hamstrings and a lack of mobility. And that lack of mobility and conditioning will lead to a number of possible issues, such as... lower back pain and knee injuries. Exercises such as, squats, lunges and dead lifts will help in developing functional strength and reduce the risk of injury by building muscle around weak joints and help promote more stability and balance.
A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!