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11 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day

What is often referred to as Leg Day is a day that some beginner weightlifters either don't know about or actively avoid. More seasoned lifters know that if they skip leg day they will end up unbalanced, top heavy, injured, and also may end up being featured in the next "never skip leg day" meme on social media.

By
Brock Armstrong,
Episode #406
Drawing of a muscle man with small legs

5. Your Hormones Will Suffer

As we just discussed, the largest muscles in your body are in your pelvis and legs. Making these muscles work hard causes a release of HGH (human growth hormone) and testosterone which are both key elements for building muscle, repairing tissue, and building strong bones—not just in your legs but all over your body.

Training all of your lower-body muscles releases the hormones that turn your body into an anabolic environment which will improve your muscle-building capacity in general.

6. Your Back May Get Sore

Most of us in this modern sedentary society have weak hamstrings and short and tight hip flexors. That can lead to back pain if we don’t do something about it. Most of us try to “stretch it out” when we would be better off strengthening our hamstrings and glutes. Similar to increasing your sports performance, having a solid foundation in your legs means that your back doesn’t have to do all the work.  

You should definitely consult a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or sports medicine physician before you start treating any existing back pain, but if you want to avoid it in the future, I suggest you make your legs strong.

7. Your Injury Rate Will Go Up

Sometimes the athletes who come to me with an injury have fallen into the old trap of thinking that their chosen sport trains their legs sufficiently (runners, I am looking at you). Sure, many sports involve using the legs but most athletic movements overemphasize the quads, or the calves, or another single part of the leg which creates an imbalance. In fact, the injury that is referred to as “Runner’s Knee” is often a direct result of an imbalance between the quads and the hamstrings.

The injury that is referred to as “Runner’s Knee” is often a direct result of an imbalance between the quads and the hamstrings.

If you want to stay injury-free, it is absolutely essential that you regularly do legwork. This usually means planning your training around leg day (so you aren’t too fatigued to get your sport-specific workout done) but long-term this is a worthwhile strategy.

8. Your Range of Motion Will Decline

If you think weightlifting has nothing to do with flexibility and mobility, just take a second to consider the squat. In the article 5+ Benefits of Squatting and How to Prepare, we talked about how awesome and important the squat movement is (in and outside the gym) and the same goes for the deadlift, the calf raise, the kettlebell swing, and so on. By simply getting into a squat or deadlift position, you can keep your body loose and mobile while also undoing some of the mobility and strength issues we see from sitting in chairs much of our day.

9. Your Balance Will Deteriorate

In the article called Going Barefoot and 8 Other Ways to Improve Balance, I talked about how important strength is to your balance. Once again it comes down to having a solid foundation. Having strong legs and a strong lower body, in general, is what I am talking about!

Incorporating exercises like side lunges, calf raises, and deadlifts can seriously increase your stability, re-invigorate your proprioception, and help you to stay on your feet when the world is trying to knock you over.

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