When starting your fitness journey, it is important to workout every part of your body. The human body is a machine. Your body needs to be balanced to function properly, like how a car can’t function properly if one tire is bigger than the other.
A lot of people focus on building muscle in their arms and core while neglecting their legs. Your legs carry the weight of the rest of your body and it is important to build muscle in them as well. It’s time for you to focus on your legs again. We’re going to give you all the information you need for your next leg day. Let’s get working!
The Meaning of Leg Day
Leg day workouts focus on working the movements of the lower body instead of the upper body. This improves strength, endurance, and motor control for the lower extremity muscles. Some moves for leg day include: squats, jumps, and hamstring curls.
Don’t worry, during leg day you’ll still be working your core and back muscles. If your workouts have a lot of high-volume sets and repetitions, you should be training your legs once per week. On the flip side, if you’re doing lower intensity or lower volume workouts, you should be doing leg day twice a week.
Breaking Down the Legs
Before we get into a specific workout that you can do for your legs, you need to understand the groups that make up the legs. The thigh holds sixteen muscles alone! Here’s a simplified leg muscle breakdown:
- The muscles that make up the quadriceps are the strongest and leanest of all the muscles in the body. The quadricep muscles are composed of four muscles at the front of the thigh above the knee.
- Hamstrings are composed of three muscles that are in the back of the thigh that affect hip and knee movement. The muscles in the hamstring start under the gluteus maximus behind the hipbone and attach to the tibia at the knee.
- The calf muscles are pivotal for movement in your ankles, feet, and toes. They are located underneath your knees.
To simplify it even more, we have broken down the movements you need to hit each muscle into four groups:
Locomotion: includes running, walking, lunges, and crawls
Hip Dominant moves: hinge-type movements like deadlifts & kettlebell swings, squats
Knee Dominant moves: squat variations, lunges, step-ups
Triple Extension: extend your hips, knees, and ankles with jumping, plyometrics, Olympic lifts, and calf raises
Equipment for Leg Day
During your time at the gym, you need to use proper equipment. This helps to avoid injury especially when it comes to lifting heavy weights. Here are some suggestions of gym equipment you may need:
To protect your knees while lifting heavy weights, you should be usingknee sleeves. They provide professional grade compression knee support. Knee sleeves are great for when you are doing squats or lifting. To learn more about the benefits of knee sleeves clickhere!
Core sliders are lightweight and portable and the perfect tool to build a solid core. These can be used on leg day to improve your leg mobility while tightening your core as they work the deep abdominals. They can be used in your home gym or taken on the go to your local gym.
Using a barbell to do squats and hip thrusts is great for your legs, but as the weight gets heavier your back and neck can take a hit. To help your neck and back out try using a barbell pad.The Beast Gear Barbell Pad allows you to squat and hip thrust heavier loads more comfortably. Barbell pads more evenly distribute the weight across a larger surface area along your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Leg Day Workout
Now that you know the muscle groups that make up your legs, it’s time to get into movements you can incorporate in your workout routine. Before you get into doing your sets, you need to warm-up thoroughly. Start with some gentle lower-body mobility movements and dynamic stretching.
The list below are some suggestions you can incorporate into your leg day routine. Make sure you pick out the moves that will work best with your body and fitness goals.
- 5 sets with 8 repetitions with 60 seconds of rest in between each set. Before loading weight to the bar, be sure to do a couple 2-3 warm-up sets.
When starting the deadlift, have the barbell in front of you while you’re standing tall with a neutral spine. Upgrade your warm-up and increase forearm strength by using yourbeast grips. Squat down and grab the bar with an overhand or alternating grip. Keep your chest up and tighten your core. Press into your heels as you stand up. Presh your hips forward, while not over extending your lower spine, at the top and then lower back down.
- 5 sets with 8 repetitions with 60 seconds of rest in between each set.
Follow the instructions on the machine on how to sit. Place your feet lower and closer together to work your quads or higher and wider to hit your hamstrings and glutes directly. Bend your knees towards your chest and press back. This is a good time to wear knee sleeves for squatting.
- 3 sets with 8 repetitions for each side with a 30 second rest in-between each set.
- Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your chest up and core tight as you take a big step forward. Your back leg lunges down. Both legs should be bent about 90 degrees. Alternate your leading leg with each repetition.
Seated Leg Extensions
- 4 sets with 10 repetitions with 60 seconds of rest in between each set.
- Position yourself correctly in the machine with your knees bent and the padded bar against your shins. Raise your feet to straighten your legs, then squeeze your quads at the top. Lower your legs back to the starting position slowly to increase the tension on the target muscles.
For your next leg day you have everything you need to achieve the gains you are looking for. After working out, you need to make sure that you are giving your body plenty of time torecover between workouts. If you’re not seeing progress in a couple months, consider consulting a trainer to find leg exercises that work best with your body and needs.
Contributing Writer: Madeline Collins