Hate leg day? You're not the only one. But that doesn't give you an excuse neglect working out your lower body. Here are some reasons to convince you to start paying attention to your lower body. Keep reading to reveal the most surprising fact!
Ladies: Get that booty you always wanted
Been sitting in the office for too long? Or perhaps ate a bit too much recently? As long as you are looking to burn that muffin-top or orange-peel bum, leg workouts are the way to go. Leg workouts burn the most calories as they are the largest muscles in your body and require the most energy to function. Squats are the best for this as it works out the entire body and continues burning calories even if your workout is finished.
Adding muscle mass also increases your resting metabolic rate so it really is a no-brainer to focus a major part of your workouts on the largest muscles of your body. That itself is the key to effective long-term fat loss.
Men: Have a well-balanced look
Imagine Superman on the big screen appearing like the toy figure. We can all have a good laugh and agree that if Superman looked like that, he would be most ridiculous-looking superhero. To all men aiming for the Superman look, sure Henry Cavill has an amazingly broad chest, but have you seen his thighs? Those thighs didn't appear magically, he worked hard for them.
We hate stereotyping, but there are a majority of you who focus so much on their upper body that you forget about your legs. If you keep doing multiple sets of chest, arms and shoulder exercises, and settle for a few sets of leg curls and extensions, you'll most probably end up like toy-figure-Superman.
Your legs are half your body and you really don't want to ignore them. They are the base and foundation of your body.
Compound lifting needs legs
Bodybuilders and weightlifters will tell you that their favourite compound exercises are the popular Big 3 lifts: bench press, squats and deadlifts. To do these, you need strong legs. While having strong legs for squats and deadlifts may seem obvious, you also need strong legs for bench-pressing.
Your legs and core produce the majority of your power during heavy lifting as your lower body is engaged to provide a stable platform to pump from. So, whatever exercise you do, if you lack in conditioning your legs, your lifts will reach a limit.
Reach your goals quicker by strengthening your legs, glutes and lower body. Functional exercises like the deadlifts are best as they also develop all-over muscle and mobility.
If you are an athlete, you probably realize that a stronger lower body makes you more resistant to injury. Apart from pool sports, most sports are played from the ground up and mostly require skills like sprinting or jumping. Athletes tend to think that this itself trains their legs sufficiently. The biggest problem is, most athletic movements over-emphasize on the quads, creating quad dominance.
This imbalance of muscle strength between the quads and glutes, can lead to a higher risk of ACL injuries. With an underdeveloped hamstring, there is a lack of hip work and instead your knee takes the brunt of the force.
The same concept of your upper-body relying on your lower-body for power applies in sports too. Upper-body-centric skills like throwing a ball or swinging a bat follows this rule. Your lower-body muscles drive into the ground to create power which channels through your core and the upper-body movement that you are performing. Try performing an upper-body skill without using your lower body and notice the difference in performance.
Again, your legs are your foundation and the stronger your foundation, the better you will be in your skills. Focusing on your glutes, hamstrings and quads will improve your sports skills and reach a better potential. You will be a faster and stronger athlete with the right training choices.
Surprise, surprise: It actually makes you smarter
Think gym-buffs are just meatheads? Think again. Researchers from King's College London actually did a ten-year study with identical twins. The results: the one with stronger legs had better cognitive function a decade later.
There are plenty of other studies that have also shown a link between physical and mental health, but this study is the first to link mental capacity with muscular power. The study with 324 healthy female twins showed stronger, more powerful legs are associated with slowed ageing in the brain.
The researchers will examine other populations to see if there's a same effect and also find out the underlying cause of the correlation, but either way, you've lost all excuses for skipping leg day.
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