You might have overheard a lot of fellow YMCA members talking about their “leg days.” What is a leg day, though? Does it really matter, or is it just one of those workout terms that only serious bodybuilders care about?
Believe it or not, leg day can help you get in better shape than you’ve ever been — no matter what your overall health goals are.
What Exactly Is Leg Day?
A leg day isn’t some secret type of activity, and it doesn't have to involve a specific exercise. It’s a day when you focus all your attention while you’re at the gym on developing your lower body. Think glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads.
Why do you need a special day devoted to your legs? They power many of your favorite activities. They also carry you throughout the day. If you’re someone who tends to lean more toward upper body strength training or whole-body cardiovascular workouts, you need to give your legs a little focused love.
During leg day, you’ll concentrate all your efforts on boosting the muscle strength, stamina and flexibility of your legs, hips and backside. That usually means engaging in activities like squats, lifting and stretching. Although leg day can seem overwhelming because of its intensity, it offers widespread benefits that you won’t want to miss.
Is Leg Day Really Necessary?
You don’t want to skip your leg day, even if you know that you might feel the burn for a day or so afterward. As long as you safely approach your leg day activities and workouts, you’ll get a host of benefits for your efforts:
- You’ll build muscles in your lower body. Never underestimate the advantages of having stronger legs, whether you’re playing a pickup game of basketball or hitting the trail for a long run.
- You’ll increase your body’s fat-burning ability. Feeling like you’ve hit a plateau in your weight loss regimen? Add a leg day to your weekly routine to switch things up. Many people see results within a few weeks.
- You’ll see a difference during ordinary activities. After a few leg days, you might notice that your workplace stairs no longer leave you huffing and puffing, and keeping up with the kids at the park is a piece of cake. You can thank leg day for giving you an extra boost of endurance.
- You’ll balance your body symmetry. If you’ve been ignoring your legs for a while, you might be more developed in your upper body. Leg day allows you to better balance the way you look, which can actually help you with other athletic performance endeavors by ensuring you don’t put too much stress on one part of the body.
- You’ll get a bit of mental discipline. It can be tough to face leg day sometimes. Remind yourself that skipping it isn’t an option. When you keep yourself on track by engaging in weekly leg days, you’ll feel a sense of confidence knowing that you’ve made your health a priority.
Making the Most of Every Leg Day
If you don’t already have leg day on your calendar, you’ll want to pencil it in. When should you do leg day? Typically, people like to build one into their routine about once a week or so. Figure out where it works best for you, set the date in stone and get those legs looking and functioning better than ever.