Training

Leg Day Twice A Week… You’re Kidding, Right?!

Are you sick and tired of looking in the mirror and seeing scrawny, chicken legs every time you don a pair of shorts?

Are you one of those guys who only wear sweatpants to the gym, especially on leg day?!

If you’ve noticed that the bottom half doesn’t necessarily match the top half of your body in terms of muscular development, chances are you’re not the only one either. Yes, those are twigs you see as your legs and you’ve neglected them for far too long. It’s time to grab the bull by the horns, and get serious about training them! That way you’ll never have to answer the question of do you even lift…?

Leg Day Excuses Abound!

We’ve seen it, heard it (and most likely said it) all…

  • “Squats just make me big and bulky…”

  • “Running and jogging are my leg workouts…”

  • “Squats are bad for my knees…”

There’s a famous saying that says that an excuse is a lullaby to soothe a guilty conscience. Enough with the excuses already! It’s time to conquer your fears, excuses, and phobias that are holding you back from some true gains.

Leg training isn’t fancy, frilly or sexy. It’s hard, and by that, I mean leg training is exhausting, gruelling, and sometimes nausea-inducing. However, the positive effects your body will experience from leg training – especially twice per week – will pay back ten-fold.

man using leg extension machine

Why Train Legs… Let Alone Twice A Week?

There’s a TON of reasons why you should be training legs with hardcore mentality:

  • Gains, Gains, Gains! Legs account for over half of the body’s musculature. Hardcore and heavy leg training elicits a tremendous anabolic response by the body and can even increase testosterone production. This will lead to muscle growth increases not only in your legs but all over your body!

  • Improved Athleticism: Every strong structure in the world, whether it be an athlete, bodybuilder or skyscraper starts from the ground and goes up. If you want to run faster and jump higher, then you MUST prioritize leg training! The quads, glutes, and hamstrings are your power base and are the prime-movers of all sports. Look around, and you won’t find too many successful athletes that choose to skip leg day. Plus, at one point or another in an athlete’s career, an injury sidelines them and it becomes counterproductive to hit the two upper body days in a row. Workaround this issue by swapping in an extra leg day and build up that base.

  • Injury Recovery: Over the years of working out, injuries, strains, and muscle pulls are bound to happen. Frequently these occur in the top half of the body from lots of heavy pressing movements (and not enough pulling and leg movements)! When the top half is broken, work the bottom half. Just because you’ve torn a pec or rotator cuff from excessive pressing doesn’t give you an excuse to slouch on your workouts. There is an entire lower half of the body that is perfectly healthy and will stand to gain from the extra attention it will receive.

  • Weight Loss: Want to kick-start your metabolic furnace and set your fat burning engine into overdrive? Start hitting legs twice per week! Building on the first bullet point, lower body compound exercises are some of the most metabolically demanding and calorically “expensive” for your body to perform. Deadlifts, lunges, squats, Bulgarian split squats, and box jump crank up your metabolism and keep it running in the red (e.g. incinerating more calories and fat) in the hours following your workout.

  • Last, but not least… Aesthetics: Yes, it may seem superficial and shallow, but one of the reasons most guys first start working out is to get in shape and look better. Aesthetics is all about proportion – legs provide the very foundation for that aesthetically pleasing physique. Prioritize your leg training and the attention you receive from potential suitors will be vastly improved!

Training Splits

Hopefully you’re convinced by now to put a little more dedication and time and into your leg training. But there’s one question left to answer…

How do I train them twice per week?!

Fortunately, there’s more than one way to skin this cat that enables you to hit your legs two times in the span of a week and not be in dire need of a wheelchair.

  • Heavy/Light Workout Days: If you want to start training legs with increased frequency, you’ve got to be smart about workout programming. No lifter can go heavy all the time. For the first leg day of the week, go HEAVY with the weights (3-5 reps per set) to build your strength. Then, on the second day, go a little lighter on the weights (8-12 reps per set) to focus on hypertrophy of those quads, glutes, and hammies.

  • Weights/Plyometrics: Whether you’re an athlete or not, you want your muscles to not only be capable of moving heavy weights and looking good, but you also want them to be functional. This is especially important if you are an athlete or weekend warrior! To accel on the field, you want to develop not only your strength, but also your speed, power, and agility. Do this by focusing the first leg workout of the week on resistance exercises (i.e. squats, lunges, split squats) and then the second workout on plyometric exercises that will improve sports performance (box jumps, depth jumps, agility/reaction drills). Combining these two training modalities ensure the gains made in the weight room translate to success on the field!

  • Quadricep/Hamstring Focus: A final way to obliterate those lower body muscles is to split your workout into the front half and back half. The first workout of the week will use exercises that emphasize the quads (muscles on the front of the legs), while the second workout of the week hits the back half of the leg (i.e. the hamstrings, glutes, and calves). This allows you to really keen in on those lagging muscles on your lower half and get after them instead of trying to hit everything in only one workout.

Time To Get Serious!

All guys want bulging biceps, round shoulders, and a chiselled chest, but eventually, you HAVE to work your legs! Guys dread LEG DAY for a reason.

It’s hard, gruelling, and more often than not the most beatdown you’ll feel after any workout. But stay the course and your rewards will be amazing! No longer will people ask, did you skip leg day?!

Instead, they’ll take one look and think you’re the second coming of QUADZILLA!

 


References: Häkkinen, K; Acute hormone responses to heavy resistance lower and upper extremity exercise in young versus old men.; Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä; 1998.

Melby, C; Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate; Journal of Applied Physiology; 1 October 1993; Vol. 75 no. 4.



Myprotein

Myprotein

Writer and expert


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