Why Leg Day is so important for your leg training
The feeling you get when you put the barbell back in its holder, stand up from the flat bench and feel the blood pumping up your chest muscles is simply priceless! Anyone who likes to spend their time repeatedly pushing their physical limits and expanding them a little further every day knows what we are talking about here. But too often it happens that only the muscles that are visible at first glance are trained – these are mostly biceps, chest and back. Sure, of course! It’s also the most fun to train these muscles. After all, training successes are not long in coming and are also noticed by others.
Leg training is often neglected . Instead, many exercisers put on wide sweatpants to draw attention to the well-trained upper body wrapped in a tight shirt and to hide their thin legs. However, a real athlete knows that leg training is and must be an essential part of training!
While several reasons for this seem obvious, for many it is not worth the effort. Evil tongues mock the notorious leg-day skipper as “disco pumper”. But we want to take an objective approach and make it clear why you shouldn’t do without leg training, even if “you can’t see them in the club”.
But first of all the facts: Human legs can be divided into six superordinate muscle groups :
Starting with the largest muscle in volume of the body, the gluteus muscle, which is involved in almost all movement sequences of the legs and represents the most important connection between the legs and the hips, it goes further down, where we find the actually strongest muscle in the body : The Quadriceps femori s or the four-headed thigh muscle . The four strands of this muscle are responsible for stretching the leg, which is why it is also known as the leg extensor. You can see this muscle (two to four of its strands, depending on the training progress) on the front of the thigh if you stretch your leg and look up from the knee. The biceps femoris ( two-headed thigh muscle or thigh flexor) is the antagonist of this muscle and is located on the back of the thigh below the gluteal muscles. It is used when the leg is to be bent and, through its contraction (shortening), pulls the thigh extensor back into the starting position.
In addition, the Sartoris muscle and the adductors are located in the upper part of the legs. While the Sartoris muscle enables rotation of the knee joint, among other things, and the gluteal muscles help lift the leg sideways from the body, the adductors enable the opposite movement and pull the leg closer to the body. This goes both towards the upper body and towards the pubic region.
Last but not least: the calf muscles, consisting of the antagonists M. gastrocnemius ( calf extensor ) and M. soleus ( calf flexors). The calf extensor allows you to stand on your tiptoe. It stretches your foot, is the powerhouse of both lower leg muscles and, together with the thigh extensor, is extremely demanding, especially when accelerating during a sprint.
The calf flexor causes the foot to move in the opposite direction and thus pulls the calf extensor back into its starting position. It is located next to the shin bone on the outside of the lower leg and is not even close to as strong as the calf extensor
For disciplined athletes with the goal of full-body fitness and muscles that are symmetrical from head to toe, not exercising these muscles is not an option, because:
- The muscles are the body’s burners. The larger the muscle, the greater its energy requirement – even in the resting phase! So if you don’t train these six, in some cases very large, muscles, your energy consumption will be lower than that of an athlete who trains these muscles – even when you are resting . In short: you consume less energy during training and when you rest and thus burn less fat if you do not train all your muscles.
- It is well known that if the muscle strain is above average, a growth stimulus is set , which should enable the muscle to cope with such strains more easily in the future. One could put it simply that the body notices when a muscle is too weak for an activity. Injuries occur in the muscles that we perceive as sore muscles. To repair these injuries, proteins are transported into the muscle and incorporated there. The body also releases various growth hormones (including testosterone ). The Testosterone causes, among other things, that the amino acid metabolism in the muscle cells is increased and the muscle thus increases in strength and volume, becomes more efficient and requires less regeneration time.
Now imagine how much growth hormones and how much testosterone are released when you train the largest and strongest muscle in the body . And these growth hormones not only cause the trained muscle to grow! Rather, the rise in testosterone levels causes all of your muscle growth to accelerate. And that applies to the entire body! So if you release more growth hormones through intensive leg training, your upper body muscles will also benefit significantly! So the more “Testo” the better 😉 By the way: Muscles also grow if you don’t have sore muscles after training. Muscle soreness only occurs when you overuse the muscles and injure them. This is usually only the case at the beginning of the training. Nevertheless, you should make sure to always bring the muscles to their performance limits in order to cause effective muscle growth.
In addition, it has to be said that a muscular upper body only really comes into its own if it is not supported by skinny rattling legs. After all, on the beach you want to hear “Wow!” And not “Man, your legs don’t fit your upper body at all!”
So: Don’t skip leg day!
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