My thighs are burning! I’ve just come out of 30 mins of eye-watering pain! My legs feel like jelly and they shake as I walk out of the gym and back to my car…
Such is the ordeal that happens after a solid leg workout. And for most guys, partly perhaps because of this very reason, there’s way too much of a tendency, every time they get back in the gym, to jump back onto the bicep curl machine or the bench press. Or they jump on the treadmill at barely above walking speed for half an hour and call that a leg workout! Come on fellas! As tough as it may be, you’re missing out on a whole lot. If this sounds at all like you, here’s 5 reasons why you should work out your legs, hard.
1. Build Muscle, Fast!
When I refer to the legs, I’m talking about the thighs, glutes, hamstrings, calves, shins and ankles. Together, the legs form more than 70% of all the muscle density in your body. Believe it or not, the glutes alone are the largest muscles in the human body! When you work out your legs properly, you incorporate way more muscle than you otherwise would, and the more muscle incorporation you have, the faster you’ll build muscle. If you wanna build more muscle, fast, work out your legs hard.
2. Burn More Fat
This kind of goes along with the first point about building more muscle. The whole principle of fat-burning can be explained like this: Your body is like a furnace. Whatever fuel you put in your furnace (the calories you consume) will be burned (calories expended) in direct proportion to how big and intense the fire is (how big your muscles are and how hard they work). In other words, when you work your legs, because you’re working the largest muscles in your body, your increasing the size of your “fire” and giving your body a chance to burn more fat. The more muscle you build on your body, and the more muscle you incorporate in your workouts, the more fat you’ll burn.
3. Increase Your Fitness Levels Dramatically
When people talk about fitness, they’re usually referring to how much you can run without getting puffed, or how long you can last out on the basketball court or the rugby field. Any real athlete that’s training to get fit will tell you that they spend 70-80% of their time training on their legs. This means they’re either working out their legs with weights, or they’re running, sprinting, jumping or a combination of all of these. The legs have massive amounts of strength and endurance potential in them, and this potential can only be harnessed when you work your legs, hard. By training your legs harder, and more often, you’ll notice a dramatic increase in your fitness and stamina levels, and you’ll be able to last a lot longer in almost any type of exercise you do.
4. Leg Workouts Are Full Body Workouts
What muscles would you use in a barbell squat? What about in a dead lift? Aside from using the large muscles in your legs, such as the thighs, glutes and hamstrings, these ‘leg’ exercises also use the back, shoulders, arms and pretty much every other muscle in the body. The squat or dead lift exercises in themselves could constitute an entire workout, due to the vast amount of muscle required to move the weights. If you’ve ever watched the weightlifting part of the Olympics, you might have noticed that most of the lifters, even if they aren’t doing a traditional upper body lift such as the overhead press, will have massive chests and shoulders. That’s because they naturally use these other muscles when they work out their legs. By training legs, hard, you’ll be doing more “full body workouts” and get to your fitness and health goals faster.
5. Working Legs is Natural
If I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s one more reason. This might sound stupid to you, but I just need to make this point. Humans were made for standing, walking and running! Just as whales were made for swimming, and birds were made for flying. Whales have a completely different muscle structure, and rely on a powerful tail and fins. Birds have a much bigger upper body than their lower body to give them the strength to powerfully beat their wings and take off from the ground in flight. Humans, on the other hand, were created to stand, jump, walk and run. But in this day and age, the average male sits down for 90% of the day! We sit down when we’re at our corporate jobs. We sit down to check our Facebook notifications or to read our emails. We sit down to watch TV. And then we sit down to go to sleep (lying down isn’t much different to sitting- either way you’re not using your legs). Why then would it make sense to sit down the whole time you workout?! That’s ridiculous, if you ask me! When you workout your legs properly, you’ll be doing exercises such as the squat, dead lift, split-squat and depth jump. These exercises all involve using your body the way God intended it to be used.
Most guys spend way too much time working their upper bodies and very little time working out their lower bodies, or their legs. When you work out your legs, hard, you’ll build more muscle, burn more fat and increase your fitness levels dramatically. Not to mention you’ll be using your body more naturally and build a much more functional, balanced body as a result- it just might take a little while to get use to the wobbling… and the burning… and the eye-watering pain…