Leg days are often infamous in gyms across the U.S. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Don’t miss leg day!” uttered more times than you can count. But why are leg days so important, and what are the best methods for building muscle mass in the lower portion of your body?
In this article, we’ll get into exactly why working your legs out correctly is so important. We’ll also detail the best leg workouts to use when you’re looking to build muscle mass quickly and effectively.
Why Is Leg Day So Important?
Leg muscles are critical to work out. Not only do you want your muscle sizes to be consistent and complementary throughout your body, but it’s also important that your leg muscles can best support your daily activities and workouts. Below are some of the most impactful reasons that support the importance of adequately working out your leg muscles:
- Athletic Improvement – By working out and defining your leg muscles, you can actually enhance your performance in many different sports or athletic efforts. Your leg muscles support a wide range of motion, including running, jumping, standing, walking, and lifting. By working to improve your leg muscles, you could see a significant improvement in longevity and performance.
- Workout Improvement – When you work on building muscle mass in your legs, it can significantly improve your performance and accuracy with other exercises, especially lifting. When you’re conducting heavy weightlifting, your upper arms and body rely on your legs to support the wright and provide much-needed stability.
- Increased Weight Loss – According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, working out your glutes and lower body muscles can contribute to weight loss more significantly at times due to the size of the area being worked. Essentially, your lower body has some pretty big muscles and will require extra effort to work out.
- Symmetry – Symmetry is essential while working on building your body’s muscle mass. Historically speaking, it’s often a bad habit of fitness enthusiasts and weightlifters to work on upper body mass more than lower body mass. Ignoring your lower body can make you look unsymmetrical, but it can also cause balance problems and potentially reduce your ability to perform specific movements.
- Injury Reduction – Working your legs can be an essential step to reducing the chances of injury. It’s critical that your legs and lower body muscles are strengthened and conditioned enough to support needed movements. When you don’t have enough lower body strength, you may be looking at hamstring, ACL, or lower back injuries.
- Overall Discipline – Building lower body muscle takes hard work and an extreme amount of discipline. You may find that by focusing on building up your leg muscles, you also see an increase in overall mental discipline and patience.
- Better Muscle Building – For men, they may see an improvement in the ability to build muscle mass in a variety of muscles. It’s been shown that through the use of lower body and compound exercises, testosterone levels can be increased. When you have increased testosterone levels, it can help improve your body’s ability to build muscle.
Best Workouts for Building Leg Muscle Mass
When you’re trying to build muscle in your legs effectively, you don’t want to do just any workouts. Below are five proven and effective workouts to help you increase muscle mass in your legs sooner than later.
- Leg Presses – Leg presses are an excellent exercise to work out your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. You can perform leg presses by following the below steps:
- Begin by leaning back on the press machine’s padded backrest with your back straight.
- Place your feet on the foot plat in front of you, while ensuring your feet are held flat. Your knees also need to be in the bent position.
- Straighten and lock your legs to move the weight. Lower the weight back down and bend your knees to complete the repetition.
- Barbell Squats – Barbell squat exercises are excellent for working glutes, hamstrings, calves, lower back muscles, and quadriceps. To perform this exercise, follow the below steps:
- Stand just in front of the squat rack. Place your arms up and behind the weighted bar while gripping the bar with an overhanded grip. Your grip should be as close to your shoulders as possible.
- Lower the bar onto your shoulders while maintaining your grip and slowly step away from the squat rack.
- Lower into a squat position slowly while keeping the bar held in the same position.
- Return to the standing position to complete the repetition. Repeat these steps for a predetermined rep amount.
- Leg Extensions – When you perform leg extensions, you’re working your thigh and quadricep muscles. To accomplish this exercise, complete the following steps:
- Sit on a leg extension machine with your back against the padding.
- Place your hands on the bars on either side of you, and place your feet underneath the leg-lift padding in front of you.
- Raise your legs to extend straight out, and then lower your legs back down to complete the repetition. Repeat for your predetermined rep amount.
- Standing Calf Raises – Standing calf raises are excellent for working your lower posterior, gastrocnemius, and tibialis posterior muscles in your lower legs. To perform this exercise, complete the following steps:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- While keeping your hands to your sides and your back straight, stand on your tip-toes. Hold this stance for a moment, and then lower back down to complete the rep.
- You can also perform this exercise by standing in front of a bar and gripping it firmly while lifting your heels into the same position.
- Romanian Deadlifts – Romanian deadlifts are great for working your hamstring, gluteus maximus, adductor, and erector spinae muscles. To perform this workout, try the following steps:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a weight bar on the ground in front of you.
- While keeping your back and torso straight, bend over and grip the bar in front of you with an overhanded grip.
- Lift the bar while simultaneously standing up straight. The bar should be held by the hip-area when you are fully straightened.
- Bend back down and lower the bar to the floor to complete the repetition. Make sure to keep your back straight.
As always, be careful when performing any new exercises. If possible, it’s still best to utilize an experienced trainer until you are comfortable performing the movements above.