When was your last leg day at the gym? Be honest here. If you answered, “what's leg day?” then you need to keep reading.
Even if you kind of, sort of, occasionally hit your legs, you should take some time to learn about what you're missing.
Skipping leg exercises can have some consequences that may surprise you.
Why You Shouldn't Skip Leg Day
First, there's the purely aesthetic aspect to consider. Chicken legs on a guy with a sculpted upper body look ridiculous. You want to keep your body looking proportional.
You wouldn't just exercise one side of your body, right? So why skip the bottom half?
But the real reason not to skip your leg exercises is that it affects your overall fitness.
Your lower body is home to some of your biggest muscles. Working them out regularly burns more calories and speeds up your metabolism.
It also causes a hormonal response in your body that can even help build upper body muscle.
So constantly prioritizing your upper body exercises over your legs may actually make it harder to hit your goals.
You'll also noticeably improve your balance, and your athletic performance. The power you generate from your lower body comes in handy for pretty much any sport. Skipping leg day deprives you of that power.
Bottom line–if you want to be bigger, faster, and stronger, then you have to work out your legs.
3 Great Leg Exercises
So what are some of the essential leg exercises to build and sculpt your lower half?
There are plenty of variations and different exercises to choose from, but these are three of our favorites.
We've included some links to Youtube videos so you can see examples of these exercises and demonstrations on form and technique.
You probably saw this one coming, but there's really no leaving it off this list. In terms of building strength and muscle mass, this is the most effective exercise.
The squat works your lower body, but it's really a whole body exercise. Seriously, it works just about every muscle group aside from your chest.
The important thing to remember with the squat is form. Your form can make or break the gains you see. You can also wind up hurting yourself if you don't perform it correctly.
The Bulgarian split squat is a different take on the traditional squat. Those who do it regularly swear by it. It takes the load off your spine, improves hip and quad mobility, and helps to fix strength imbalances between your legs.
You can do it just about anywhere, at any time. It's also easy to recover afterward. They aren't as popular as the barbell squat, but they've been gaining advocate rapidly.
Lunges can be performed with either a barbell across your back or dumbbells in your hands. People traditionally think of them as a quadricep exercise. However, it actually relies more heavily on the glutes and hamstrings.
Lunges can be a great way to finish off a leg workout. They're also good for improving balance and isolating each leg.
So don't skip leg day. Instead, incorporate these three exercises into your workout routine and see the results for yourself.