These are the muscles often forgotten by bodybuilders. Leg day is actually the day when all the machines are available without having to wait for them.
Not training your lower body as well as the upper part is in my opinion a big mistake. If you want to follow bodybuilding by the book, leg workout is a must.
I would even tend to say that you are not totally part of the bodybuilding community as long as you do not dedicate a session to your legs.
Let’s begin by finding out why we do not train our legs.
Why We Don’t Train our Legs
We all have more or less shitty excuses not to train our legs: ‘Doing squat hurts my knee, I train my legs when playing football …’
This must be the most used excuse in the world of bodybuilding. I actually was a great fan of that excuse (it’s bad I know)!
It’s true that legs are not necessarily a muscle easily detected under some pants. You must admit that you are rarely wearing shorts in everyday life and people will pay more attention to your arms and your chest than your legs.
The pain occurring when training your legs is a pain that some people can’t bear. I cannot explain why but I heard a guy who said he did not train his legs because he hated the feeling it gave him.
Oddly, the upper body workout didn’t bother him more than that.
Anyway, you’ll understand that these are all different funny excuses to avoid training your legs.
But now, let’s see why it is very important not to forget them.
This is the most obvious argument when talking about legs.
Having an upper body worthy of the Greek mythology heroes and cotton buds instead of legs is really stupid, isn’t it?
You will understand by not willing to train your legs that you will end up with a disproportion between your upper and your lower body. And I believe that there is nothing uglier and ridiculous than being in this situation.
The worst part about it is that people are going to focus on your crappy legs instead of paying attention to your upper body even if it is huge.
If you do not believe me, I invite you to type in Google ‘leg day’ and you will find hundreds of hilarious pictures. You will even see incredible disproportions and I promise you that you will be motivated to train your legs.
Largest Muscle Group
Legs with your buttock is the largest muscle of your body. If you want to gain mass and thus gain weight, training your legs will be mandatory.
You can easily gain 5kgs and more by working out your legs only. Moreover, if you noticed, most rugby players are very heavy even the ‘small guys’.
You will observe that their arms are not huge (somehow) but they have massive legs explaining the heavy weight on the scale.
Better Growth of Other Muscles
Training your legs will increase the production of anabolic hormones (especially testosterone) resulting in a better growth of your upper body.
Indeed, there is a kind of symmetry between the lower and upper body. The bigger your legs will be, the more likely your upper body will gain in volume.
I experienced it myself. Like I said, at the very beginning I was not training my legs and despite gaining size for all my other muscles, I kinda reached my potential. Training my legs allowed me to increase my arms size but also my chest.
Of course you won’t gain 10cms of biceps just because you are training your legs! but you will certainly be able to pull some unsuspected benefits.
The last paragraph and not the least: getting stronger.
When doing bench press, military press (shoulders), you are using your legs. If they are strong, I can assure you that you will be able to add a few extra pounds on your bar.
Deadlift and squat are very interesting basic compound exercises to gain strength. It is often advised to include those three compound exercises (with bench press) in your workouts for a complete optimization of your sessions mainly due to growth hormones.
In addition to the aesthetic balance, there is also the balance of power, not really mentioned on the different articles on internet. Having a strong upper body can be a big handicap if your lower part is not strong enough. Let me explain.
Long time ago, I was playing football a lot. I was well-muscled and strong especially for my torso but rather weak in my legs because I was not training them. When I was in a challenge with an opponent, I could easily clear him out with my shoulder. The problem is that I often hurt my legs. The physical impact was such that my legs could not keep up because they were too weak.
It’s like boxing or playing rugby! Just picture a player concentrating all his strength in the upper body! He wouldn’t last long enough on the field or on the ring. This balance of power is therefore essential especially if you practice another sport.
We can use this last paragraph in everyday life. When making your move, it’s nice to be able to lift 50kgs with your biceps but don’t forget that you first need to lift the furniture from the ground. If your legs are too weak, you will never be able to lift it.
Legs are unpopular muscles at gym. However, strong legs will not only allow you to aesthetically harmonize your body but also help you to be stronger and lift heavier.
If you want to start bodybuilding, make it to the end! As the saying goes: ‘Not do things by halves!’ And if you do not like leg’s pain, do not forget that ‘No Pain No Gain !’
It’s time to go and Squat my dear lifters!