Wide shoulders, big arms, and pumped pecs are something that almost every male is striving for in the gym. It looks nice and draws attention. The upper body is much easier to train that the lower body and this is apparent in gyms all over. Training the legs is what separates the serious trainers from the weekend warriors. If you want a complete physique, you need to get serious about training your legs.
This is the most common day to skip and the gym. Leg day can be painful and brutal. You have far more muscle in your lower body than upper body and the muscle groups are much larger. The slight burning sensation you feeling your biceps after many sets in reps is nothing compared to the burning pain you will feel in your lower body after a very hard leg training session. If you look around the gym, you will see many people spending hours on their biceps over-training them to the point of ineffectiveness. But how often do you see people performing even one set of legitimate squats? For me, like many people leg day is by far the most difficult day in the gym. But on the bright side once your leg routine is over, from that point on all other exercises that week will be much easier (except maybe walking for a few days). Don’t wait until later the week get it done on the first day while you have energy and focus.
The squat is one of the most important exercises in any training routine. It hits almost every muscle from your neck down. It requires of the great amount of focus and proper form to avoid injuries. It is very important to make sure you are squatting properly before you get too crazy with heavy weight. It is also important to learn how to squat parallel or below. Many people won’t squat low enough for complete leg development. You wouldn’t perform a bicep curl until your arms are only halfway straight so why would you squat until you’re not all the way down? The squat should be as important to you as bench press when working your chest. In addition there are many variations of the squat. For example, to add more focus to your quadriceps or if you’re having back trouble, you can perform a front squat. If you are not confident you can use a Smith machine but remember you won’t have proper mechanics like you will using a barbell. A machine is fine for a little while, but it is best to learn how to squat properly until you’re confident in your technique.
In addition to your quadriceps and hamstrings, your calves complete the lower body package. They are small muscle group which means they can be hit more frequently, and they should if they are your weak point. They are a very stubborn muscle group and it is difficult to make them grow. The two primary muscles or the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The soleus is worked more when your knees bent such as with seated calf raises for longer sets in short rest. The gastroc is worked more when your legs are straight such as a standing calf raise. You should still use higher reps, but they can be a little lower for the gastroc. You will need to train them at least twice a week.
Training the lower body is crucial for complete physique development. Training the legs burns more calories than training any other muscle group. It also can increase the release of growth hormone and testosterone if you train hard enough. It can increase your jumping ability and your pain tolerance. It separates the men from the boys. Make training your legs a priority. Don’t deprive your body of its fullest potential.