I guess we’ve all heard the advice “Never skip leg day”, haven’t we? That’s great advice I recommend following. You may probably think that it is all about aesthetics. I’m pretty sure you do not want to have the “huge arms on chicken legs” look. Yeah, while it is about aesthetics too, because many of us saw guys with ‘chicken legs’ but great pecs. They simply do not look good. However, it’s not all about looks. Do you know that there are actually other great benefits to training the lower body except for a great aesthetic appearance?
I recommend you read on to find out more info about the benefits of training your lower body. I am also going to include some of our favorite exercises for building up strength in your legs and making them bigger and more muscular. Therefore, it may be a cliché or you might have heard about it a million times, but I’m going to say it again: Never skip leg day!
Three Important Benefits Of Training Your Lower Body (Leg Day Importance)
Improves balance and agility
We’re walking every day so the balance builds over time (years) without realizing it. We’ve been working on our balance from our first step when we were children, but it has been a long time since we did not “work it” anymore in our adult lives. As long as you want to progress on it, you need to work on it. The ability to stop, change direction and most locomotion movements require you to have lower body strength. While we can do that effortlessly, training your lower body will greatly improve balance and agility. Moreover, it also leads to excellent single-leg balance and more power to avoid falls and injuries. That’s both while you are training and in your daily life.
Strengthen and correct muscle imbalances
Everyone favors one side of their body over the other. We do it involuntarily. That’s why you may notice that one side of your body performs better than the other. That’s why most imbalances occur during daily activities or during any sports that you might play. However, if you’re going to train your lower body, you are going to strengthen and correct those imbalances. That’s because you strengthen the connective tissues around your lower body joints.
For example, professional runners often find that they are somewhat firmer and tighter in their quads than hamstrings. This leads to muscle strains. Nonetheless, by strengthening the hamstring – they prevent muscle strains from occurring.
Strengthening your lower body will greatly help you look better and will greatly help you in your daily activities. You will be able to walk for longer without getting tired as fast. Moreover, you will also be able to run faster and longer. An improved lower body will improve neuromuscular coordination, power, and VO2 max. Additionally, it is going to improve your coordination and stride efficiency. This helps you run faster and longer. It also helps you walk longer distances without getting tired. That includes performing daily tasks easier.
The Best Exercises For Leg Day
Barbell Front Squat
The barbell front squat is very similar to the back squat in terms of alignment. However, instead of keeping it behind you, you need to keep the barbell in front of you. You have two options to keep your hands shoulder-width apart: under the bar or crossed over the bar. You need to maintain a stable shelf for the barbell. Do it by keeping your elbows up.
Then you should engage your core and get into a squat stance. Make sure to push evenly through your feet. Drive through your heels and thrust your hips back down. Allow the knees to follow the foot’s midline. Pretty much like any squat type, you should try to get your thighs parallel to the floor.
Then, as you have reached your deepest range, engage your core and drive up through your feet in order to return to the starting position.
Barbell Front Squat Benefits:
- Works on your quadriceps, glutes, hamstring, core, and back.
- Helps build a more powerful and bigger lower body.
- Greatly improves leg strength and hypertrophy. Will help build a stronger back too.
Single-leg Romanian Deadlift
You should start your setup as you would for a stiff-leg deadlift. Have your feet hip-width apart and keep the barbell directly over the center of your feet. Set down the working leg and get your supporting leg back. Push your hips back and keep a proper form. Grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and pull your shoulders down. Keep them almost as if you are holding something in your armpit.
When you rise, you will need to keep the barbell path close to the front leg. As you are reaching your knee, push your hips forward. Then when you reach the top, lock in a slight posterior pelvic tilt. As you descend, make sure to push your hips back until you get to your knee. From this position drop the bar straight down. Of course, you should switch legs.
Single-leg Romanian Deadlift Benefits:
- This exercise involves constant tension that targets the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. This greatly improves their strength and hypertrophy.
- Similar to rack pulls, the single-leg Romanian deadlift is going to help improve the upper back and lockout strength too. It will help you perform conventional deadlifts more easily.
- It is going to greatly help improve your balance and posture.
Barbell Hip Thrust
In order to perform the barbell hip thrust, you are going to need a low bench. The one that is 16 inches or even shorter. Your starting position is when you sit with your back to the bench with your shoulder blades sitting flush on the top of the bench. From this position, rest the barbell across your hips. You may find it uncomfortable/painful. That’s why a lot of people use a barbell pad or towel under the bar.
Keep your feet planted hip-width apart. Press into your feet and lift your hips off the ground. In this position, you will find your shoulders are on the bench and your hips should be off the ground. It is like you create a bridge position (or a tabletop). As soon as you reach the top of the bridge position, you need to make sure that your chin is still tucked in. Of course, lower back down. But as you do it, you should control your form and pace.
Barbell Hip Thrust Benefits:
- This exercise will be great at building more glute mass, strength, and power. It is actually helping more than any other hip extension exercise.
- The hip thrust is actually less technical and more accessible than other heavily loaded movements. For example, the back squats and deadlift versions.
- It’s an amazing exercise for improving glute strength. Generally, it will be overall perfect for stabilization, strength, and muscle hypertrophy of the core, lower back, and pelvis areas too.
Barbell Split Squat
You will start this exercise by placing the barbell across your back. Exactly as you would in a back squat. Engage your core and your upper body. Draw the elbows down and in. You may find that keeping your gaze forward and focused on one spot is going to help. The next thing you should do is to take a step back with one leg. Make sure to keep your shoulders and hips from tipping forward. Drop your back knee as close to the floor as possible. Then press through your feet in order to return to your starting standing position.
Make sure to keep a good form throughout the entire movement. After you complete all reps on one leg, switch to the other one.
Barbell Split Squat Benefits:
- It both greatly helps increase stability and mass. Of course, you will notice an increase in the strength of your quads and glutes. Mass building potential greatly enhances.
- It will do a great job of reducing strength and any other forms of imbalances.
- The exercise is great for improving leg drive on each side. This is going to help your bilateral squats and deadlifts too.
Ready To Get A Huge Lower Body (Enhance Leg Day)?
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