How to love leg day workout according to Healthy Man trainer Ed Stephenson!

By Ed Stephenson, Healthy Man Trainer

It’s that time of the week, where you’ve already trained your favourite muscle groups to the point where it would be silly to work them again, and your mate suggests you ‘Workout your legs’. Dread runs through you and you make a quick excuse along the lines of, ‘yeh mate I’ve been shovelling gravel all day, I’m wrecked, let’s just do something easy”.

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For the third week in a row, you’ve successfully skipped leg day workout. At the time, you back your decision, but really you know at some point it’s time to suck it up and find a solid leg routine that won’t make you want to skip it every week.

This guide will break down some great ways to tackle leg day exercise, from organising your own program, to finding a correct workout split which suits your body and schedule best.

3 ways to learn to love leg day workout

First up – Train legs regularly.

Your legs form a massive part of your body and are needed for essentially every single movement you do in your day to day, functional life. From your glutes to your quads & hamstrings, down to your calves and feet, your legs are integral to proper bodily functions and should therefore be trained regularly and with varying stimulus in order to maximise their potential.

Training your legs regularly naturally has a range of benefits.

Firstly, hormone release. It has been shown that stimulating your legs through exercise can release large amounts of testosterone, cortisol and natural human growth hormone (HGH) in your system, an awesome feature that can increase your performance and impacts all other muscle groups in their growth and stimulus.

Aside from sculpting lean muscular legs, training your legs regularly can assist in power and force production, assisting you in increasing your athletic performance and endurance. While this ‘athletic’ aspect may not appear directly relevant for some, try imagining how much more engaged you could be with your kids as a Dad running, jumping and rolling around with them, or even keeping up with them with their sports!

While we can go on and on about benefits like injury prevention, core stability and control, strengthening bones, improved posture & weight loss, we think you get a general idea.

Second up – Start with the hard stuff.

With most resistance programs, you’ll find the exercises progress from most intense to least intense. Your big compound movements, movements that incorporate multiple muscles and muscle groups simultaneously, generally occur at the start of a workout after your warmup. Think squats, deadlifts, pullups, bench press, rows, military (shoulder press).

It’s no different with legs. If you view leg day as a chore, try to change your perception of it by being efficient with your time and movements, – complete your compound movements first! They are the most demanding of the body, they require the most energy to perform and because of this, we want to be as explosive, stable and energised as possible when completing them.

For example, the barbell back squat takes on the core, abs, quads, glutes, lower back, upper back, chest and more in one strong movement, as opposed to something like a leg extension, which primarily only works the quads.

Performing big compound movements regularly, while they are exhaustive and fatiguing, means we become more efficient in the way we function, but it also makes the movement easier as we develop strength and stability in the muscle and joints, a key aspect to helping us enjoy leg day.

Lastly – variety.

The way we tackle our resistance program greatly impacts the way we view our lower body or leg routine. For example, a 5 day split, with a day given to chest, back, shoulders, legs & cardio/abs, puts a high level of pressure on having an intense and thorough leg routine in a single session.

Alternatively, a resistance program focusing on working the entire body each day for 5 days, can incorporate variations of leg exercises each day, i.e. squat and deadlift, whilst removing the pressure of having a single day dedicated to legs during the week.

Following on with this mindset, if the whole body each day can get overwhelming, we can even split our lower body routine into a ‘quad dominant’ day, being squats and the like, and a ‘hip dominant’ routine, being deadlifts and more hip hinge patterns. With this split, we are still getting the consistency in with multiple lower body sessions in a week, but we are also removing the stress and pressure of having a soul-destroying leg session.

Read more advice and tips from Ed here.

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written by:

Ed Stephenson

Ed is The Healthy Man's Trainer and Ambassador, he has 7 years of experience in the fitness industry. His qualifications include a Certificate III, Certificate IV in Fitness, with a Certificate in Nutrition. He's here to help men get fit, lose weight and gain strength through exercise, nutrition and making the right decisions.