Never skip leg day—you may have heard it said before, but have you taken it to heart? It’s funny, but it’s not really a joke. As miserable an endeavor as a heavy leg workout can be, as much as you’ll fear the sight of stairs for the next few days, leg day is a vital part of any fitness regimen. Not convinced? Here are seven reasons you absolutely do NOT want to skip leg day:
- You’ll look ridiculous. Nevermind everything else, this is the important one, right? If you get the rest of your body sculpted to perfection, but have formless, skinny little legs below those rock-hard abs, you look absolutely nonsensical. If you want to walk around looking like a bad photoshop, feel free, but the rest of us will be taking leg day seriously.
- Increased risk of injury. A strong upper body without a strong lower body to stabilize it and provide a platform can easily lead to injuries ‘in the wild’. It’s the same reason you want to take advantage of compound exercises instead of doing a bunch of isolation work; unbalanced muscle development puts you at risk when you actually use those muscles.
- Improved cardio. Not many exercises can compete with the heart-working benefits of a healthy leg day workout. You’re working some big muscles, as big as the rest of your body combined—and likely not in isolation. If you want a healthier heart without a ton of running, don’t skip leg day.
- Heavy burn. Did we mention huge amounts of weight, a pumping heart, big muscles working hard? All that adds up to burning a lot of calories on leg day, so even if you don’t see the direct connection between your deadlift and sexy, sexy abs, it’s there. No other day on your calendar’s going to burn more calories for you.
- Overall strength improves. When we work our legs, the chemicals which tell our body to step up its game don’t just trickle down to them, they flood everywhere. Since you’re working the biggest muscles in your body, and they’re the furthest from the parts of your body producing those useful, useful hormones, leg day contributes more than its fair share to overall body strength. And don’t forget how important a good platform is for actually using the rest of your body’s strength.
- Used for everything. Think of something you do, out in the world, that doesn’t involve your legs to some degree. With so much dependent upon good leg strength, why would you ever focus your efforts elsewhere and leave your legs to rot? Even the least athletically-minded person in the world uses their legs on a regular basis; if you want to be fit in a useful way, don’t skip leg day.
- General athleticism. Of course, leg strength isn’t all you get from working your legs. Stronger legs and the exercises which develop them also help you develop general top-to-bottom athleticism: resistance to exhaustion, a sense of balance, etc., etc. Skipping leg day means you don’t really care at all about fitness, if we’re being quite honest.