Have you ever wondered why some bodybuilders have a massive upper body, but when you scroll down to their legs you are left wondering what went wrong. While not everyone is blessed with Hulk-like genetics with huge thighs and calves, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve your stature with a good leg workout plan.
The chicken leg phenomenon is indeed real and no bodybuilder really wants to have an impressive upper body that is supported by skinny legs. Leg workout for bodybuilding muscle is often the way out of this predicament, but this takes dedication and focus.
In this post, we will explain why you should do leg workout, the benefits of a good leg workout plan while highlighting some leg workout exercises that you can start at home today.
Why Its Important to do Leg Workout for Building Muscle
Leg workout for building muscle is important for several reasons, but the most fundamental of these reasons are as follows;
Leg Workout Improves your All-round Movement
Do you know that your leg muscles form the largest skeletal muscle group in your body? It is for this reason alone that you really need to workout your legs. Building the muscles of your legs will ultimately improve your all-round movement.
With well built muscles, you wouldn’t find it difficult to engage in multiple movements including crouching, walking, running, sitting, jumping, standing, and so on.
Leg Workout Strengthens your Legs Muscles
With strong leg muscles, you will be able to achieve optimal performance as a bodybuilder or athlete. Your leg muscles are necessary for carrying out just about any daily routine including your workout sessions.
Strong legs give you the balance needed to execute a number of different exercises, such as; lunges, squats, jumping jacks, and so on.
Leg Workout promotes well-toned and visually appealing legs
Chicken legs can be quite embarrassing, especially when supporting a well-built upper body. For your overall body aesthetic, it is important to train your legs.
With well toned, muscular legs you will have a more holistic and visually appealing stature.
Leg workouts help to strengthen joint and bones
Indeed, when you regularly train your legs, you will improve your joint and bone strength. Leg training helps you to avoid major injuries by strengthening the joints of your hips, knees and ankles.
These joints are often subjected to a significant amount of stress when performing regular activities and even more so when you workout. But by training your legs, you will be able to cope with the rigors associated with your daily activities as well as your scheduled high-interval intensity training (HIIT).
Leg workouts improves cardio, burns calories and fat
Your leg training helps with your cardiovascular system as your heart is put to work to pump more oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your body.
Leg workout burns calories as well as promotes the burning of excessive, unhealthy body fat.
What’s the Best Leg Workout Plan?
The best leg workout plan is one that trains the muscle groups of your calves, hamstrings, glutes and quads. Any leg workout that fails to address these four muscle groups cannot qualify as adequate.
If you are a beginner to bodybuilding, then you should know now that your leg training can’t be as intense as a bodybuilder that has been training for quite a while.
Your exercise routine as an upstart would aim at you perfecting the form required to execute the leg exercise correctly.
Poor form is often the challenge of newbies, so your primary objective early on is to perfect your form and build some strength in your legs before trying out more difficult variations or even including weight training to your routine.
There are quite a few variations of leg exercises, but it is advisable to start by executing 3 sets with between 8 to 13 repetitions (reps) for each set. This should build up your leg strength while you work on getting your form in order.
Once you are able to execute 3 sets with 12 reps with little or no difficulty while maintaining perfect form throughout, you can then consider yourself ready to move on to the next stage of your training which may involve the use of weights like dumbbells.
Therefore, the best leg workout plan is one that is suited to your bodybuilding and training needs which can be determined with the help of a qualified bodybuilding coach.
Benefits of Bodybuilding Legs Workout
Bodybuilding leg workout offers a lot of benefits. Here are a few worth mentioning:
By strengthening the muscle groups of your lower body through leg training, you will be able to reduce the occurrence of both minor and major injuries. This is because your muscles and bones will be stronger and better able to withstand the intensity of training.
Triggers Hormone Response
As you exert yourself training your legs, you will trigger various hormone responses. For example, your cortisol (stress) hormone will be stimulated and this can help to boost the metabolism of body fat.
Your human growth hormone will also be triggered and this can also stimulate dat metabolism while boosting your immunity and skeletal muscle growth.
Another vital hormone that is stimulated by leg training is your testosterone which helps promote protein synthesis to quicken the repair of damaged muscle tissue while also promoting the growth of skeletal muscle tissue.
Each time you train your legs either as a pair or individually, you strengthen your leg muscles and improve your full body balance.
Working out your legs will guarantee more mobility, strength and flexibility which are all necessary for improved balance.
Also, by training one leg at a time, you will be able to engage core muscles which leads to a much improved level of balance.
Leg Muscle Toning and Sculpting
You will be able to both tone and sculpt the muscles of your left whenever you train them.
This is not just aesthetically pleasing, but also helps with your lower body strength as well.
Burning of Calories
Leg training helps to stimulate your body’s fat metabolism helping you to burn not just calories, but also body fat.
Other benefits of leg training include:
- Improvement in posture
- Reduced back and joint pain
- Improvements in stability
- Improvements in your mobility ensuring that you have a full-range of motion
- Improved fitness levels
Leg Workout for Building Muscle Training Exercises
As mentioned already, there are many leg training exercises that you can do at home or at your local gym. However, as a beginner, you might want to start up with some home leg workouts. Here are five leg workouts that you can try out at home with just ample space and an exercise mat required.
With calf raises, you will further strengthen your calf muscles as they’re usually strengthened by most leg exercises.
You can perform this leg workout in the following way:
- stand upright on your feet with them being separated by a hip-width distance
- keep your hands rested either on an elevated box or on a wall for support
- make sure that your spine is kept neutral even as your core is engaged
- with the balls of your feet, push up and hold this posture for about a second
- after holding the posture for one second, gradually lower yourself to the ground
As the name suggests, you will need to train the muscle groups of your legs by moving them sideways. Lateral lunges will help triangle your abductors and adductors which makes this leg exercise different from squats or regular lunges.
To execute Lateral lunges, you need to do the following:
- stand upright with your core engaged and your feet separated by just a hip-width of distance
- place one foot to your side bending your knees as the foot is planted to the ground and you push back your hips in the process
- you will stop bending as soon as your thigh is parallel to the ground
- with the foot planted to the ground, push up and return to the starting posture
Standard lunges are compound exercises which can help to strengthen one leg at a time while also improving your stability and core strength.
With lunges, you will be able to strengthen and stretch out your hip flexors which are known to become weak and tight due to a sedentary lifestyle. To execute this leg workout, you need to…
- stand upright with your feet separated by just a hip-width distance
- your should place your hands on your hips
- make sure your core is engaged even as you place one foot forward (2 to 3 feet)
- bend your forward leg while you lower the body to the point where the knee of your back leg is just a little off the ground
- with your forward leg and foot, push up back to the starting upright position
- repeat this leg exercise for your desired number of sets and reps on one side before switching over to your other side and repeating the leg exercise once more according to your preferred sets and reps
Like standard lunges, squats are also compound exercises because they are able to engage several muscle groups and joints at the same time. Squats help you to build muscle strength to provide the balance needed for more tedious exercises.
In addition to strength gains, squats will build up your stamina level as well. Here’s how to execute a good Squat leg workout;
- Stand up tall keeping your feet a shoulder-width apart
- Your feet should be turned facing out a little bit
- Bend at your knees with your hips going backwards even as you engage core muscles
- Your arms can be held out to give you balance as you execute this workout
- You can also place your hands on your hips for balance even as you bend at the knees during your squats
- To get back to your starting position (standing tall), you will need to push through the floor with your feet
You can work one leg at a time using step ups and build the strength of each leg in the process. Step ups allow you to train every major muscle group of your legs and that includes your glutes.
This exercise can be done in your home and by adding weights or making adjustments to the step size, you will increase the difficulty level of the workout.
Here’s how to execute step ups:
- Stand upright while facing a bench, box or step
- Raise one foot and firmly place it on your preferred raised platform
- Place your bodyweight on the raised leg (the leg with the foot firmly placed on a bench, box or step)
- Push up with the planted foot to a standing position where your other foot can touch the bench, box or step
- Put your other foot back to the ground then return the planted foot also to the ground
- Repeat this exercise for your desired number of repetitions before you switch legs and repeat the process
The leg workout equipment in your local gym can also help you achieve the strength and muscle gains of your legs. But never use these machines with proper guidance from a qualified trainer.
You can work your quads using a leg extension machine while your hamstrings will benefit greatly from the use of a leg curl machine.
However, the leg press machine in your gym will help to train your entire lower extremities.
If you want to build the muscle groups and over strength of your lower body, then leg work is an absolute must.
Leg workout for building muscle will also engage your core while building stability, balance, mobility, flexibility, and improving your body’s ability to attain a full-range of motion.
However, you will need to develop a leg workout plan before you start training your legs and this plan will be in line with your full body workout routine. There are so many leg workouts that you can engage in at home or at your local gym.
The most popular leg exercises include calf raises, lateral lunges, standard lunges, squats and step ups. There are variations to these leg workouts with the inclusion of weights necessary if you want more challenge and gains.
Nevertheless, as a beginner your primary focus should be to perfect your form for safety, muscle and strength gains.
You can get coached on various leg workouts today by reaching out to our free coaching here.