Girls don’t often compliment us on having “nice legs” and we don’t often ask people what their maximum deadlift or squat is the same way we care about their bench-press.
If you are serious about building muscle, developing functional strength, and reducing the risk of injury, then you need to work on your legs.
- More overall muscle growth
Many studies out there have proven that doing the heavy lower-body compound exercises like squats and deadlifts actually increases the amount of testosterone released into your bloodstream. As we know, higher testosterone equals superior muscle growth throughout the body. Additionally, the higher testosterone levels will give you more energy for your other lifts and help speed up recovery time.
- Improved upper body
Believe it or not, many of the large compound lower-body exercises actually build muscle in the upper body. For example, when doing a deadlift your chest and upper back muscles tense to control the weight throughout the movement. Additionally, when performing a squat your abs are flexing hard to keep everything stable. Many athletes out there with six-pack abs never train them directly but rather just focus on the compound exercises as they find they get so much work just from doing those. Additionally, an injury in the upper body may not prevent you from training your legs, so that indirect work will help reduce muscle atrophy.
- Increased overall strength
Legs are incorporated in many of the upper-body exercises. For example, using the leg drive on the bench press or using your legs for stability on the overhead bench-press. Even abdominal exercises like planks incorporate your leg strength. It should be no surprise then that improving your lower body strength will translate to better performance on your other lifts. As you know, progressive overload is a crucial component of muscle growth and with the additional strength you have built in your legs you will be more capable of handling higher weights when doing upper-body work.
- Overall physique and discipline
Popeye may be a popular cartoon character but having an unbalanced body never looks right. Having skinny legs with a big upper-body will make you look ridiculous when wearing shorts and won’t gain you much respect in the bodybuilding community. We get it – leg day is hard – squats, deadlifts, and lunges are tiring exercises that require a tremendous amount of focus and attention to form.
Remember, leg day is not a pain in the ass – YOU LOVE LEG DAY! You can’t wait to get to the gym and bang out some squats, deadlifts, and lunges. Start changing your attitude towards leg day and watch as your maximum weight on both upper and lower body exercises soar.