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Have you ever seen guys who seem to have really impressive upper body strength, but really small legs? Have you ever wondered why some men seem to neglect their leg workouts, leading to the dreaded “chicken legs” phenomenon?
Leg day, a term that has become infamous among the fitness community, is the day dedicated to working out the lower half of the body.
Many people dread it and have a love-hate relationship with it. But why is this the case? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the widespread distaste for leg day, and how you can overcome these challenges and embrace working out your lower half.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and why some guys skip leg day and also reveal some surprising truths about the importance of leg workouts for overall strength and fitness.
Table of Contents
What Exactly is Leg Day?
Leg day is a term used in the fitness community for a workout routine that focuses on training the lower body muscles, if you’re hitting quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves then it’s a leg day.
It is an essential part of any well-rounded fitness program, but it is often dreaded by many gym-goers.
The reason for this is that leg day workouts are often intense and challenging, requiring a lot of effort and energy to complete. They can leave you feeling sore and tired, making it difficult to walk or perform other daily activities.
But often overlooked is that the benefits of leg day workouts are numerous and shouldn’t be ignored.
Why is Leg Day So Hard?
To put it simply, leg day can feel like a chore because of the amount of effort required to work out your legs.
The main reason is that you’re targeting some of the largest muscle groups in your body, specifically your quadriceps, which consist of four individual muscles.
When you challenge these muscles, you need to push yourself hard and heavy, which can be both physically and mentally taxing.
Another contributing factor to the difficulty of leg day is the pain associated with bearing heavy weights.
Exercises like squats put pressure on multiple areas of your body, causing discomfort that makes a lot of people avoid leg day altogether.
And then there’s the soreness from leg exercises that often feel more intense compared to upper body workouts, and the recovery time can be longer as well.
When working out your legs, you also engage a variety of stabiliser muscles. This adds further challenges to your workouts, as you need to be mindful of proper form and technique to avoid strain or injury.
Maintaining this form and control while completing leg exercises, requires a higher level of focus and stamina, and a lot of people avoid or put leg day workouts off for this reason.
Leg-day workouts often require more time and energy than other workout days.
Why Do Guys Skip Leg Day?
Upper Body Gets More Attention
A lot of people prefer to focus on areas that are most noticeable and get the most attention and compliments, normally biceps, chest and shoulders.
Building your biceps, chest, and shoulders can provide a quick boost to your confidence as these muscles are often more visible and make you feel stronger.
This disproportionate focus causes some to not bother with leg day, as it doesn’t provide the same immediate gratification.
The intensity of the workouts and the resulting muscle soreness after leg day are much higher.
Since your leg muscles are larger than most upper-body muscle groups, they require a significant amount of effort and energy to work out. Exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts can be challenging and, let’s face it, painful.
This pain can intensify and linger for days, sometimes causing cramps and interfering with your daily activities.
Fear of Injury
The risk of injury is another factor that may cause you to dislike leg day.
Leg exercises, especially when performed with heavy weights or improper form, can increase the risk of injuries to your knees, lower back, and hips.
A fear of sustaining injuries may lead you to avoid leg day altogether or approach these workouts with trepidation.
This psychological barrier can further lessen your enthusiasm for leg-focused workouts.
Leg workouts can be tough, and it’s easy to lose motivation when you’re struggling through squats or lunges.
Some guys may feel like leg day is a waste of time or not worth the effort, especially if they’re not seeing immediate results.
Lack of Knowledge/Fear of Judgement
Many people simply don’t know how to properly train their legs or don’t understand the importance of doing so.
There is also the fear of looking stupid in a gym environment doing an exercise incorrectly for all to see.
This leads many to just keep focusing solely on upper-body isolation exercises that are a lot easier to do and in turn completely neglect their lower body.
Guys Who Skip Leg Day
What Do Guys Who Skip Leg Day Have in Common?
People who hate or avoid leg day often share some common traits. These individuals may:
- Prioritise their upper body aesthetics over functional strength, leading to an imbalanced physique.
- Find leg workouts more demanding and taxing than upper body workouts, making them easier to dread or skip.
- Not see as immediate or obvious results in their leg muscles when compared to arm or chest exercises, reducing motivation to train legs regularly.
Celebrities Accused of Skipping Leg Day
Moreover, there are a handful of well-known celebrities who have been accused of skipping leg day.
Some of the more recognisable faces who have faced scrutiny for skipping leg day include:
- Johnny Bravo: The fictional character from the animated television series has exaggeratedly large upper body muscles and incredibly skinny legs, making him the perfect example of someone who skips leg day.
- Vin Diesel: The actor has been known for his upper body strength, but he has often received scrutiny for his legs in comparison.
In my opinion, I haven’t really noticed Vin Diesel having noticeably small legs (nowhere near as much as Johnny Bravo!) in any of his movies recently.
- Justin Bieber: In the past, the pop star faced some criticism for his seemingly unbalanced physique, although he has since been seen paying more attention to his leg workouts.
Keep in mind that celebrities are only human. Their workout routines may evolve over time. But use it to serve as a reminder to not skip leg day and maintain a well-rounded approach to exercise.
What Happens When You Skip Leg Day?
Skipping leg day can have serious consequences for your body. Here are some of the most significant risks:
When you don’t work out your legs, you create muscle imbalances in your body. This can lead to a disproportionate physique, with a well-developed upper body and an underdeveloped lower body.
Not only does this look strange, but it can also lead to back pain, poor posture, and other health problems.
According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, people who skip leg days have weaker overall strength than those who don’t. This means that even if you have a strong upper body, you won’t be able to lift as much weight as someone who works out all their muscle groups.
Reduced Athletic Performance
Leg day is essential for athletes of all kinds. Strong legs help you run faster, jump higher, and perform better in other sports.
If you skip leg day, you’re limiting your athletic potential and putting yourself at a disadvantage compared to other athletes who work out their legs regularly.
Increased Risk of Injury
Finally, skipping leg day can increase your risk of injury. When you have weak legs, you’re more likely to get hurt doing everyday activities, such as walking up stairs or carrying groceries.
Additionally, if you do decide to work out your legs after a long break, you’re more likely to get injured because your muscles won’t be used to the strain.
This is why it’s important to workout your legs regularly.
Leg Exercises and Proper Techniques
Incorporating the right exercises and techniques into your leg day workout will ensure maximum results and minimise the risk of injury.
With a little help from Jeff Cavaliere at Athlean-X, here are some key leg exercises and tips on how to perform them correctly:
Squats: Squats are widely considered the foundation of any leg workout. Ensure proper form by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your chest up, and pushing your hips back as you lower yourself down.
Go as low as your flexibility allows, ideally until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Deadlifts: This compound exercise targets multiple muscle groups, including lower back and core. Start with your feet hip-width apart and grip the barbell in both hands. Straighten your back and push through the heels to lift the bar. Pause at the top before slowly lowering the bar back down to the floor.
Lunges: Lunges will help develop your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. To perform lunges, step forward with one foot, landing on your heel, and bend both knees to lower yourself down into a lunge position. Keep your front knee over your ankle and your back knee just off the ground. Push through the front heel to return to the starting position before switching legs.
Leg press: The leg press is an excellent exercise to target the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Position yourself in the leg press machine, with your feet hip-width apart on the footplate and your back and head resting against the padding. Make sure your knees are above your ankles. Push through your heels to extend your legs, but avoid locking your knees. Slowly return to the starting position, making sure you maintain controlled movement throughout.
Remember to include a mixture of these key leg exercises in your workout routine to ensure a well-rounded approach to leg development. Regular practice and proper form will help you build strength, improve stability, and reduce the risk of injury.
How to Incorporate Leg Day into Your Routine
Make Sure you Start Slow
It’s important to start slow when incorporating leg day into your routine. If you’re not used to working out your legs, jumping into a heavy leg workout can lead to injury or extreme soreness. Start by doing bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and calf raises. Gradually increase the weight and intensity as your legs get stronger.
Focus on Compound Movements
Compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and leg presses are great for working multiple muscle groups at once.
They also help to increase overall strength and muscle mass. Incorporating these exercises into your leg day routine can help you see results faster.
Find a Leg Day Partner
Having a workout partner can help you stay motivated and hold you accountable for sticking to your leg day routine. Find someone who has similar fitness goals as you and make a plan to workout together on leg day. This can help make leg day more enjoyable and less intimidating.
Set Some Goals and Track Your Progress
Setting goals for your leg day routine can help you stay motivated and track your progress. Whether it’s increasing the weight you lift or adding an extra set to your workout, setting achievable goals can help you see results faster. Tracking your progress will also help you identify areas where you may need to improve.
Incorporating leg day into your workout routine from not doing it at all can be challenging, but it’s very important for overall strength and fitness. By starting slow, focusing on compound movements, finding a leg day partner, and setting goals, you will definitely see more gains in the gym.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is leg day often skipped?
Leg day is often skipped because it targets the largest muscle groups in the body, requiring more effort and causing discomfort during and after the workout.
Also, people don’t see immediate results in their leg muscles compared to other body parts like arms and chest, which can be discouraging.
What makes leg day so painful?
Leg day can be painful due to the heavy loads placed on your legs during exercises like squats, which involve multiple areas of your body.
This can lead to muscle soreness and temporary pain, impacting your overall workout experience.
How can one overcome the fear of leg day?
To overcome the fear of leg day, you should start with lighter weights and gradually increase them as you gain strength and confidence.
Proper form and technique are crucial to avoid injury. Also, remind yourself that leg day helps to balance your overall physique and muscle growth.
What are the best leg day workouts?
As featured in this article, some of the best leg day workouts include squats, lunges, deadlifts, leg curls, leg presses, and calf raises.
These exercises target different muscle groups in the legs, providing a well-rounded and effective leg workout.
What are the consequences of skipping leg day?
Skipping leg day can lead to muscle imbalances, an unbalanced physique, and potential for injury due to weakened muscles and joints.
Consistently neglecting leg day may also affect your overall fitness progress, as strong legs are essential for daily activities and other workouts.
How can one enjoy leg day more?
To enjoy leg day more, vary your workouts by incorporating different exercise routines, break up the intensity with complementary stretches, and remember that consistency will lead to improved strength and endurance.
Focusing on proper form, tracking your progress, and setting goals can also help you stay motivated and make leg day a more enjoyable experience.