A barrel chest and 20-inch biceps may be the goal for most weightlifters, but a powerful upper body is pointless if it’s sitting on a pair of unworked, skinny chicken legs. Aside from not wanting the body of a dreidel, there are several reasons why leg day is worth the impending days of soreness.
Deadlifting and bent-over rows, two commonly performed exercises integral for increasing back strength, are as leg-intensive as they are back-intensive. If you’re a weightlifter who neglects his or her leg workouts, you could be hindering your performance during other very important strength-training exercises that require a lot of out your legs.
Leg strength is also essential for good balance during stand-up exercises like overhead presses and lateral raises. As your upper body strength increases during these exercises, so will the weight — meaning your legs are going to have to be strong to support the extra poundage. A good sense of balance is even more important for athletes like football and hockey players that need to move quickly and absorb hits from opposing players.
Also important for athletes is the increase in mobility that results from thorough leg workouts. With an increase in mobility comes a wider range of motion, flexibility and most importantly, injury prevention. According to Lisa Mercer, author of “101 Women’s Fitness Tips,” exercising your legs “enhances knee ligament stability and improves the athlete's coordination and power, while preventing potentially career-ending injuries.”
Be sure to think of all the benefits you’re missing out on the next time you are looking at the squat rack with despair.
Remember: Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.