You still see them in the gym. You know the guys who brag about their bench press and crank away at the lat pull down machine?
The ones doing barbell curls and then preacher curls and then concentration curls. And then some triceps extensions on the cable machine for good measure.
They take their shirts off and they are fitness mag cover ready….. from the waist up at least. From the waist down, well. . . not so much.
Unless you have a medical restriction, there is absolutely no excuse to skip the big lifts that primarily involve the muscles of the lower body. And I’m not talking about lying leg curls here. I’m talking about squats and deadlifts and the different versions of each. Below are the 6 biggest reasons you should be training your legs if you aren’t already.
#1 Without leg strength, the real world will knock you on your ass.
Pushing your neighbor’s car when it’s stuck in the snow. Hauling bags of mulch out of your trunk. Moving your couch to the perfect spot in line with your big screen TV. In all of these tasks, and damn near all off life’s physical tasks, the muscles of the lower body are going to be the primary movers. Your squats and deadlifts will really pay off in these situations.
#2 More metabolic bang for your buck –
The muscles of the legs are the largest muscles of the body. Moving big muscles requires big energy – meaning more calories burned. You can bench press all day long, but nothing is going to get the metabolism cranking like some heavy squats and deadlifts.
#3 Improves your athleticism –
All athletic movement involves the opening and closing of the hip. Think about jumping, throwing, or punching. All of these movements originate with the hip closing to some extent and then violently opening. I don’t care if it’s cracking a home run or playing football with your son, the power for these movements is grounded in the muscles of the lower body.
#4 Moving big weight is fun.
Nothing can replace the feeling of grabbing the bar and ripping a few (or several) hundred pounds off of the floor. Your deadlift should be your strongest lift. And if it’s not, with training it will catch up and surpass your bench press in no time flat. Moving big weight is what being strong is all about – and the strength you find in the gym with lower body training will carry over into other areas of your life.
#5 You’ll see your biggest strength and muscle gains.
Anyone who has ever done a typical muscle magazine workout that doesn’t include squats and deads, will see the quickest and biggest strength gains in their life once they start squatting and deadlifting. Single joint movements like calf raises will seem laughable after you see the gains squats and deads give you.
#6 You’ll have a great ass.
Yep, I said it. Guy or girl, straight or gay, I don’t know any healthy human being who doesn’t appreciate a tight and shapely butt on their object of affection. We all know guys love a nice ass, and it’s been proven in studies that girls find a guy’s butt the most attractive part of their body.
Could our interest in the ass be because visually pleasing glutes are an indication of strength, power, and health – traits we find desirable in a mate? I’ll leave that debate to the sociologists and scientists. In the meantime, I’m gonna gawk at my Jessica Biel screensaver for a while.
What are some of your favorite leg exercises? And were you ever an “upper body only” type person before? Let me know in the comments below!
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