How many of you reading this knows someone who trains at a gym, but doesn’t train legs? If that person happens to be you then I’m giving you two choices here. Choice one is that you read the rest of this blog and understand how detrimental to your overall development this is. Choice two is continue to not train legs, hold back the development of the rest of your body and be mocked for all eternity for looking like Johnny Bravo.
So What Happens When We Train Legs?
Let’s start off with the daddy, the squat. No other exercise incorporates so many different muscles in one go. It’s estimated around 200 muscles are involved in squatting. The main (Primary) muscles used are Glutes, Quads and hamstrings. Secondary muscles involved are the Erector spinae, transverse abdominus, abductors, adductors, soleus and gastrocnemius. As you can see not only is this a great all rounder exercise that will directly build your legs and strengthen your core but something else magical happens!
Without getting too in-depth, “Neuroendocrinology” is the symbiotic relationship between chemicals that have neural and hormonal functions. With big compound exercises on legs, we use so many different muscles (large and small) that the body gets flooded with lovely anabolic hormones due to the vast amount of muscles used that stimulate the endocrine glands responsible for these hormones. Once this happens the entire body benefits from this surge of anabolic, muscle-building, fat destroying hormones and all of your upper body repairing muscles in your body that you’ve micro-torn from correct training will be helped grow because of the hormonal release from a good leg session.
But I Run or Play Sport so I Don’t Have to Train Legs!
This being said its important legs are trained with the correct intensity just as anything else, to properly release these hormones. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard “I don’t need to train legs because I play football a few times per week”. Well unfortunately this isn’t a hypertrophic exercise and you simply won’t release the amount of hormones you would from a hard leg session with big squats by just running around a few times per week for 90 minutes.
So if you’re one of these chicken-legged lads with some upper body muscle that just can’t seem to grow any more or lose any more fat, start training your legs and I promise you your upper body will be kick started into a growth surge, because let’s face it… what’s the point in trying to sculpt an awesome physique to flex on the beach if it’s overshadowed by a little dangling pair of twiggy legs?