Ladies – stop overdoing leg day
It’s ironic, really. There are countless jokes and memes on the internet about guys never skipping leg day out there (you know, those guys whose body looks like an upside down triangle – all shoulders, back, chest, and arms, followed by teeny tiny legs), but just the opposite seems to happen when it comes to lady lifters. With all those 50 day squat challenges out there and this emphasis on ‘building a booty,’ women are taking leg day to a whole new level – one that can be dangerous, actually.
When you’ve been going to the same gym for a while, you start to see the same people day in and day out. That’s when I noticed the girls I always see always doing the same thing – legs. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a toned lower body; in fact, leg day is definitely my favorite day. And it’s no secret that working your legs – the largest muscle group in your body – is an integral part of your training routine, one that will get you closer to your goals. But there’s such thing as too much of a good thing.
No matter what part of your body, if you overdo the training, you’re likely to experience those pesky overuse injuries that will keep you out of the gym – or worse, they’ll escalate into serious problems. Squatting every day is bound to wreak havoc on your knees, an issue women are already predisposed to thanks to lower bone density and wide hips. Those factors, plus overtraining, are a recipe for disaster.
If your main area of focus is your lower body, it may be tempting to tack on as many leg sessions as possible in your week, hoping for better and faster results. But with more and more emphasis on your legs, you’re putting a ton of stress on those joints and muscles. With overuse, injury is inevitable and you’ll actually put yourself out of commission – and out of the squat rack – if knee pain gets unbearable or a torn groin keeps you from moving without wanting to scream.
An unbalanced bod
The amazing thing about weight lifting is the ability to literally sculpt your body the way you want it, fine-tuning each area and embracing the strength you achieve. With that being said, one of the goals of weightlifting, whether you’re doing it recreationally or to compete on a stage, is symmetry. It’s why top heavy dudes with boulder shoulders and raging biceps, but with no evidence of having ever even stepping foot in a squat rack, are the ultimate faux pas in the lifting world. You know, that Johnny Bravo body type…
No recovery time
While exercise is an amazing thing, it is also extremely stressful on the body. Your body takes quite the beating and for that, it needs some serious down time. That’s why you hear people referring to leg day or chest day or shoulders day. Or maybe you’ve seen people split up their muscle groups by “push” and “pull” days, with push days focusing on things like chest, shoulders, triceps, and legs, and pull days geared toward back, biceps, and forearms. By splitting up muscle groups, you’re allowing what muscles require – time to heal and repair.
Exercise, no matter what type you do, results in damaged muscle fibers and soreness (I know you’re all too familiar of that feeling of dread when you see a flight of stairs after lunges and squats). This sounds bad, right? Going to the gym makes me damage my muscle fibers? That sounds awful! No, it’s not bad – it’s all part of the process. But it’s the repair, reconstruction, and recovery of those muscles that results in increases in strength and size. Yeah, you heard me. It’s the time spent out of the gym, when your muscles are reconstructing, that gives you those “gains” you’re looking for.
If you’re looking to make serious leg gains, you’re doing more harm than good by not allowing yourself to adequately recover if you’re obsessively doing squat jumps and cable kickbacks each day. Instead of muscle growth, you’ll experience the opposite.
Quality of workout
If you overwork certain areas of your body, you’re definitely not going to have optimal performance the next day if you try to use the same muscles. I know when I kill my legs on a Monday in the weight room, they’re pretty much useless the next day, which is a real bummer, because – you know – walking has to happen. If you’re working the same muscles over and over again, you’re simply not going to have great workouts. Your muscles will be fatigued and you won’t be able to perform the reps and weights you want to – so you’re going to be disappointed and farther away from that bikini booty.
Working with someone to help you develop a balanced training plan, based on YOU, is the ultimate way to get the results you want. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to weight training, and that philosophy is something I pride myself on and exhibit with all clients. Some people work best with a two-per-week leg approach, with one day focusing more on quads and the other (after adequate recovery time) focusing on hamstrings. Some people do one killer leg day a week. Others alternate with weighted legs and high intensity body weight legs. There are so many variations and so much room for a personalized plan when it comes to creating a strong lower body.
Let me help you get there.