The old saying strikes true- no pain, no gain! Any gym enthusiast could testify the truth of the adage, as a gym day may not seem complete without leaving sore and tired.
However, one muscle group seems to fit the saying more than others. Even the most seasoned of gym buffs may dread it- leg day, the hardest of all gym days! Learn why this day is so feared!
Why Is Leg Day So Hard?
1. More Than Half Your Muscles
The human body contains about six hundred muscles, with the lower body comprising roughly half of these. Your legs, alone, are made of about forty muscles each!
Any gym buff will tell you that leg day utilizes much more than just your legs.
As you go through gym day, you will engage just about every muscle in your lower body. These muscles include your hips, glutes and thighs, calves, and even your toes.
With over 50% of your body being engaged on a single day, it’s no surprise that leg day can be so intense.
With these intense, calorie-burning workouts, you are causing minuscule tears in over half of the muscles in your body. When you consider leg day in those terms, it makes a lot more sense!
2. Legs Are Your Biggest Muscles
Along with containing over half of the muscles in your body, your lower half contains your biggest muscles.
Two of the three largest muscles you have are in your lower body. The first of these muscles is not contained in your legs but is one of the most vital muscles to work on leg day.
Located right above your legs is the gluteus maximus. That is correct- your butt is the biggest muscle in your body. Try that for a pick-up line sometime!
As the gluteus maximus is responsible for keeping you upright, it naturally puts in a lot of work in your day-to-day activity. Many times, you are working out your glutes without realizing it!
The third-largest muscles in your body are your quadriceps.
These muscles are notably long and are a key part of helping you keep balance. Your quadriceps are located on the front of your thighs.
Quadriceps can be particularly easy to strain, which is why stretching your quads can be so vital to staying fit. If your quadriceps sprain, you may not even be able to walk!
Luckily, there are many stretches available to keep your quads limber.
With not only half of your muscles, but your largest ones, you can see why leg day takes so much effort!
3. You Sweat A Lot
While excessive sweating is typically a key symptom of intense cardio, leg day can work up an extensive sweat just as readily.
While this sweat is because of how hard leg day is, it just helps make leg day that much more intense!
4. You Expect It To Be Hard
Like many things in life, the perceived difficulty is almost purely psychological. If you expect leg day to be excruciatingly strenuous, it likely will be!
If you dread leg day, it will live up to your expectations. Do not think of leg day like an inevitable beating- think of it like a challenge to overcome!
5. It’s Harder Than Arms
When compared to your arm days, leg days seem even more difficult.
If you focus more on arms than anything- there’s nothing wrong with wanting larger biceps over larger calves- you will have an even harder time with leg day.
Your mind can exaggerate this difference. No good gym day is easy, but leg days can be much more strenuous than arm days.
Your brain will make the gap between these two muscle groups even larger, making it seem like leg day is even more difficult than it truly is.
On the other hand, people who focus on leg day may find it easier than other muscle groups!
People like soccer players may focus on leg day to increase their kick strength and as such may feel more difficulty with arm day.
It’s important to remember that everybody’s fitness goals are different, and that can affect how they treat each muscle group.
6. Walking Is Hard Afterward
If you’ve taken a single step towards the locker room after leg day, you know how hard it can be to walk afterward. If you live up a flight of stairs, you may curse leg day even more!
Depending on how intense of a leg day you’ve had, far more than walking may be at risk. With your glutes exercised, even a calming task like sitting down can make you sore.
You may want a nice, warm shower after such an intense day at the gym, but even standing in the shower can feel tiring.
Luckily, there are many ways to minimize the aftereffects of leg day. Instead of a warm shower, you may want to take a warm bath!
A bath will have less standing and covers more areas at once. Any gym buff will know that getting your blood circulating is a good thing, and that’s what a warm bath can do.
Either way, even with efforts to minimize the damage, you may have trouble moving around for a few days afterward!
7. Leg Day Always Comes Back
You’ve just completed leg day! You hobble out of the gym and go home, spending a week in that awkward, sore, post-leg-day state.
About a week later, you finally start feeling better. You can walk again! It’s only then that you remember- it’s leg day again.
No matter what, leg day always comes back around, and it can seem like it always comes just as you recover from the last one.
This timing can make it seem like you’ve never truly recovered from leg day, with the strain only continuing to pile on. Thankfully, that means it’s working.
Remember- no pain, no gain!
Ultimately, leg day is undoubtedly the most tiring gym day for most people. There are many reasons for this, from psychological effects to how the human body is put together.
No matter what, though, leg day is still a vital part of the gym experience. Unless you want to look like you have sticks for legs, you must remember: Never skip leg day!