Tuesday, August 09, 2022

 

Weekly column by fitness expert Cashel Hayden for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club

 

OFTEN the most challenging workout of the week, Leg Day. Often the hardest workout of the week – being both mentally and physically demanding! So what are some benefits of prioritising our leg days/ lower body exercises each week and keeping them consistent? In this article I hope to highlight three reasons to help you understand the importance of training our lower body instead of shifting our primary focus towards our upper body workouts!

 

More calories?

Yes, it’s true, training muscles in our lower body can help us burn more calories! But how is this possible I hear you ask? It is due to our biggest muscles in our body being located in our lower body and those muscles being furthest away from the heart – the heart must work harder to pump oxygenated blood to these muscles. This will lead to an increase in energy expenditure, which essentially means you will burn slightly more calories than you will when training your upper body muscles.

 

Strength imbalances

As we partake in life’s daily activities it is not uncommon for us to develop muscular imbalances in our body. This is due to some muscles not being challenged enough to acquire an adaptation/ increase in strength through daily activities, such as walking or running. Strength training helps challenge our muscles at different angles and in different positions, which helps ensure our muscles are being challenged and will grow stronger as a result. Overall this will have a positive effect on reducing the risk of injury and improving our quality of life; not to mention numerous benefits in relation to improving our performance in any sport(s) we may be participating in.

 

Can help you build muscle elsewhere more efficiently?

Yes, you heard that right! Training muscles in our lower body can be very beneficial to helping us build muscle in other areas of our body, while also aiding our recovery time. This is due to the increased production of testosterone and growth hormone, which will not only help us build more muscle but increase our metabolism as a result! This is due to the fact that the more muscle mass we have, meaning the more calories we will then require to maintain and continue growing our given muscles.

As you can see, there are plenty of worthwhile reasons to remain consistent with training your lower body. I have witnessed many people neglect this in the past and can understand why some people might not enjoy the increased rate of exertion and fatigue that training our lower body can trigger. To those who detest the idea of training legs you now have some reasons to reconsider.

Training legs can be a mental battle more so than a physical battle in many circumstances. Often we can underestimate the ability of our lower body muscles to generate force. Training legs can be a great way to implement some true discipline into our training… as the old saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”

If unsure of where to start here it can be an idea to set one or two days a week where we focus primarily on our lower body. If new or hesitant with regard to the concept of training your lower body you could try adding in one or two exercises into your other training days alongside some upper body exercises. Choosing a method which you feel will work best for you is what will work best here. I hope I have offered some insight to those questioning the rationale behind leg day!

A quote, which I think originated from the great Arnold Schwarzenegger, to tie things up here…

 

“You can’t spell legendary without leg day!”

 

Lastly, I would also like to clarify that I am not a registered dietician. All advice disclosed here is simply advisory based on my qualifications as a fitness professional and personal experience and knowledge gained working with individuals and helping them reach their goals. The advice given is not designed to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.

I hope someone out there found some of this information useful here, just some food for thought. For any questions in relation to this topic or training, nutrition, etc. or for coaching inquiries simply message me on my business page on Instagram @coachedbycashel_ or by email – [email protected]

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By Cashel Hayden
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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