Who here loves legs and glutes day? Come on, be honest. I know it’s a love/hate relationship, but you should never miss a leg and glutes workout. Training your lower body will create a well proportionate physique. Plus, everyone wants a well functional body. Leg and glutes day exercises are an essential aspect of your full-body workout routine that builds balance, strength, stability, mobility, flexibility, and speed.
LOWER BODY MUSCLES
The gluteus maximus is the largest and strongest muscle in the human body. It helps keep the trunk of the body in a straight posture.
The third largest muscle is your quadriceps. There are four muscles: rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and the vastus medialis. These muscles are located in front of your thighs. They perform a variety of movements such as walking, running, jumping, and more.
Then you have your hamstrings. Hamstrings are muscles that extend from the hips and flex the knees. This muscle plays an important part in the complex gait cycle during walking. It’s the absorption of kinetic energy and protection of the knee and hip joints.
WHY WE NEED LEG AND GLUTES DAY
Have you ever said, “my back hurts” even when you haven’t injured it. Well, it’s a possibility that you aren’t doing leg and glutes day! Most people who have lower back pain have weak posterior group chain. The posterior chain is the structure of the spine and leg; the main muscles that make up the posterior chain are the hamstrings, glutes, calf, latissimus, and erector spinae. A strong lower body gives your body balance, strength, endurance, and improves body mobility. This group chain is important for the stability of the knees, hips, and spine.
INCREASE IN HORMONES AND LEAN MUSCLE MASS
Did you know that you can also build upper body muscle during leg and glutes day?
Training your lower body stimulates an increase in testosterone and other growth hormones, which will result in more lean muscle mass. For men, testosterone is a steroid hormone that is naturally produced in the human body and plays a key role in men’s health. This hormone is actually important for women as well. It helps produce new blood cells and bone health. Another important hormone is human growth hormone (HGH) , an anabolic peptide hormone. Both hormones help repair damaged muscle fibers and increase muscle growth. In order to stimulate HGH, it is recommended to do high-intensity exercises. To stimulate this hormone naturally, lowering your fat levels especially around your belly, it is recommended to also do high-intensity exercises.
HIGHER METABOLISM AND BURN MORE FAT
Want to lose more fat…do your leg and glutes day! Yes, it’s true you can lose more fat by doing lower body exercises because it will help you build your metabolism. As you train your legs and glutes it creates a higher metabolism, this will help burn more fat from your entire body. Training your lower body will burn more calories because working out the bigger muscle in your body (glutes), requires more energy.
A study in the Journal of Apply Physiology, researchers tracked several athletes’ energy expenditure and metabolism. After about 90 minutes of heavy training, such as squats and deadlifts, the athletes’ metabolic rate skyrocketed and continued to do so after several hours.
A FEW LOWER BODY EXERCISES EXPLAINED
SQUATS work to strengthen all the largest muscles of the legs, glutes, and hard-to-reach areas such as quads, glutes, and hamstrings. This also targets your core muscles. This exercise is a complex movement because of high muscle activation from hips to knees to feet. The proper way to do a squat is to engage your core, knees do not go over the toes, avoid knees from going inward, avoid lifting your heels from the ground, straight back, shoulders back (proud chest), drive from your heels, sit down like you were sitting back on a chair, and squeeze your glutes.
SPLIT SQUAT is a unilateral leg exercise which works one leg at a time. This exercise will help strengthen your lower back and improve balance, hip mobility, and stability. The core, glutes, quads, calf, and hamstrings are being strengthened doing split squats. The muscles that will increase size in the lowering phase of the split squats are the hamstrings. Proper way of a split squat is focusing on one leg at a time. Stand in a stance position (back heel off the floor and front foot grounded on the floor), shoulders back (proud chest), core engaged, and slowly squat down, and straighten both legs back to your starting position. Remember your front knee should not go beyond your toes, driving up with your front heel.
LATERAL CRAB WALK engages your glutes and hip abductors and will help strengthen all the major muscles in your hips, thighs, and legs. This exercise improves your flexibility and stability. It helps prevent injuries and is helpful for athletes with sports that require running, twisting, and jumping. Position yourself for lateral crab walk, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, start in a halfway between a full squat and a standing position. Keep your knees bent and aligned over the middle of your toe, step on one leg to the right and follow it by taking a step sideways in the same direction with the other leg, return to the starting position, repeat one side and then switch the movement to the other leg. This position will avoid straining your knees. If you’re doing this exercise correctly, you feel the burn in your glutes.
STANDING CALF RAISE WITH DUMBBELLS this exercise targets the calf muscle and glutes. Strong, flexible calf muscles will help maintain healthy knees and promote ankle strength. Movements are done with a micro bend in the knees, rack the dumbbells on each of your shoulders, feet are shoulder-width apart, engage your core, raise your heels until you are on your tiptoes, keep your legs extended without locking your knees, and slowly lower your heels to the ground.
These are just a few lower body exercises that will increase your metabolism, stamina, endurance, and lean muscle mass.
Remember, proper form and movement will prevent knee and back injury.
“INFERNO” LEG AND GLUTES DAY
SIX Workout knows how important leg and glutes day is, that’s why they offer “Inferno” a leg and glutes day every Monday and Friday. Monday classes are usually weighted (traditional strength leg training) HIIT exercises. Fridays are more cardio and bodyweight HIIT exercises. Whatever your preference, don’t ever miss a leg and glutes day!
Sign up to one of SIX’s “Inferno” classes to lose fat and increase muscle mass. We’ll see you soon!
Book: “Science of HIIT” by Ingrid S. Clay