When people gain weight by putting on extra fat, the two most common places where that extra fat ends up is around the midsection and in the legs. And when talking about the legs, we are including the calves, thighs, and hips. Exercising the legs on a regular basis is important, not only as part of a weight loss program, but also in building and toning your muscles so that your legs can properly support the weight of your entire body. So, how often should you do a leg workout?
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Before answering this question about frequency of leg workouts, keep in mind that any exercise routine you engage in should be done with a specific set of goals in mind. It doesn't do you any good to simply choose exercises randomly and hope that you will achieve the results you want.
Take the time to do some online research, consult with your doctor and a professional trainer, and ask friends and family who have experience in this sort of thing. All the information you glean will enable you develop a workout plan to help you safely and effectively reach your goals.
How often should I do a leg workout if I'm just getting started?
As a general rule, most experienced athletes and personal trainers recommend a leg workout three times per week. This workout will usually be 15 to 20 minutes as part of a larger exercise routine that can be as long as one hour.
It's also a good idea to target different parts of the leg on each successive workout day. For example, one day you can target the thighs, the next day target the calves, and the third day work on the hips. This alternating routine gives you a more thorough and balanced training experience.
As with any exercise, a leg workout should never be done on more than five consecutive days. This is because your body needs periods of rest in order to rebuild muscle tissue which has been stressed by exercise. Without enough rest time, continuing your leg workout will end up doing more harm than good. Muscles which don't have sufficient time to rest and rebuild may even reach a point of digression.
Should I do a leg workout in the gym, or just go running?
The optimal means of exercising the legs would be through targeted exercises in the gym. A personal trainer will be able to assess your needs and instruct you on specific exercises aimed at helping you build and tone your legs. The nice thing about doing your leg workout in the gym is the fact that you're not limited by the weather outside, aggressive dogs, and vehicle traffic.
If you enjoy running, you certainly can add that to your overall workout routine. Those who favor running as a leg workout suggest a routine which has you in the gym three days per week and running on two alternate days, leaving two more days for rest. Running is a good way to strengthen the calf muscles as well as ligaments and tendons. Be careful of your hamstrings however, as excessive running at high speeds can cause significant damage.
Will a regular leg workout add excessive bulk to my legs?
If you've ever seen pro cyclists you know that's possible to bulk up your legs excessively. If this is your goal, then develop a leg workout plan that will increase muscle mass. If this is not your goal, your workout plan should be just enough to tone your muscles without building mass. As a side note, that's one of the benefits of alternating the targeted muscle groups on successive workout days. Because you're not concentrating on the same muscle group day after day, you will avoid building excess muscle mass.
Also, keep in mind that professional athletes almost always use supplements of one sort or another to aid in building muscle mass. If you stick with a moderate leg workout and avoid taking supplements like creatine, you're unlikely to see the excessive muscle mass gain that professional athletes experience. Instead, you will strengthen and tone your leg muscles just enough to give them definition, without becoming huge.
Regardless of the type of leg workout you engage in, consistency is the key. You will be tempted to give up after a few weeks; this is normal. But if you can manage to push through, you'll eventually overcome those temptations and regular exercise will become a natural part of your daily life.
Try our workout plan builder for developing a good leg workout routine, now!