Wanting to build a six pack, but hate doing sit ups?
Well fear not, you can build abs without ever doing a single sit up.
In this article, we cover the basics of getting a six pack, why leg day helps build abs, the best leg exercises for abs, and more!
Here’s why leg day is good for abs:
Leg day is good for abs as it helps build your abdominal muscles and helps you lose body fat. These are the 2 most important factors when it comes to building six pack abs, so training legs helps you build abs.
The Science Behind Six Pack Abs
Before we cover why leg day is awesome for abs, it’s key to know the foundations of developing your abs.
Now, there are 2 main factors to having a nice six pack.
- Low Body Fat
- Developed Ab Muscles
Let’s explore these in a bit more detail!
Low Body Fat
Between your muscles and your skin, you have a layer of fat called subcutaneous fat.
So, the more subcutaneous belly fat you have, the further the distance between your abdominals and your skin.
This means you could have the biggest six pack in the world, but if you have too much belly fat, then no one would even notice!
And so, the first part of having an impressive six pack is to lower your body fat sufficiently so that your abs are visible.
You can do this by staying in a calorie deficit, so that you’re burning more energy than you’re consuming.
Developed Abdominal Muscles
Anyone with boulder shoulders has developed deltoid muscles.
Anyone with jaw dropping biceps has developed bicep muscles.
So, it’s no surprise that anyone with an inspiring six pack has developed abdominal muscles.
This can be achieved by training your abs directly (or indirectly as you’re about to find out…)
Reasons Why Leg Day Helps Abs
Leg Day Burns A Lot Of Calories
As covered earlier, the number one factor when it comes to fat loss is a calorie deficit.
In simple terms, this means you’re burning more calories than you’re eating.
So there are 2 ways to increase a calorie deficit.
You can either:
- Consume less calories (i.e. eat less food)
- Burn more calories (i.e. exercise more)
Well, the great news is that leg day burns more calories than your other workouts.
One reason is that the legs are the biggest muscle group.
This means when you train legs, you need more calories to support your muscles, and these calories are burned during exercise.
Another reason is that leg day indirectly trains other muscle groups too, so not only are your legs using energy (calories) but your other body parts are too!
Leg Day Builds Your Ab Muscles
Many of the exercises on leg day are classed as compound exercises.
This means they train multiple muscle groups, including your abs.
For example when you squat, you need to tighten your core so that your back is steady and straight throughout the whole movement.
This makes the movement safe and more effective.
Likewise, when you do walking lunges, your abs need to be tight to keep an upright position.
So although you’re not directly training your abs, like when doing sit ups, the leg compound exercises stimulate your ab muscles which help them grow.
Can You Skip Abs If You Do Leg Day?
This is completely up to you.
If you train abs in addition to leg day, then you’ll see even more abdominal growth, meaning you’ll have a better six pack overall.
But it’s still possible to build a solid six pack solely from leg day.
So if you have the time to train abs directly, then by all means do it.
But if you’re short on time, then fear not – you can still build that six pack.
Do Leg Presses Work Abs?
Yes, leg presses are a great exercise for overall ab development.
Your abs are used as stabilizing muscles during the movement and are worked very hard.
To get the most out of leg presses for your abs, ensure your core is tight throughout the whole movement.
Best Leg Exercises For Abs
The leg exercises described below are epic for building abs, as they’re compound exercises and so they train multiple muscle groups.
- Sit on the leg press machine, following its instructions to position yourself safely and correctly.
- Release the lock, then slowly lower the platform towards you by bending your knees.
- Push through your heels to straighten your legs and return to the start.
(Pro tip: Never ever lock out the knees on this exercise – 90% of full leg extension is ideal. This makes it safe and more effective.)
Barbell Front Squat
- Stand tall with your chest up, with a barbell resting on the front of your shoulders, gripping it with either your hands crossed in front of your shoulders or your elbows pointing forwards.
- Keeping your chest up and core braced, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Powerfully push up to return to the starting position.
(Pro tip: Ensure that your hamstrings always touch your calves, and if you find yourself going up on your toes as you go down into the squat, then elevate your heels on a pair of weight plates.)
- Stand in front of a box.
- Bend down and jump explosively up onto the box.
- Step back down to the starting position.
- Straighten your arms out parallel to the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- As you squat down, keep your core tightened and push your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips back.
- Keep squatting until your thighs are parallel to the floor, with your knees inline with your toes.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds, then push through your heels over the course of 5 seconds until you return to the starting position.
- Stand tall with your chest up in front of a long, clear pathway, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other.
- Keeping your core braced, take a step forward and lunge down until both your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
- Push off from your back foot and lunge forward with that leg, and repeat.
(Pro tip: If the movement feels ‘off’ as you stand back up, then start this exercise with just bodyweight.)
Worst Leg Exercises For Abs
The leg exercises described below aren’t so great for building abs, as they’re isolation exercises and so they only train your leg muscles.
Lying Leg Curls
- Lie on the leg curl machine, following its instructions to position yourself properly and safely.
- With the pad against the back of your lower calves and your toes pointing inwards, raise it up by contracting your hamstrings.
- Slowly return to the start.
(Pro tip: Keep your hips pushed down into the bench to maximise tension.)
- Sit upright on the leg extension machine, following its instructions to position yourself properly and safely.
- Ensure the pad sits on your shins just above your feet, then hold the side bars.
- Using your quads to initiate the movement, extend your legs out in front of you.
- Slowly return to the start.
Best Leg Workout For Abs
If you want an awesome leg day routine that builds your abs and melts belly fat, then give this a try.
Exercise 1: Barbell Front Squat (12 reps)
Exercise 2: Box Jumps (12 reps)
Exercise 3: Leg Press (12 reps)
Exercise 4: Lunges (12 reps)
Exercise 5: Bodyweight Squat (12 reps)
After each exercise, you should rest for 10 seconds until moving onto the next.
Once you’ve completed each exercise in the circuit, take a 3 minute rest and then repeat a further 3 times.
In summary, leg day is awesome for getting a six pack as it helps you build your abs and burn tummy fat.
That’s all for this article, but perhaps you’re interested in a squat to leg press conversion? Or why does leg day make you poop?
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.