With so much stigma around leg day, we were on a mission to find out why leg day is so challenging.
So in this article, we cover reasons why leg day is difficult, whether leg day gets any easier, the hardest and easiest leg exercises, and much more!
Here’s why leg day is so hard:
Leg day is hard because your legs are the biggest muscle group. This means your body is under more stress when training legs. Also, you indirectly train other muscles on leg day which makes it even more difficult.
Reasons Why Leg Day Is Hard
Your legs are your biggest muscles
When you work out, blood flows to your muscles to help give them oxygen and nutrients for energy.
(This increased blood flow is what gives you the infamous pump.)
Now, since the legs are the biggest muscle group in the body, your heart must work even harder and faster to ensure enough blood is flowing to them.
As a result, you have blood from all over your body flowing to your legs at a rapid pace.
This explains why people feel dizzy, fatigued, and nauseous on leg day!
Training legs trains more than just your legs
Many of the exercises performed on leg day, like squats, box jumps and lunges train multiple muscle groups, such as your abs, at once.
This means that your body uses a lot more energy when training legs compared to other muscle groups.
So once you’ve finished your squats, your body has used a ton of energy which means the next exercise will be even more challenging.
It also means you’ll feel more fatigued on leg day.
You expect it to be difficult
Never underestimate the power of the mind.
Since leg day has so much stigma around being difficult, you approach leg day with dread and a mindset that it’ll hard and uncomfortable.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you and say that leg day is easy.
After all, this article is all about why leg day is hard!
But if you go into leg day with the mindset that it’ll be grim, it’ll appear even more challenging!
(Similar to how if you anticipate an exam to be hard, you’re more likely to perform badly.)
Does Leg Day Get Any Easier?
The only time leg day gets easier if you keep training with the same amount of weight.
Well, once your muscles have adapted to that weight, they’re comfortable lifting that amount and hence it’ll feel easier.
But why on earth would you do that?!
The whole point of going to the gym is to push yourself to your limits and to lift weights that your muscles find challenging to help gain muscle.
So embrace the difficulty and quit your whining.
Which Are The Hardest Leg Day Exercises?
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 tensed, 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.)
- 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 when leg pressing – 90% of full leg extension is ideal. This makes it safer and more effective.)
- 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.)
Which Are The Easiest Leg Day Exercises?
- 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.
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.)
Tips To Make Leg Day Easier
Carb load the day before
As covered earlier, leg day exercises use up a ton of energy, which is why leg day is so draining (and hence challenging!)
So, a great way to reduce fatigue on leg day is to carb load the day before.
By eating a ton of carbs, your glycogen stores will be full which means your muscles will have as much energy as possible for when you train.
Change your mindset
Thanks to the negative stigma around leg day, many people go into it with the mindset that it’ll be awful.
Well, if you go in with that mindset, chances are it will be awful.
Whereas if you go into leg day with the mindset that it’ll be a fun and exciting challenge, it’ll seem much more bearable and enjoyable!