Let’s face it, you turn heads at the beach with your upper body, not your lower body. Not to mention, your legs are covered by pants most days. One of the biggest issues among fitness enthusiasts is our propensity to neglect leg training and to primarily focus on upper-body exercises to build the most muscle. This is wrong! Your legs are the most overlooked muscle to train, and probably the most important. Never neglect your legs; you should be training them consistently to pack on the most muscle possible.
In fact, your legs should be the muscle group you never miss in your routine. Your upper body can actually grow even larger thanks to your leg training. The leg muscles comprise of the largest muscles in the body. Training these muscles requires intense effort, and as a result, constitutes tremendous physical stress on your whole body, and on your recuperative abilities. When you’re training your legs, whether it’s heavy squats or leg press, it will release more testosterone and growth hormone, which allow the entire body to pack on greater amounts of muscle mass.
Any form of exercise will cause an increase in these anabolic hormones, but it is reasonable to assume that the amount of hormones released are proportional to the stress put on the body. The most amount of stress is placed on the body during intense leg training. Squats and other compound leg exercises will work the entire body so much more than other muscle group exercises. The tremendous physiological stress leg training puts on the body causes a “spill-over” growth effect onto all the other muscle groups. This means a bigger and stronger chest, shoulders, back…everything!
You see where I am going with this? Your legs are the base for everything you do. For example, when you’re bench pressing and laying on the bench, you need to plant your feet to have a good base. Having a strong base propels you to lift more weight, setting up your chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles to effectively press the weight.
The same goes for military press. If you’re standing and doing a military press, you need strong legs and stability to hold the weight up. Otherwise, your legs and knees are going to shake and you won’t have a lot of power in your lift, thereby depriving your muscles of the proper training it needs. If you don’t believe me, try this. If you’re doing a military press, sit on your butt or sit on your knees and try to press. You’ll see how much weaker you are without using your legs. After you try that, stand up and do a military press. Then you’ll see how much easier it is when you have that stable base in your legs.
Your legs provide you with that much needed power in your lift. Also, who wants to have small legs? You see so many people with these massive upper bodies but chicken-like legs. This is the most common training mistake. You need to be proportionate. Train your legs intensely and you won’t have to worry about this problem. Make sure you focus on the compound leg exercises, especially squats.