Hit 'stop' on your treadmill; it's time to blast through a killer leg workout. After all, the right leg day workout is key to a toned, healthy body!
Not only will you prevent injury by strengthening your lower body muscles, Tami Tonneson, a Metabolic Specialist, Personal Trainer, and Pilates Instructor at Life Time Athletic at Sky in New York City, says you'll also increase your fat burning ability.
“Many people have some type of an ache or pain in the back, hips, knees or ankles, which could be due to some muscle imbalance in your lower body,” Tonneson said. Seemingly harmless activities you do throughout the day—like sitting for long periods of time with one leg crossed—could cause tightness in one leg and weakness in the other.
“Everything is connected and it works together; if it is not working optimally, our bodies will find a way to compensate,” Tonneson said.
To avoid this and build lean muscle, Tonneson suggests a full leg workout that includes the quads, hamstrings and glutes, as well as the feet and lower legs, with a balanced strength training program. This incorporates lifting three to five days a week with added weights that are challenging to you.
Your program should also incorporate a rest day for your legs to work another area of the body—like your arms or abs—between lower body workouts.
And if you’re worried about building bulky muscle using weights, don’t be. Most body types require heavy weights and focused nutrition, Tonneson said. “It has a lot of amazing benefits for the body.”
One such benefit from a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that you can burn an average of 100 or more calories for up to 24 hours afterwards by strength training compared to the same time period without lifting weights.
So let's go! Start out slow and build your way up, but Tonneson recommends 10-20 reps for 2-3 sets each for a full, results-driven session.