By Sami Wehbe
“I don’t always work out my legs.” starts off one of the many memes on the internet that mock the average gym-goer’s reluctance and fear of leg day. Another one says “Every day is upper-body day.” The meme shows a muscular young man with a very developed and strong upper body and what seems to be a neglected lower body, apparently from all the leg workouts he has skipped.
Ah, leg day. The most dreaded workout of the week. Your legs ache just at the thought of it. Squats, leg presses, leg extensions, calf raises… Basically everything that you want to avoid. I used to feel the same. From my own experience, it seems that men tend to focus more on working out their upper body at the gym and neglect the lower part of their body by skipping leg workouts. However, this year, I decided NOT to do that and try a training program where you squat Every. Single. Day. Alongside upper body exercises.
“But how can I squat every day, if I have barely been able to do it once a week?” you ask. Let me share that with you! I did it for 30 days straight and the results are amazing. My legs are stronger than ever and I have been able to squat weights I never thought would be possible for me. When I first started, I could barely squat 10 kilograms, but after doing this for 30 days, I have learned to squat with 90 kilograms. I have also seen tremendous growth in my leg muscles, and an overall improvement in my cardio and physique. The trick is to start small, and keep going. Decide to commit to practicing squats every day for a month. Begin with just 5 to 10 squats, whatever feels comfortable, then every day add one or two repetitions. Soon, you’ll be squatting like a professional!
According to New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. Joseph Mercola, squatting carries a variety of benefits. While the primary focus is on leg muscles, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, squats promote muscle development across the entire body. According to Dr. Mercola, “When done properly, squats are so intense that they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body, which are vital for muscle growth and will also help to improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs.” In other words, squats can actually contribute to the growth of your upper body, in addition to the obvious effects they have on your lower body.
Squats also help build muscle and improve your mobility and balance. They are an effective fat-burner, work out your core, and boost your sports performance. They even improve bowel movements. You will not only look better, but the strength you develop by squatting every day will carry forth into your self-esteem, friendships, relationships, work and every other aspect of your life. So before you decide to skip leg day… think again!
How to Squat
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward.
- If you are squatting with weights, place the weights’ bar behind your neck. Keep it over your trapezius (back of the neck) muscles. If you are squatting without weights, cross your arms or extend them forward to counter-balance yourself.
- Bend your knees and lower your hips as though sitting down. Keep your knees and heels aligned.
- Lower your hips until they are at a 90-degree angle with your knees.
- Slowly push back up, keeping your back straight. Don’t lock your knees – keep them soft and slightly bent.