Is it recommended do cardio on leg day?
Leg day is to many the most dreadful and tiring day. It involves movement of large muscles in the body, specifically hamstrings, quadriceps, hips flexors, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and the calves.
After involving these muscles during leg workouts, can you still do cardio?
Cardio fitness is a move that builds body strength while improving your endurance levels, but, can it be done during leg day?
This article gives an insight into everything you need to know about cardio on leg day, cardio after leg day and everything in between.
CARDIO ON LEG DAY
Doing cardio on leg day is like putting 10 pounds of manure in a five-pound bag.
According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, doing a HIIT- Cardio Workout like running during leg day reduces your body strength, lowering muscle growth progress.
This is because these workouts are very strenuous to the body. They both use muscle glycogen– an essential fuel stored in the body. This fuel gets exhausted just by doing one of the workouts. The next one will definitely need replenishment of glycogen reserves.
Therefore, jumping from one workout to another doesn’t give your body ample time to replenish these reserves.
The result? The body becomes so worn out as it lacks the needed fuel to boost your energy levels.
Cardio leaves your lower body muscles in a pumped state. You’ll therefore not do much leg training if you incorporate both.
Also, after weight training, your body starts synthesizing proteins, and the cells start growing. So, jumping straight to cardio after leg training shuts off these processes completely.
According to this study, you can do low-intensity cardio during leg day to facilitate blood flow in the muscles. But, intense cardio or HIIT cardio should be off the table during leg training.
The benefits of doing leg training when your muscles have had ample rest are undeniable. So, it’s better not to compromise your legs and joints before a demanding leg day workout.
WHAT WORKOUT TO DO AFTER LEG DAY?
You’re now done with leg day- the most dreadful day of the week. You’re definitely feeling tired, exhausted and worn out. Do you then wonder what’s next?
What workout to do after leg day is unique to an individual. It depends on how many days in the week you work out, activities outside the gym, quality of sleep, recovery levels, nutrition and the goals you want to achieve in the long run.
However, if you don’t have such decided plans, you can do the following:
TRAIN A DIFFERENT MUSCLE GROUP
According to Researchers at Lillehammer University College, it’s advisable to train another muscle group immediately after leg day. Especially, the body part with the less muscle group.
It will enable the muscles to increase in size and strength. This is because leg workouts produce a great number of growth hormones.
Therefore, take advantage of training a smaller muscle group such as biceps and shoulders to realize effective results within the shortest time possible.
The last thing you want to do after a leg day is pounding the pavements with sore feet.
However, according to this research, running gently after leg day raises your heartbeat rate, loosen your body and restores the energy lost during leg training. The research adds that incorporating your leg day with different workout techniques puts your muscles at rest.
The benefits of stretching are undeniable from improved posture to decreased back pain. Therefore, do stretches that target your quads, hamstrings, calves, hips and lower back.
IS IT BETTER TO DO CARDIO BEFORE OR AFTER LEG DAY?
Confused on whether to do cardio before or after leg day? Worry no more.
According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Doing intense cardio before leg day can interfere with your muscle development by slowing its growth, leading to fatigue. Fatigue slows your endurance level making your leg training shorter than usual.
On the other hand,
This study reports that doing moderate-intensity cardio such as cycling after weight lifting reduced DOMS effects, which delays soreness in your muscles.
This is because, cycling stimulates the flow of blood to the damaged tissues, thus supplying it with the necessary nutrients while shutting out lactic acids that accumulate after intense leg day. This, therefore, improves the recovery process.
Therefore, it’s better to do cardio after than before a leg day.
WHY IS LEG DAY THE HARDEST?
No one looks forward to leg days. It is referred to as the necessary evil.
Leg days are the hardest. But remember Johnson Dwayne didn’t just become the “Rock” out of the blues. He had to pay the price to build legs that amazed the whole world—same case as Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Weight lifters work specific body parts on each training day. But most of them complain about having a gruelling day during leg days compared to working out other body parts.
The following are the reasons attributed to that.
1. LEG TRAINING INVOLVES THE LARGEST MUSCLE GROUP
According to Men’s Journal, leg day is the hardest workout dreaded by many people because it contains the body’s largest muscle group.
The muscles in your legs account to almost 65% of the whole-body weight. Therefore, you require effort from each body part when training this body part. These muscles also require much mobility.
2. LEG TRAINING INVOLVES CHALLENGING MOVES
The techniques used in doing leg training are hard.
For example, lunges involve forward movements, backward movements walking, and stationary. They will make you beg for mercy. You’ll always come out sweating like a porous pitcher.
3. LEG WORKOUT REQUIRES MORE THAN PHYSICAL STRENGTH
Leg training requires much mental toughness than any other workouts.
For example, squats require different moves, stability and will power. You’re going to move into deeper depths hence challenging your coordination and central nervous system.
You need strength to endure pain and too many weights in your back.
ARE SQUATS ENOUGH FOR LEG DAY?
It is believed that if you want to get classy and toned legs, you just have to make squats your workout buddy. Is it true?
Squats is the best workout to train your legs. However, it is not enough to train your legs; you require a variety of leg workouts.
This is because squats don’t activate the muscles in your hamstrings and rectus femoris as much as other leg exercises does.
You’re advised to incorporate a variety of different exercises to target every muscle in your lower body.
Squats has many benefits, but supplement it with exercises such as lunges, hip thrust and deadlift to achieve maximum leg development hence strength.
Also, some people squat differently; they don’t go deep as others due to anatomical differences. Some, mostly beginners, lack the stability to do squats properly. Others have injuries preventing them from squatting properly.
Therefore, squats aren’t just enough for everybody.
Cardio is a marvellous workout that builds your heart rate, metabolism and also prevents heart diseases. However, cardio on leg day should be delayed until after 24 hours. Therefore, ensure you maintain it at optimal levels to facilitate ample recovery.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]