You see posts online all the time about leg day. People that post meme’s about leg day and how they’re so sore afterwards and how they threw up midst training. This kind of annoys me because this whole training concept is terrible for the average lifter.
This comes down to the whole ”No Pain No Gain’ mentality but that’s not the reality of how the human body works and how the human body responds to training stimulus.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
If you are getting sore or you’re getting DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) regularly from any sort of training and you’ve been training for longer than 8 weeks consistently, there is probably something wrong with your training program.
What we usually find with things like a ‘leg day’ is that you’re only working out your legs once a week, and that contributes to DOMS. Inconsistent training contributes to DOMS.
What we’ve seen in studies over the years regarding training frequency is that if the same amount of volume (sets) is spread out over more workouts, you usually gain more muscle growth.
For example, squatting 6 days a week instead of 3 days a week with the same total volume, gives better leg development. What does that tell you about ‘once a week leg days’?
Most of these people, because they only train their legs once a week, do 15 or more sets for legs on that day. Something like: 4 sets of squats, 4 sets of leg press, 4 sets of hack squats, extensions, leg curls, all these secondary exercises that they don’t need and when in reality you only need to squat and deadlift for a few sets almost every time you’re in the gym.
As Lee Haney always used to say: ”Stimulate, dont annihilate”
Strength Athletes, Secondary Exercises
When you look at serious strength athletes, you’ll see tremendous leg development, better often times than bodybuilders for both quadriceps and hamstrings, most of them don’t do all these secondary exercises and non of them have ‘leg days’. Strength athlete have training days that almost always includes the squat and deadlift.
The average lifter shouldn’t do all these secondary exercises, shouldn’t have to do 15 sets to where you have DOMS and throwing up, and you shouldn’t space your leg training out that far or you aren’t going to get particularly good leg development.
This whole concept of the leg day and infrequent training comes from the heavily enhanced bodybuilding world including the amazing genetics that changes recovery curves and muscle growth rate. When these principles simply will not work for the vast majority of people and it ultimately leads to inferior leg development.
Start Developing Better Legs!
If you want good leg development you should be doing the squat and deadlift (particularly the squat) every time you come to the gym, or at least almost every time you’re at the gym depending on how often you train per week. Your focus should be on a couple primary mass building movements. Accessory work is always optional. It should be used as needed and even if you need an accessory movement to bring up a muscle-imbalance then doing the movement once a week in addition to your normal training is enough. There is no need to do accessory movements all the time.
Put your effort into the big mass building movements, do them frequent and all of these DOMS and soreness issues that everyone has will go away. On top of that, your legs will get a lot bigger and more developed.
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