Melody Shoenfeld had a guest post, Mighty Legs for Super Strength, on her blog last week by Benjamin Bergman, and it’s one that I generally agree with. He notes something that we all probably see all around us – if we just take a second to look: people with impressive upper bodies and toothpick legs. I saw a guy in the grocery store a couple weeks back who had plenty of mass and shape in his upper body, but whose legs literally (yes, I’m using that word correctly, here) couldn’t fill out the biking shorts he was wearing. I guess every day is chest day for that dude…and he wouldn’t be my first pick to get me out a jam in the woods, or from a Glasgow Pub (I don’t mean to be macabre, but I’m training to be efficient in, and prepared for, life’s surprises. Not for vanity).
Bergman also mentions that our legs are the basis for almost every single athletic endeavor. He points out that training your legs for lean mass has more benefits: hormone levels (though it could be argued that this goes for all strength and conditioning), and of course, the looks. Testosterone is essential for health and as we age, can aid in the prevention of osteoporosis. Testoserone levels can decrease later in life but can be prevented by intense leg training. Strengthening your legs boosts this natural growth hormone, building new muscle while burning fat and boosting metabolism.
I may not train for vanity, but I sure do like the way I look when I’m on my game. I feel great inside, and feel like I look great! Men – it’s nice to have legs that aren’t total toothpicks (I’m genetically predisposed to skinny legs, but they’re a lot better than they used to be). Ladies – squats, lunges, jumping, will all tone your legs, and lift and shape your butt (heck, this applies to us men, too). Running and the elliptical just won’t do it that same way. It doesn’t take a lot of weight – it’s more about the movement, and making sure you’re doing them regularly.
So, the next time you’re in a training session with me, and you think I’m insane because yesterday’s workout had a lot of leg-based movements, hopefully you’ll understand where I’m coming from: I want you to be reliable in life’s physical challenges, and I want you to have the legs and butt you probably want, in the back of your mind (or the front!).