You still see them in the gym. You know the guys who brag about their bench press and crank away at the lat pull down machine? The ones doing barbell curls and then preacher curls and then concentration curls . And then some triceps extensions on the cable machine for good measure. They take their shirts off and they are fitness magazine cover ready….. from the waist up at least.
From the waist down, well…not so much. You’re a tall man – seriously, you are mostly legs to begin withso why would you not work them out and make them look the best that you can. People notice when a tall man has little legs and a huge upper body more than they would a shorter man – why? Because we take up more space and proportions are more exaggerated.
Popular Excuses: “I run for my legs”, “My legs are too big already”, “Squats hurt my knees”… Whatever the story, not training your legs is the biggest training mistake you can make. Unless you have a medical restriction, there is absolutely no excuse to skip the big lifts that primarily involve the muscles of the lower body. And I’m not talking about lying leg curls here. I’m talking about squats and deadlifts and the different versions of each. Here are some very important reasons why you should train them.
More Muscle: You can find studies showing that squats & deadlifts increase the release of Growth Hormone & Testosterone more than any other exercise. These are natural muscle building hormones. Doing big complex movements “recruits more total muscle mass and, along with a challenging motor pattern, it leads to a big metabolic stress on your body. This is the perfect formula for releasing more testosterone.” – T Nation
Bigger Upper-Body: Squats & Deadlifts work your whole body, not just your legs. Quick examples of how they stimulate upper-body growth too: *Your arms squeeze the bar hard during heavy Squats & Deadlifts. *Your abs work hard at stabilizing the weight during Squats. *Your chest muscles tense hard during heavy Deadlifts.
If you can’t train your upper-body because of an injury, you can prevent muscle loss in your upper-body by doing heavy Squats & Deadlifts.
More Strength: Stronger legs and core muscles will increase your strength on upper-body lifts and thus help upper-body muscle development. Quick examples of how Squats & Deadlifts can cause strength gains on your other lifts:
*Leg drive matters on the Bench Press. Stronger legs means more leg drive and a bigger bench and thus bigger muscles.
*Squats & Deadlifts strengthen your legs & lower back. These muscles help you stay strong during the Overhead Press.
More Metabolic Bang For Your Buck: The muscles of the legs are the largest muscles of the body. Moving big muscles requires big energy – meaning more calories burned. You can bench press all day long, but nothing is going to get the metabolism cranking like some heavy squats and deadlifts.