If you prioritize exercise to maintain a fit, healthy body, you probably know the importance of Legs Day. Because strong legs are a prerequisite for an independent, dynamic lifestyle. Research even shows that your neurological health depends on the signals your brain receives from the large muscles in your legs, as well as the instructions sent from your brain to your muscles. It’s important to know what to include in your workout routine on leg day, but it’s just as important to know what not make. We spoke to an expert who shares five of the worst workout habits that are destroying your leg strength.
Leg training is so important that it should be incorporated into your regular routine. You are an important part of an overall healthy body and build strength and balance, which helps you avoid falls and injuries. Shaping stronger leg muscles will also increase your endurance and strength, and set you up for lots of active outdoor fun this summer like biking, swimming and hiking, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
But it’s always a smart idea to review your training practices to make sure they’re helping you — and not hurting — or hindering your progress. To learn the bad training habits that are destroying your leg strength, Eat this, not that! spoke with Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, a member of our Medical Expert Board and a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who helped develop the Body Program at Ro. dr Bohl advises, “Exercise is generally healthy — but as with anything else, it’s important to do it in moderation and not overexert yourself or you put yourself at risk of injury.”
Here are some bad leg workout habits you know and need to break as soon as possible. Read on to learn more, and next, don’t miss 5 Workout Habits That Are Destroying Your Body After 50.
1. You overtrain.
It’s common to be a little over-ambitious in the gym when you have a goal or schedule in mind. But it’s important not to overdo it. You will reach your endgame with patience and consistency.
dr Bohl explains, “Some leg workouts — like squats and deadlifts — involve lifting very heavy weight, and it can be tempting to push yourself to see how far you can go. However, overtraining is a very real phenomenon. Lifting too much weight too much can put a strain on your muscles and bones, and this can cause muscle pain and weakness that ultimately requires time off from the gym to recover.
2. You don’t give your body enough time to rest.
Just as overtraining is bad for you, don’t give your body enough recovery time between workouts.
“It’s important to give your muscles enough time to rest – not only between sets and exercises, but also between training days. If you do back-to-back leg training days, you could put yourself at risk of injury,” warns Dr. Bohl.
3. You practice bad posture.
This is a Biggie! Every single exercise you perform requires good posture.
dr Bohl explains, “In general, you should check the five control points of the kinetic chain – your feet and ankles, knees, hips and pelvis, shoulders and head. Specifically for the legs, your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, your knees should be in line with your second and third toes, and your pelvis should be in a neutral position. Common mistakes are pointing your toes in or out and bending your knees in or out – try not to allow that during a leg workout.”
4. You run without the right gear.
If you’re a runner, wearing improper shoes or running on a surface that’s way too hard for your legs and feet can lead to problems like shin splints or plantar fasciitis. Any of these problems will result in you needing extra recovery time. Just think about it – time will cost you in the form of time away from the gym and less time on leg workouts.
5. You’re not eating the right foods.
Your body needs specific nutrients for muscle recovery and repair post-workout.
dr Bohl tells us, “When you’re trying to lose weight and cut out a lot of calories, you run the risk of not eating everything you need. Make sure your meals are high in protein (especially lean proteins like chicken, fish, and plant-based proteins) to help your leg muscles get stronger.”
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