The Ultimate Guide to Cardio after Leg Day

So you want to know the real show of strength?

Is it having bulging Pecs, Shoulders, or Biceps? NO…

Many would disagree but the majority of strength athletes would tell you it is having a powerful leg…

Yes! Legs…

Achieving symmetrical legs is possibly done with weight training but there’s more to it than just a huge looking quad…

You would want a sound cardiovascular fitness to back it up…

So, the question that pops up in mind: is it possible to do cardio after leg day?

What if I tell you it’s possible for you to obtain it? Even with people do gossip it’s the hardest part of training?

It’s second to none, having a great looking physique and outstanding leg development with a functional lower body that is always ready to explode and endure.

Ever noticed how the most successful athletes, from combat sports, ball games to strongmen?

What do they share in common?

Again it’s having an extraordinary leg power and endurance…

And the fact that their legs look amazing too…

Would you care to listen? Let’s explain this to you…

Leg day is a very mysterious day for most beginners in lifters and bodybuilders as it’s a common cliché leg day is the worst day.

However, for more experienced and pro bodybuilders and lifters, it is the worst day of their weekly workout schedule.

Why? Well, basically it is when you work and train and beat the lower half of your body until you cry blood and cannot stand up anymore.

But hey, it is not that bad! Some even have the guts to hit cardio the next day?

What You’ll Know In This Post

⇒What is Leg Day And What makes Leg Day important to Your Fitness Life

⇒What should I do on Leg Day?

⇒The Leg Day Exercise from HELL

⇒How to Recover from a Hellish Leg Day

⇒Cardio after Leg Day: Is it good or bad?

⇒How do you do cardio after leg day?

⇒Study of Doing Cardio after Leg Day

What is Leg Day?

leg workout

So, you keep hearing your buddies going to the gym talking about it.

You happen to stumble upon it on Twitter and Facebook.

Even hot guys on Instagram cannot stop posting funny memes about it that you cannot relate.

So, you begin to wonder and ask, what IS leg day?

Legs Day is a very ordinary single day of the week that you choose to train your calves, hamstrings, and quads, FURIOUSLY.

Wait, is that needed? What? You don’t know? Well, it is high time you did.

What makes Leg Day important?

You’ve seen those yummy six-packed meats, mean and big pecks and that bulging biceps about to rip the shirt of most guys in the gym.

But, wait, is that where you only look for? How about the lower half?

Oh, they are covered up for the moment.

But, imagine a very disappointing sight when summer comes looking at a guy with mouth-watering torso but with chicken legs.

Do not be that guy!

It’s an amazing sight for a physique to have a well-defined and muscular quad with calves carved like a diamond of mass.

While no one really looks forward to leg day (just because it will be hell the next day) and most preferably skip it, but to some serious hotties, it is a necessary evil.

But why? Glad you asked.

1/ Build more muscles

squat

Oh, cracking the deadlifts will surely assist you in building thicker and bigger slabs of meat.

A naturally produced steroid hormone, testosterone promotes strength and muscle mass growth.

Deadlifts, squats and other compound moves will surely boost your levels of Testosterone

2/ More Calorie burned

Gluteus maximus or your booty muscles are the body’s largest muscles.

So what? You need more energy when working these large muscles, meaning, your body will need to burn more calories than usual.

3/ Big lifts improvement

Believe it or not, your core and legs are the major sources of your power when you do the heavy lifting.

Even during the bench press, your lower body is the one much engaged in providing a stable platform to pump from.

Lacking in leg conditioning will only get you so far when doing the heavy lifting.

deadlift

However, when you perform functional exercises such as deadlifts can strengthen your glutes, legs, and lower body as well as developing your overall mobility and muscles.

Keep in mind that in every movement, core strength always supports the body.

And the King of Exercises, the deadlift is the primary building movement for core strength.

4/ Reducing risk of injury

Forget about your lower half and you will be running the injury gauntlet.

Lack of mobility, hamstrings that are poorly conditioned and muscle imbalances will result in numerous issues such as ACL injuries and low back pain.

In order to promote mobility and stability, build muscles around weak joints and develop your hamstring, you will need to condition your legs by doing deadlifts, lunges, and squats.

Let me be clear about this, if you are really serious about functional strength development and building big mean muscles without the risk of injuries, then you need to take leg day seriously.

When does Leg Day take place?

I would suggest then you train your leg once every week.

However, if your legs are weak, then you can train it for 2 or 3 times a week to get them growing.

Although, 1 intense leg workout is all it takes IF you are doing it right.

How long does it last?

You can train your legs aiming somewhere between 45 to 90 minutes in order to notice some progress.

Researchers of European sports found out that cortisol only starts to be released by the body after 45 minutes of working out.

A natural hormone, cortisol stimulates muscle tissue breakdown which is the opposite of what you are aiming for.

Moreover, levels of testosterone that help in muscle growth start to drop and fatigue and tiredness sets in.

This means that your workout will be less effective and you might suffer an injury.

What should I do on Leg Day?

There are no two similar days when it comes to leg day.

You can try tri-sets (three exercise set in a row) superset (one exercise which is then followed immediately by another) or do a complete circuit across the different kit.

You can also try a pyramid approach wherein the weight increases every time, or use ten intense sets from the German Volume Training to get every fiber of the muscles burning.

Whatever it is you decide to do keep in mind that you need a full rounded approach.

Meaning, you will need to hit those stubborn calf muscles, glutes, hamstring and your outer and inner quads.

The Leg Day Exercise from HELL

bench more than squat

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to put your hamstrings and quads on fire with this exercise.

A friendly reminder though, you need to make sure that you are well rested for these sets. Its creator, Sam Wardingley, likes to call it “The Tri-Sets of Doom”, which fit it.

These workouts will test your endurance and strength and will ultimately give you a different definition of leg day.

Now, go and warm up. Do four rounds and if you can five with a 2 minutes rest (or take longer because you will REALLY need it).

I will see you and your DOM’s on the other side.

A1. Perform the 3 consecutive moves as a superset

1/ Barbell Squat (5 Reps)

  • Stand, feet shoulder-width
  • Across your upper back, grasp a barbell with an overhand (Do not rest it on the neck)
  • Stimulate your upper back muscles by hugging the bar into your traps.
  • Sit back into a squat bit by bit with your head up, backside out and back straight.
  • Lower your hips until it is parallel with your knees and your legs are at a 90-degree
  • Now, push your heels to the floor and drive yourself back up.
  • Maintain your form until you have stood up straight.
  • That is one rep.

A2. Per leg = 1 set

2/ Barbell Bulgarian Split Squat (2 Sets, 12 Reps)

  • Face away from a bench, stand while holding a barbell across your upper back.
  • Let one leg rest on the bench behind you and laces down.
  • With your standing leg, do a squat until your other knee roughly touches the floor.
  • Through your front foot, push up to go back to start position.

A3. 50-50 Tempo

Simulate movements: You can search on google or this (click here).

3/ Bodyweight Squat (90 seconds to 2 minutes Rep)

  • Stand, feet shoulder-width
  • Start by bending knees and sit back with the hips.
  • Go down as far as you can and reverse motion quickly back to the starting
  • Throughout the move, keep your back straight and your head up.

B1. Perform the 3 consecutive moves as a superset

4/ Barbell Dead Lift (5 Reps)

  • Squat down.
  • Hold a barbell with your hands as wide as your shoulders
  • Keeping your chest up, look straight ahead and pull your shoulders back as you lift the bar.
  • Focus on giving the weight back to the heels and keep the bar close to your body.
  • Lift to thigh level and then pause. Then return to start position.

B2

5/ Hamstring Curl (12 Reps)

  • Sit in a leg curl machine. Keep the upper pad against thighs and your heels against the lower
  • Bend your knee to pull down the pad as far as you can.
  • Return to start position.

B3 Take a 2-minute rest then repeat circuit 4 to 5 times

6/ Romanian Dead Lift (12 Reps, 2 Minutes Rest)

  • Stand behind a barbell which is grounded.
  • To grab it, slightly bend your knees and keep your hips, back and shins straight.
  • Push hips forwards to lift the bar without bending your back.
  • From an upright position, lower the bar by pushing your hips back and slightly bending your knees.

How to Recover from a Hellish Leg Day

After your Leg day, your legs are on fire? Am I right?

It is quite okay to curse and complain a lot about hellish sore muscles.

You might even want to borrow your grandmother’s wheelchair for that matter.

Yes, you read that right! It’s going to be burning…

After your magnificent deadlifts glorious lunges, DOMS can’t wait to hit you with vengeance.

DOMS or Delayed onset muscle soreness is very common for most people to experience after a full intense leg workout.

Tired and stiff and painful muscles that feel sore for a day or two can damper your motivations.

Can’t walk properly? Can’t get out of the bed? Dropped your keys?

Oh, you WILL be begging for mercy!

But, don’t worry! There are certain ways in which you can recover from the aftermath and continue your regular workout schedule.

Care to know them?

1/ Stretching

This would be your first line of defense against soreness after an intense workout.

During training, your muscles contract and the fibers of your muscles get shorter.

After the workout, lengthening them through stretching can promote mobility and can result in a more thorough recovery.

2/ Foam Roll

According to International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy’s recent study, you can significantly reduce DOMS by massaging your sole muscles using a foam roller.

You need at least five rolls for each primary muscle groups, starting from your calves and all the way up your body.

Also, take extra time to sore spots.

3/ Massaging

Do not settle for foam roll. You can use ointments and oils to massage your legs to help reduce overall muscle pains and to your overall health.

4/ Eat

high protein food

You might want to take enough healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins after your intense leg day.

These nutrients play a very important role in maintaining and repairing muscles and helps recover from sore muscles.

Not only that, you might also want to consider a protein supplementation that is strategically timed.

There is an increase in protein synthesis during sleep and a few hours after work out sessions.

So you can take a supplement for muscle recovery after exercise and a recharging supplement before sleeping to fill your body with the right amount of amino acids.

5/ Increase you fatty acid intake

Inflammation of muscle is the main culprit of soreness.

To help decrease this inflammation, you might want to consume omega-3 fatty acids rich food such as walnuts, avocado, flax, free range meat, and salmon to your diet.

These foods can provide lower soreness because of their natural inflammatory properties.

6/ Ice it!

ice

Icing your muscles immediately after an intense workout can stave off inflammation.

The Beachbody Fitness and Nutrition’s former vice president, Steve Edwards said that “Inflammation is one of nature’s defense mechanisms, but it works like a cast—it immobilizes you.”

He added, “When you keep inflammation down, that area is free to keep moving, and movement promotes healing.
Like the lingering, its effect is for debate-some researchers have stated that ice is only effective for injuries and not for run-of-the-mill pain, but it’s a simple and safe option that many top-level athletes swear by.
Unless you ice so long that you give yourself frostbite, there’s really no danger. It seems to really speed up healing without any adverse effects.”

7/ Keep Moving

You don’t want to?

Now, I understand where you are standing at and the last thing you want to when your legs hurt is to move.

But, really, this is exactly what you need to do.

You can take a gentle yoga class or have gone on an easy hike.

This kind of activity is called “active recovery” by Fitness pro.

These types of activities can help your body work out kinks and soreness

Cardio after Leg Day: Is it good or bad?

While many people prefer to lie in bed, not moving at all, because of a nasty case of DOMS after a very intense leg day, there are some who have the guts to ask, “Can I do cardio after leg day workout?” Wow man!

Well, I cannot say that it is a type of overtraining and can cause some serious injuries, but there are some bodybuilders who never mind the soreness and still enjoy doing a cardio workout even limping.

Most bodybuilders consider cardio training and weight training to be two separate things.

However, it can be done but with a careful planning.

How do you do cardio after leg day?

Keep in mind that you cannot do cardio workouts BEFORE leg day.

Your leg muscles and glycogen stores need to be replenished and you cannot expect a great performance on the squatting rack if you went all out on cardio training earlier.

How about after? Most people rest for a day or two following leg day.

After all, DOMS is at its worst after 24 hours of an intense leg workout.

But there are some who use the two following days for a relaxed, slow cardio session.

This gives the lung a good workout and works great on the well-worn legs.

Lastly, you can take advantage of the feeling of numbness in your legs at the end of your leg training session and finish it with a very intense session of cardio workout immediately after your leg workout.

Because your legs are already tired after your leg training, you will not feel so much pain when riding a bike or going for a few minute run.

You can get more gains out of the day’s workout by making most of the torture.

Study of Doing Cardio after Leg Day

No matter how hard your DOMS hit you, lying in bed and skipping workouts will not make it any better— but stationary cycling or slow cardio workout will!

Doing a steady state cardio for 20 minutes have shown to reduce DOMS.

California State University study suggests that subjects who performed a moderate intensity of cardio workout on a stationary cycle after an intensive DOMS-inducing leg workout have their leg strength return in just a day faster than those subjects who did nothing or performed a low-intensity cardio.

Authors of the study believed that the moderate intensity cardio workout help boost blood flow to affected areas that helps get rid of exercise’s waste by-products like lactic acid and delivers nutrients to the damaged muscle tissues which lead to a faster healing.

Conclusion

Leg Day is possibly a 100 percent concentrated hell workout on earth.

It can leave you sore and beg for mercy for the rest of the week and think of not going through it anymore but, you will soon thank yourself for not skipping it.

Having bulging quads and a diamond shaped calves definitely make a big difference when you hit a pose, or even just walking around on the beach.

I’m sure your gym colleagues will droll over those ripped and huge muscular mass.

So get up and train!

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