Legs are the foundation of the body, and regularly exercising them is key to building a solid base and supporting a well-rounded workout routine. However, working out too much or too little can be counterproductive. That brings us to our question: is working out legs once a week enough?
Working out your legs once a week is enough to see results to build muscle. To build muscle, train at a high intensity for an extended time and infuse progressive overload to make up for the days you’re not training. It lessens your risk of overtraining, allowing your legs time to recover.
This article will discuss your leg workouts, including how often to see results. We’ll also discuss the benefits and risks associated with leg training, talk more about the overload principle, and give you tips on different leg exercises.
How Often Should I Workout My Legs To See Results?
Workout routines aren’t one size fits all. Therefore, what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you and vice versa. Ultimately, your fitness level and your goals will determine how often you train to see results.
Follow these guidelines to compliment your workout routine.
Before starting any fitness routine, you should consider your current fitness level. By doing so, you ensure that your plan fits your needs and results in the changes you want to see. If you don’t, you run the risk of not meeting your goals, which can discourage you.
If you’re a beginner, the key is not to push yourself too much too quickly. You should be training enough to be consistent, but not so much that you injure yourself. Therefore, doing leg workouts once per week may not be an ideal option since this would require longer and more intense exercises.
Instead, you can train your legs three or more times per week using less intensive exercises and allowing rest days in between. Be sure to incorporate compound exercises into your routine to achieve a complete workout of the legs.
If you’re an advanced athlete, chances are you can withstand rigorous exercise for an extended time. In this case, training your legs once or twice per week is okay. However, because the leg muscles cover such a wide area, you must allow your legs to recover fully for proper muscle growth. Allow at least two or three days between each leg day.
Type of Goals
People work out for different reasons. If you’re simply looking to get in shape or lose some extra weight, then your workout plan is going to look much different from someone who’s trying to bulk up or get ready for a competition.
The difference between the two is the amount of weight you use during resistance training. If you’re just shaping up, you can use lighter weights, including body weight, allowing you to train more often. Whereas, if your goal is size or power, you’ll need to use heavier weights that are more taxing on your muscles, resulting in more recovery time.
The overload fitness principle is the idea that to gain muscle and ward off hitting a fitness plateau, you must consistently increase the demands on your body. This can mean varying the type, intensity, and duration of your workout to meet your needs.
So if you’re working out your legs once a week and you find yourself getting bored with your plan or not seeing results, this may mean that you need to reevaluate your routine. You can increase your reps, add weight, use more sets, or try new exercises.
Benefits of Leg Workout
Exercise is fundamental to achieving a healthy lifestyle; therefore, leg training has many advantages. Here are some of the top benefits:
- You’ll be faster. The more you work out your legs, the more powerful they will become. Powerful legs equal less time needed to exert a maximal amount of force. Stronger means faster for short sprints.
- Stronger joints. When you exercise your leg muscles, you also work out the corresponding joints, increasing their flexibility and stability.
- You’ll burn more calories. The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body. Therefore, exercising these muscles takes a lot of fuel, and the more energy you expend, the more calories you will burn.
- Improved range of motion.
- Better body symmetry. Focusing on only your upper half results in an asymmetrical appearance (big upper body and skinny legs). You may also experience strength imbalances that may affect your performance.
Risks of Leg Workout
The risks associated with training your legs most often result from overtraining. Overtraining occurs when you’re working out more than you’re resting. By not taking time to recover, you create an imbalance and overwork your body, which can cause severe health problems and void all of the hard work you put in.
Working out your legs once a week can prevent this, but be sure that you don’t overtrain other parts of your body. Here are some symptoms to look out for to spot overtraining before it becomes a more significant issue:
- Moodiness. Regular exercise can relieve stress and have a positive effect on your mood. While too much exercise can do the opposite. The overcompensating that your body has to do can cause significant mental stress and cause you to experience drastic mood swings.
- Insomnia. These same stress hormones can manifest in the inability to get a good night’s rest. The overproduction of stress hormones will inhibit your body from winding down.
- Fatigue. If you find yourself feeling sluggish or forcing yourself to work out, that’s a sign from your body that you need to rest. Not doing so will exacerbate the problem, and chronic fatigue may cause depression and anxiety.
- Poor performance. Pushing yourself past your limits without recovery will not make you a better athlete. Instead, it’ll make you worse. You’ll expend more effort, but you’ll slowly lose your ability to perform at your best.
Recommended Leg Exercises (Once a week Workout)
Exercising your legs once per week will get you the results you desire like building muscle, losing fat, sports performance, etc. only if you’re doing the right exercises. Because you’re training these muscles less, you need to be doing more. You can do this by choosing activities that’ll fully stretch all the muscles in your legs, also known as compound exercises.
The Romanian deadlift is an exercise that effectively works the core muscles and lower body in one single move. To perform it, you drop down into a squat, grab the barbell making sure your hands are shoulder-width apart. As you move upwards, push your hips backward and keep your spine long. To come back down, hinge at your hips and slide the bar down to mid-shin level, and repeat.
The barbell squat works your glutes and your hamstrings and, if done correctly, improves leg strength and balance. To perform this exercise, you grab the bar with both hands, shoulder-width apart with elbows pointing away from you. Then, load the barbell up across your upper chest, squat down until the bottom of your thighs are parallel to the floor, and repeat.
Performing lunges regularly will help you build muscle mass while working on your glutes, calves, hamstrings, core, and quadriceps. There are various ways to perform this exercise, including adding weights. The most basic way to do it is to step forward with one foot and drop down until your leg is at a 90-degree angle. Then push back up to standing and repeat on the other side.
Working out your legs once per week is a viable option whether you’re short on time or have other goals to satisfy. To make this work for you, you need to create a routine that considers your fitness level and goals and constantly challenges you so that you’re not doing the same thing every week.
- Ace Fitness: Signs of Overtraining | 9 Signs to Look Out For
- Ace Fitness: Benefits of Compound Exercises | 5 Reasons to Do These Exercises
- Ace Fitness: 5 Exercises for Stronger Legs
- Britannica: Exercise – Motor-performance physical fitness
- Healthline: Never Skip a Leg Day: Benefits, Cautions, and More
- Medicine Net: What Are the Benefits of Leg Workout? 12 Common Benefits
- Live Strong: The Best Leg Exercises for Muscle Definition
- Ace Fitness: Barbell Romanian Deadlifts Technique & Benefits
- BarBend: The 8 Best Leg Exercises (2021 Updated)