Leg day is one of the toughest workouts that gym-goers do. Some would even describe it as brutal because of the high-intensity movements involved to blast those leg muscles. Because of the excruciating pain and soreness that follows, a lot of people tend to avoid leg days. This is not ideal if you are serious in getting the most muscle growth.
The good news is, there are things that you can do after leg day to speed up your recovery while achieving maximum results from your training. If you are curious about what to do after leg day, read on as we list down the exercises that will help you reach your leg goals.
People tend to skip on a crucial part of their leg day– the stretching. A good cool-down stretching session after your routine is just as important as warming up as it can alleviate the pain and boost the recovery process. Not only that, stretching is good for sleep as it relieves the body from built-up tension after a day of intense workout.
No single stretch will target all the muscles of your legs at once, but you can try doing different simple moves to loosen up your legs, especially the quadriceps and hamstrings. Check out the list below for effective stretches to relieve tight muscles.
Seated Toe Stretch
This is a basic but essential move after an intense leg day as it stretches not just your hamstrings but also your lower back.
To do a seated toe stretch, sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Carefully stretch your arms as far as you can towards your toes. Hold for at least 10-15 seconds
Standing Quad Stretch
Swing one leg behind you while standing upright and grab your foot with the same side hand. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds and do the same with the other leg.
Hamstring Hurdle Stretch
This move gives a deeper level of stretch to the hamstrings. Sit with your legs out in front of you. Bend one knee so that that foot is touching your opposite inner thigh. Lean down and extend your arms as far as you can towards the foot that is out. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds and switch to the other leg.
Kneeling Adductor Stretch
Begin by getting down on all fours, placing your hands and knees beneath your shoulders and hips. Reach out and stretch one leg to the side without locking it out. Slowly move your butt back towards the other foot while reaching your arms forward. Stretch for at least 15 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
Lunge Leg Stretch
Split your legs apart as you stand. Lunge forward with one leg, the heel of the other lifted off the floor, directly behind you. For stability and support, use your hands. Lunge stretch for at least 15 seconds and repeat with your opposite leg.
Performing another exercise when you’re feeling so much pain in your legs is probably the last thing that you want to do. However, studies show that doing cardio exercises at least a day after leg training is actually a great way to recover from training.
Staying active through light cardio can help flush away the lactic acid build-up in your leg muscles which can result in reduced pain and soreness. The movements also keep the blood circulating, which helps relieve DOMS and heal the muscles faster.
Here are some of the cardio exercises that you can do post-leg day.
A gentle 20-minute biking session on a stationary bike is a great way to warm up your muscles rather than work them out. This is the perfect recovery exercise as it is low-impact and easy, while promoting blood circulation in the body.
Running is an aerobic exercise that will keep your muscles working after your leg training. Whether you do a power walk session on your treadmill or jog outside, a light recovery run is surely one of the best additions to your routine.
Hitting the pool for a moderate swimming can help start the recovery process of your leg muscles. The movements help your muscle fibers to heal while being easy on your joints.
Knowing what to do after a leg day will prepare you for a speedy and effective healing process after putting your legs through intense training. However, keep in mind that your goal in doing these is for your recovery and not to do more work out. Therefore, make sure to do these exercises in moderation and skip the intense movements.