5 Exercise Habits That Are Destroying Your Leg Strength

If you prioritize exercise to maintain a fit and healthy body, chances are you know the importance of leg day. After all, strong legs are essential for leading an independent and dynamic life. Research even shows that your neurological health depends as much on the signals your brain receives from the large muscles in your legs as it does on the instructions your brain sends to your muscles. Knowing what to include in your leg day training routine is crucial, but equally important is knowing what not TO DO. We spoke to an expert who shares five of the worst exercise habits that destroy your leg strength.

Leg workouts are so important to include in your regular routine. They’re an important part of an overall healthy physique, and they build strength and balance that will help you avoid falls and injuries. According to Harvard Health Publishing, sculpting stronger leg muscles will also give your endurance and power a boost, and prepare you for many outdoor activities this summer, such as biking, swimming and hiking.

But it’s always a good idea to review your training practices to make sure they’re helping (not hurting) or hindering your progress. To learn bad exercise habits that destroy your leg strength, Eat this, not that! speak with Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, a member of our medical expert board and certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who helped develop the body program at Ro. Dr. Bohl advises, “In general, exercise is healthy, but like everything else, it’s important to do it in moderation and not push yourself too hard or you put yourself at risk of injury.”

Here are some bad leg training habits you need to be aware of and stop as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn more, and then don’t miss 5 Exercise Habits That Are Destroying Your Body After 50.

1. You overtrain.

fit man doing leg press exercise

It’s common to be a little overambitious in the gym when you have a goal or timeline in mind. But it is crucial 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 really heavy weights, and it can be tempting to push yourself to see how far you can go. However, overtraining is a very real phenomenon. If you lift too much weight, you can put a lot of pressure on your muscles and bones, which can cause muscle soreness and weakness that will ultimately require time off from the gym to recover.

RELATED: 9 Exercise Habits That Are Destroying Your Back After 50

2. You’re not giving your body enough time to rest.

Just as overtraining is bad for you, it doesn’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 training days for the legs, you could be putting yourself at risk of injury,” warns Dr. Bohl.

3. You practice bad posture.

This one is a biggie! Every exercise you do requires good posture.

Dr. Bohl explains, “In general, you should check all five kinetic chain checkpoints: your feet and ankles, your knees, your hips and pelvis, your shoulders and your head. Specifically for the legs, you want your feet to be about shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed forward, your knees aligned with your second and third toes, and your pelvis in a neutral position. Common mistakes are pointing the toes inward or outward and letting the knees collapse or bow outward – try not to let these happen during a leg workout.

RELATED: 7 Cardio Habits That Are Destroying Your Body After 50

4. You run without the right gear.

close-up of female runner tying sneakers on cobbled road

If you’re a runner, wearing the wrong shoes or running on a surface that’s too hard for your legs and feet can cause problems, such as shin splints or plantar fasciitis. Either of these issues will require you to take additional recovery time. Think about it, time will cost you time away from the gym and less time spent training your legs.

5. You’re not eating the right foods.

Your body needs specific nutrients after your workout for recovery and muscle repair.

Dr. Bohl tells us, “If you’re trying to lose weight and cut a lot of calories, you may not be eating everything you need. Make sure your meals are high in protein (especially lean protein like chicken, fish, and vegetable protein), so your leg muscles can build back stronger.

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