Why is Leg Day So Much More Exhausting Than Other Workout Days and Why You Should Never Skip It

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Why is leg day so much more exhausting than other workout days?

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Why is Leg Day So Much More Exhausting Than Other Workout Days and Why You Should Never Skip It

If you’ve ever tried to maintain a consistent workout routine, you’ve probably noticed that leg day feels more exhausting than other workout days. It’s a common observation among fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike.

But have you ever wondered why leg day is so tiring? In this article, we’ll explore the anatomical, psychological, and exercise-related reasons behind the exhaustion associated with leg day.

We’ll also discuss the benefits of leg day and why it’s essential to include it in your workout routine.

Why is Leg Day So Much More Exhausting Than Other Workout Days?

Leg day is often considered more exhausting than other workout days due to several factors. First, leg exercises engage larger muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. These muscles require more energy to perform exercises, leading to increased oxygen and calorie consumption during the workout. Additionally, compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges, which are commonly incorporated in leg workouts, activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously, resulting in greater overall muscle activation and contributing to the exhaustion experienced. Furthermore, the psychological factors, such as the anticipation and dread of leg day, can also make it feel more tiring. Despite the perceived exhaustion, leg day is a crucial component of a well-rounded fitness routine, providing numerous benefits such as increased strength, power, balance, and stability, as well as injury prevention and improved overall body composition.

Let’s now look at the anatomical reasons and psychological factors that contribute to leg day exhaustion…

Larger Muscle Groups Involved

One of the primary reasons leg day is more exhausting than other workout days lies in the involvement of larger muscle groups. When exercising your legs, you target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, which are some of the most substantial muscles in your body. Engaging these muscles demands a considerable amount of energy, making leg day workouts more tiring.

Higher Energy Expenditure

The larger muscle groups in your legs necessitate more oxygen and calories to function effectively. Consequently, your body exerts extra effort to supply the required energy to your muscles during leg day. This increased energy expenditure results in greater muscle activation, contributing to the overall feeling of exhaustion post a leg workout.

Anticipation and Dread of Leg Day

Many individuals dread leg day, knowing that it will be a challenging workout. This anticipation can establish a mental barrier, making the workout appear even more demanding than it is. As a result, you might feel more exhausted after leg day simply because you have been mentally preparing yourself for a strenuous workout.

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Discomfort Experienced During Leg Exercises

Leg exercises such as squats and lunges can be uncomfortable, particularly when executed with heavy weights. This discomfort can cause leg day to feel more exhausting than other workouts, even if the overall energy expenditure is comparable.

Importance of Mental Fortitude

During Workouts Possessing strong mental fortitude is crucial during any workout, but it is especially true on leg day. Pushing through the exhaustion and discomfort requires mental resilience and determination, which can contribute to the overall feeling of fatigue after completing a leg workout.

The Role of Compound Exercises

Definition and Benefits of Compound Exercises Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that engage several muscle groups simultaneously, offering an efficient and effective way to build strength, improve muscle coordination, and burn calories.

By targeting multiple muscles at once, these exercises maximise your workout time and provide functional strength that benefits everyday activities and sports performance.

Examples of Leg Day Compound Exercises Some common compound exercises that you might perform on leg day are as follows:

Squats: This powerful exercise targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, while also engaging your core muscles for stability. Squats can be performed using bodyweight, dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells, providing a variety of options to suit your fitness level and goals.

Deadlifts: Deadlifts work the entire posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and upper back muscles. This exercise helps to improve overall strength, posture, and athletic performance. Like squats, deadlifts can be performed with a variety of equipment, such as barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells.

Lunges: Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while also requiring core engagement for balance and stability. They can be performed in various ways, such as forward, reverse, or lateral lunges, and can be modified with weights for added resistance.

These exercises not only work your legs but also engage your core and other muscle groups, making them highly effective but also more exhausting.

Related: Why Do Squats Give Me A Headache?

How Compound Exercises Contribute to Leg Day Exhaustion

Since compound exercises involve multiple muscle groups and joints, they demand more energy and effort than isolation exercises that target just one muscle group. This increased energy requirement leads to a higher overall heart rate, elevated oxygen consumption, and greater calorie burn, all of which contribute to the overall exhaustion experienced on leg day.

Benefits of Leg Day and Why It’s Worth the Exhaustion

Despite the challenges of leg day, it’s crucial not to skip it. Here are some compelling reasons why leg day is worth the exhaustion:

Increased Strength and Power: Training your legs can significantly improve your overall strength and power, benefiting not only other aspects of your fitness but also your daily life activities, such as lifting heavy objects or climbing stairs.

Improved Athletic Performance: Strong legs are vital for athletic performance in various sports, including running, cycling, and team sports. Incorporating leg day into your workout routine can enhance your abilities and help you excel in your chosen sport.

Better Overall Balance and Stability: Leg exercises help to improve your balance and stability by strengthening the muscles responsible for maintaining proper posture and alignment. This increased stability reduces the risk of falls and injuries, contributing to a safer and more efficient workout and everyday life.

By understanding the role of compound exercises and the benefits of leg day, you can push through the exhaustion and reap the rewards of a well-rounded fitness routine.

Enhanced Fat Burning and Calorie Expenditure

By working out the larger muscle groups in your legs, you burn more calories and elevate your metabolism, both during and after the workout. This increased calorie expenditure helps with weight loss, fat burning, and overall improvements in body composition. Furthermore, as muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, building leg muscles can contribute to a higher resting metabolic rate, helping you burn calories even when you’re not exercising.

Prevention of Muscle Imbalances and Potential Injuries

Neglecting leg day can lead to muscle imbalances, as focusing solely on upper body workouts can create a disproportionate distribution of strength. This imbalance may increase the risk of injury during other activities and hinder your overall athletic performance. Training your legs helps to maintain a balanced and functional body, promoting proper posture, alignment, and reduced injury risk.

Reduction of Lower Back Pain

Strong legs and glutes can help alleviate lower back pain by providing better support for your spine, distributing forces more evenly, and minimizing strain on the lower back muscles. Additionally, leg exercises that target the hamstrings can improve flexibility and reduce tension in the lower back region.

Increased Core Strength

Many leg exercises, particularly compound movements, engage the core muscles for balance and stability. As a result, incorporating leg day into your workout routine can help improve overall core strength, stability, and posture, providing a solid foundation for other exercises and daily activities.

Addressing Misconceptions About Leg Day

There are several misconceptions about leg day that may discourage people from including it in their workout routine. By debunking these myths, clarifying misunderstandings, and presenting factual information, we can help readers understand the true importance of leg day and encourage them to make it a regular part of their fitness journey.

Related: Why Do I Feel Deadlifts In My Hamstrings?

Beginners Leg Workout

Beginner Leg Workout Plan for Confidence and Strength

This beginner leg workout plan is designed to help you build confidence and strength in your legs, with a focus on proper form and gradual progression. Perform this workout 1-2 times per week, allowing for adequate rest between sessions.

Warm-Up (5-10 minutes): Start with a light warm-up to increase blood flow and prepare your muscles for the workout. This can include:

  • Marching in place or light jogging
  • Dynamic stretches, such as leg swings and hip circles
  • Foam rolling (optional)


  1. Bodyweight Squats (3 sets x 12-15 reps)
    • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
    • Bend your knees and lower your hips as if sitting in a chair
    • Keep your chest up and your weight on your heels
    • Push through your heels to return to the starting position
  2. Glute Bridges (3 sets x 12-15 reps)
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
    • Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees
    • Hold the position for a moment, then slowly lower back down
  3. Step-Ups (3 sets x 10-12 reps per leg)
    • Stand facing a sturdy bench or step (use one that is about knee-height)
    • Step up with your right foot, followed by your left, and then step back down
    • Complete all reps on one leg before switching to the other
  4. Standing Calf Raises (3 sets x 12-15 reps)
    • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding onto a wall or railing for balance
    • Slowly raise your heels off the ground, squeezing your calf muscles at the top
    • Lower your heels back down to the starting position
  5. Lying Leg Curls (3 sets x 12-15 reps)
    • Use a leg curl machine or a resistance band anchored to a sturdy object
    • Lie face-down and curl your heels towards your glutes, contracting your hamstrings
    • Slowly return your feet to the starting position

Cooldown (5-10 minutes): Finish your workout with a cooldown, including static stretches targeting your leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors) to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.

As you gain confidence and strength, you can gradually increase the number of sets, reps, or add weights to these exercises to continue progressing. Remember always to prioritise proper form and listen to your body.

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Why do I feel exhausted the day after leg day?

Feeling exhausted after leg day is common because you are working out some of the largest muscle groups in your body, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. These muscles require more energy and effort, leading to increased fatigue and soreness the following day. Additionally, compound exercises performed on leg day engage multiple muscle groups, further contributing to post-workout exhaustion.

Does leg day use more energy?

Yes, leg day typically requires more energy than workouts focusing on smaller muscle groups. The larger muscles in your legs demand more oxygen and calories to function, resulting in higher energy expenditure during leg workouts. Moreover, compound exercises often performed on leg day engage multiple muscle groups at once, which also increases energy usage.

Why do leg days burn more calories?

Leg days burn more calories because they involve the larger muscle groups in your body. Working out these muscles requires more energy, leading to a higher calorie burn. Additionally, compound exercises, which are common in leg workouts, engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, further increasing the number of calories burned during your workout.

Why am I so hungry after leg day?

It’s normal to feel hungrier after leg day because your body uses more energy during these workouts. As mentioned earlier, working out your legs requires more oxygen and calories, leading to an increased energy expenditure. As a result, your body needs to replenish the energy lost during the workout, which can cause an increase in hunger. To fuel your body properly after leg day, focus on consuming a balanced meal with a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support muscle recovery and growth.

Final thoughts…

Leg day is often considered more exhausting than other workout days due to the involvement of larger muscle groups, higher energy expenditure, the mental aspect of anticipation and dread, and the use of compound exercises.

Despite the challenges and exhaustion associated with leg day, it is crucial not to skip it, as it offers numerous benefits such as increased strength and power, improved athletic performance, better overall balance and stability, enhanced fat burning and calorie expenditure, prevention of muscle imbalances and potential injuries, reduction of lower back pain, and increased core strength.

Remember to listen to your body, fuel it properly, and give yourself enough time to recover after intense leg workouts. With consistency and determination, you will see significant improvements in your overall fitness and well-being.

Do you find leg day more exhausting than other workout days and have these tips helped? Let me know in the comment section below.

If you enjoy sports and use CBD to help with your recovery in between gruelling workouts, then you are in the right place. Here at Sport CBDs, we train hard and recover the best way possible.

We have regular workouts (check out the YouTube channel), CBD news and CBD products to help you gain that edge! 

If you wanted to check out the reputable CBD we have on offer here at the site, then please head to the Sport CBDs Store (CLICK HERE). We also do fitness clothing and yoga accessories too. 

Until next time, all the best…

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout


Founder – Sport CBDs

Main Image Attribution – Image by halayalex on Freepik

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