Before we even start with our day 8 gym routine for beginners, let me tell you one thing, today is going to be a long day. You might get done with your workout routine in less than 90 minutes, but the pain is going to stay a lot longer than that. As we said in the gym guidelines, the first lifter problem is going to come when you start with leg days.
Today isn’t technically your first leg day and it won’t be until the next week, but it is going to be quite close to a leg day experience today. Most of the workouts are going to focus on the leg muscles and the core muscles of your body. We can, of course, focus more core muscles of your body on leg day in the next week’s gym routine for beginners but that is only if you have something left in you after the leg day.
I believe you have rested well on day 7 of gym routine for beginners, your day off from the gym, which is why we will need to first warm up the body a little bit and then we can get right into it
- Cardio – 10 minutes of Cycling
- Legs – Squats
- Legs – Lunges
- Legs – Leg Press
- Legs – Leg Curls
- Legs – Forwards Leg Raises
- Legs – Calves
- Core – Bar Crunches/Crunches
- Core – Criss Cross
- Core – Plank
- Cool Down – Stretching
Exercise 1 – Cardio – 10 Minutes of Cycling or Elliptical
Before you start the workout for any day, it is important that you warm your body up. After a point, you won’t feel like you should start off with cardio and you burn up a lot of your energy on cardio. The truth is, cardio is as important as the girth of your biceps.
If you don’t take up cardio now, you will sooner or later see the effects of not taking it up earlier. You will feel that you don’t have enough stamina to pull of multiple sets of a variation, you get tired after a few fleets of stairs and all of that. This would be because you are adding muscle mass to your body but you are not moving enough. Your heart needs to be strong enough to pump out blood to your body and not give out under rapid movement.
The heart needs to be as strong as the muscle in your bicep if not stronger, otherwise eating all the protein and calories might end up doing more harm than good. Your heart won’t adapt to the new diet and movement regime as quickly. It adapted to your sedentary lifestyle
Exercise 2 – Squats – Free or Bar Squats
Squats is one of the most important and the most tiring variation of legs in the gym routine for beginners. The amount of energy it drains out of you is insane and that is why most people recommend doing it as the first variation of your day so do we. You can start off with a set of jumping jacks or other warm-up exercises before you move to weights, just for warmup, but that’s about it.
If you are down for free squats, then go for it or take up an empty bar or take it up on the smith machine and aim for 3 sets with 20-25 reps each
For, those going to the weighted squats, you can either do it on the smith machine or the open bar. If it is your first time with weighted squats or if you are coming back to the gym after a long time, which should be the case if you are reading this article, we always recommend the smith machine.
Just add 10 pounds (5 kg) plates on either side of the bar for smith machine, or take up an empty bar and start squatting. Smith machine does take away a lot of movement freedom but is actually good for starters. Keep adding weight as you like after the first set.
Remember we are aiming for 3 sets with 12-15 reps each on the weights.
Exercise 3 – Lunges – Walking Lunges
It is absolutely okay to take a break between two sets to catch your breath. It is also okay to place an easier variation between two variations that are designed to suck the life out of you. So, yes, at Cannot Cardio we are going to arrange all the workouts as such because let’s be honest here, we can’t do that either because we Cannot Cardio.
On leg day, however, there is hardly any variation which can be called ‘easy’, but lunges are the closest we can get to that without ruining the flow of the gym routine. So, make the lunges free of weight or get some 2.5-5 kg weights in each hand and start stepping. Remember don’t take steps that are too long or too short.
15 lunge-steps on each leg, and 2 sets. With or without weights is up to you.
Exercise 4 – Leg Press – Low to Medium Intensity
The leg press is one of those variations which you are either scared of doing or too excited to do. When I was a beginner and I was following the gym routine for beginners, I was one of those who are afraid of the leg press, because I had heard too many bad things happening on the Leg Press. Those who are excited about doing the big-boy variation, well don’t be, because all the professionals make it look easy.
Just one tip, don’t be afraid or excited about any variation because if you do it right nothing bad is ever going to happen. Getting too excited and overdoing is the reason behind most mishaps.
Anyways, for leg press, start with 10 lbs (5kg) plates on either side to get a feel for the variation and from the second set – which should be counted as the first set – add weights as per what you feel you can lift.
2 sets with 15-18 reps on the leg press for the first day would be ideal.
Exercise 5 – Leg Curls – Low to Medium Intensity
After this point, I always took a deep breath and stood by the wall for 5-7 minutes just because I knew the worst part of the leg day is done, and now it is a good time. Only problem with the good times was that it was hard to walk from one side of the gym to the other.
Use your towels, lie down on the leg curls machine, the bar stuck at your ankles. The workout will strain your hamstrings (the lower part of your thighs) and though less weight will look too easy to pull, it isn’t. Hamstrings are tough muscles to train. So start will lighter weights and eventually move to higher weights.
Aim for 2 sets of 15 reps each
If you don’t have the equipment for leg curls, you can alternatively do Sumo Squats and replace them in your gym routine for beginners.
Sumo Squats, unlike ordinary Kickback Squats look easy but aren’t actually that easy because they strain your hamstrings a lot more. Keep your legs apart and hold the dumbbell between your legs and sit as shown. You can usually do a lot of weight in Sumo Squats
Exercise 6 – Forward Leg Raises – Low to Medium Intensity
The leg raises is one of the variations in gym routine for beginners that is a confidence booster because you can usually pull a lot of weight in these. But, if you can actually do a lot of weight it is actually a lot worse. The whole idea of leg raises is after you kick the weight up, hold it there for a second and then let go.
Most of the bros and broettes usually just kick the weight and then let it go because they can’t really carry that weight. So, keep the weights less and do the variations slowly and not with a lot of jerks
Aim for 2 sets with 15-20 reps each
If you don’t have the equipment for Leg raise you can alternatively do Surrender squats
Surrender Squats as the name suggest needs you to sit on your knees with hands behind your head. So you stand up with hands behind your head, then you sit on your knees, and then pull your legs one by one in squats position. In one rep, pull the right leg up first and in the other pull left leg up first. This wraps up the glutes portions of leg day gym routine for beginners.
Exercise 7 – Calves – Standing Calf Raises
Finally, the leg variations are finally done and we can move away from the core leg muscles to the calves in the gym routine for beginners. Yes, I don’t technically consider calves as one of the core leg muscles, even though calves help you balance weights.
You can either use the seated calf raises machine or the standing calf raises machine, or you can use any step where you can have half of your foot dangling off the edge. Raise yourself up using only your calves and then let go until your ankle is below your toes. If you are not using any machine then you can hold a bit of dumbbell weights if it is very light.
Aim for 3 sets with 15 reps each.
So far, on the lower body of gym routine for beginners, we have not kept the variations less but the reps and sets fewer. The idea is to get used to the variations but not tire yourselves.
Exercise 8 – Bar Crunches/Crunches – Low to Medium Intensity
This and the following variations are going to be optional as far as we are in beginner stages and you can do more core variations our day 3 gym routine for beginners, or you can skip out on these completely. It all depends on how much life you have left in you.
For the bar crunches, hang from an open bar like you would for pull-ups. Pull your knees up to your chest. Make sure your body does not swing, you will need to control the movement using your elbows, legs and your body.
Aim for 15 reps and 3 sets.
Alternatively, go for regular crunches if you think you will not be able to manage bar crunches well. There is no hurry progressing, on step at a time. If you think you can do the bar crunches then go for it already, if you can’t, then let’s pave our way till we can do it, we are still on gym routine for beginners for a reason.
Exercise 9 – Criss Cross – Lay Down Exercise
Next up in gym routine for beginners, criss-cross variation. Lie down on the floor and put your hands behind your head. Lift your legs up from the floor. Now bring your right knee to your chest, and try to touch your left elbow to your right knee while keeping your left leg straight.
You won’t be able to touch your elbow with the knee but the bend in your body will create strain in your abdomen. Then do it with the other elbow and the knee and repeat. The criss-cross variation targets your entire abdomen and the obliques.
Aim for 15 reps on each elbow-knee and 2-3 sets of the variation
Exercise 10 – Plank – Up to 3 Minutes
After you are done with the two variations of abs and the entire list of leg variations you will feel a burning sensation in your abdomen. Now, this might sound like a really bad idea, but let’s make that burning sensation a bit more dominant. And what variation makes your abdomen burn with pain the most, plank. So, we are doing the plank.
Just hold your body up, balance your entire weight on your forearms and your toes and keep steady for a minute.
Let’s aim for 3 minutes spread across 3 sets.
That wraps up our variations for the day and you may walk out right now, if you can. But don’t forget to stretch your legs. There are many variations to stretch your legs. You can start with a few common ones, like the forward stretch, backward stretch, bent knee stretches. You will learn stretches as we move on with the Gym life. Also, if you feel like your legs hurt when you walk, you can walk on the treadmill for a few minutes to free up your leg movement. It helps more than it hurts.
Okay, Bros and Broettes, that is it for your first Leg Day, not technically but we did all of the leg variations. Be proud of yourself if you are walking back home today! Enjoy a fit and healthy life and follow Cannot Cardio for more fitness posts! Remember to Stay Awesome!