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An extreme workout typically means pushing your muscles to exhaustion, meaning the point at which they have no additional energy to complete another repetition. This kind of workout can be an effective way to encourage muscle growth and also increase your strength. When performed too frequently and without adequate time to allow your muscles to recover, however, extreme workouts can lead to injury, reduced flexibility and decreased gains in strength. Understanding the fine line between extreme workouts that encourage leg strength and those that cause your leg muscles to weaken is the key to maximum benefits.
Muscle Exhaustion and Leg Strength
Muscular exhaustion can lead to a state in which the muscle fibers deteriorate, increasing the risk of injury. In addition, muscle overuse can cause smaller muscle groups within the large muscles of your legs to become overfatigued. Muscles can be expected to break down after an intense workout; however, performing these kinds of exercises too frequently can cause a stress response that leads to release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol can create a catabolic state within your muscles that leads to the breakdown of protein.
Supplements to Support Leg Strength
If you regularly engage in extreme workouts, using nutritional supplements may help your muscles recover faster. According to a research study published in the June 2010 edition of the "International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism," individuals who used a branched-chain amino acid supplement prior to engaging in squat exercises appeared to recover faster and reported less muscle injury. In addition to amino acids, recovery may also be enhanced by the consumption of protein supplements, which also provide amino acids that your muscles use to repair muscle tissue.
Leg Wraps and Leg Strength
Using a form of compression, in the form of an elastic sports bandage, compression stockings or compression shorts, may enhance the flow of blood to your legs. After extreme workouts, this may improve your ability to recover from small muscle tears that are commonly experienced with high-intensity exercises. A 2010 study published in the "European Journal of Applied Physiology" found that the application of lower limb compression was associated with decreased time for muscle recovery as well as reduction in reported soreness. The researchers suggest that the application of a compression garment may encourage auxiliary blood flow to focus closer to the core of the muscles, adding nutrients and oxygen that can elicit healing.
Frequency and Intensity of Leg Workouts
The frequency and intensity of your extreme leg workout will be affected in part by your current level of fitness, nutritional intake, genetic tendencies and time constraints. According to Bodybuilding.com, most individuals respond well to a high-intensity extreme workout every five days. This includes training your leg muscles to complete failure and using a spotter if necessary to "cheat" an additional repetition after failure. The amount of time required for your muscles to recover is also a factor that can influence the quality of your leg strength after an extreme workout. The need for leg muscle recovery, however, does not imply that you can't use other days of the week to engage other muscle groups through weight training or cardiovascular exercise.