“Never skip leg day” is a common sentiment in the world of fitness. While you don’t want to miss an opportunity to strengthen your foundation, sometimes spending leg day inside a gym can get repetitive and boring. If you want to switch up your gym routine while still getting a good leg workout in, we’ve got you covered.
The calf muscles provide most of the raw power behind explosive movements like jumping, running, and kicking. When our calves are pulled or strained, it can quickly sap your strength and reduce your mobility. To keep these muscles strong, we often devote a day, infamously known as “leg day,” to training our lower body with muscle-building exercises like box jumps, calf raises, and calf presses.
However, a gym membership isn’t required to help you build a strong lower body. And even if you have one, you may be ready to shake up your routine.
Below are just a few of our favorite outdoor workouts that can be great gym substitutes for leg day.
Spending Leg Day Outdoors
While these fun activities can help break you out of a training rut, sometimes jumping into a new workout can also lead to injuries. If pain does occur, our providers are here to help you learn more about your injury and give you the tools needed to address problems as they appear.
Go on a Hike. Hiking is a great activity for building a strong lower body. You may also notice your endurance improve as you go on more hikes and take on longer trails. The higher the incline, the harder your muscles will work to get you to your destination. Remember to take a camera or phone with you to take some pictures of the scenery!
Jump Some Rope. If you want to enjoy an outdoor leg workout but would prefer to stay closer to home, try skipping rope. All you need is a good length of rope or jump rope from a sporting goods store and a wide-open space. Not only is jump rope great for cardiovascular exercise, but it can also help improve coordination and balance while strengthening your calves.
Hit the Skate Park. Whether you prefer inline or traditional skates, roller skating is a sport that relies heavily on lower body engagement. Once you’ve mastered the basics, challenge yourself by joining a skate group, practicing new tricks, or even trying some new dance moves!
Go for a Bike Ride. While bike riding is a sport that does require more equipment than other outdoor activities, it’s also considered an ideal low-impact workout for people who need to go easy on their joints. Don’t let its status as a low-impact sport fool you, though. Biking can be a tough exercise that tests your stamina, endurance, and muscle strength. To really feel your legs burn, try biking uphill.
Try Outdoor Yoga. Leg day doesn’t always have to be a high-energy sweat session. If you want to spend your workout outdoors but would rather focus on mobility and stability, try some outdoor yoga. Doing yoga regularly has many benefits, including stress relief, balance, mobility, and stability. Muscles that are balanced and flexible are more likely to withstand the stress and pressure from other more intense workouts.
Focus on Post-Workout Recovery
Your leg muscles, specifically your quads and calves, can become extremely tight and sore after a tough leg day workout. This built up tension can leave you vulnerable to injuries and pain. To help improve leg flexibility and reduce your risk of injury, practice warming up and cooling down between workouts.
A good warmup routine typically includes a few dynamic stretches and light cardio to get your muscles warmed up and ready to go. A proper cooldown routine with static stretches will help bring your heart rate down steadily and help reduce post-workout soreness. You can also check out our mobility video below for quick, easy stretches that you can do anywhere to help reduce calf stiffness and pain.
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor. ⠀
Kick Pain to the Curb
At Airrosti, our providers aim to find and treat the underlying cause of your pain. With hands-on manual therapy, combined with individualized active rehab exercises, patients see complete injury resolution in an average of 3 visits, based on patient-reported outcomes. We also take time to educate our patients on their injury while giving them the tools and resources they need to help boost their recovery.
If pain has been keeping you from enjoying your workouts, schedule an appointment with Airrosti today. We offer both in-office and virtual appointments to best suit your needs.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.