Don't Skip Leg Day - Part III: A Cause for Change
Fast forward a few months.
I had been doing legs two or three times per month, thinking I was really making up some ground in the lower half. One afternoon, I was in the middle of a phenomenal arm workout one sophomore year. As I bent down to change the cable extension from the tricep position to bicep position, I felt a weird sensation in my right knee. As I bent down further, it felt like something was pulling in and around my knee cap. I instantly stood up and tried to shake it off. For the rest of the workout I stayed as vertical as possible, but I knew something was wrong. Later that night it began to swell and I ended up going to see a doctor. Long story short, I had hyperextended my knee at some point, and would subsequently get it drained and be on crutches for a couple weeks. As anyone who enjoys being active can relate, injury is one of the hardest situations to get over both physically and mentally – we’ve actually talked about this at length in: 5 Mistakes You Are Making When Injured
As I sat in the car on the ride back to campus, I replayed the events of the past few months in my head over and over again to try and figure out how I ended up with this injury (seemingly out of nowhere). I couldn’t think of any specific event, and that’s when it started to dawn on me – everything leading up to this injury was a cause. My legs were weak compared to the rest of my body. Years of no training or undertraining coupled with added upper body weight mixed to form a recipe for disaster.
The injury I suffered was a blessing in disguise. It put a mandatory hold on working out for a short time period, but also came with the requirement of nursing my leg(s) back to health. I was reinvigorated with motivation to rebuild my body – specifically my legs - into the strongest, most functional frame I could. Almost overnight, my mindset of ‘getting big’ converted to becoming as functionally athletic as possible. Working towards improving athletically seemed like the best way to not only utilize strength gains efficiently, but prevent injury. As I worked to rehab my knee, it became strong enough to get off crutches. I began to put the new fitness plan in motion. Phase 1: getting my legs caught up to my upper body. As soon as phase 1 was in progress, I started to realize all of the other benefits incorporating real, consistent leg workouts would have on the rest of my body and my overall progress.
Be on the lookout for the final, and most beneficial, part of 'Don't Skip Leg Day', where we'll discuss some of the incredible benefits incorporating legs into your fitness schedule can have on your body.