Leg day in the gym is a day like no other. When legs are trained effectively and intense, being tired is an understatement. The benefits that come from training legs when it comes to fat loss and even assisting in muscle growth all over the body is incomparable. In other words, leg day is not for the faint of heart. Maybe this is why there is a culture of people who avoid training legs and with that are missing out on a plethora of benefits.
However, with the intensity that is involved with training legs effectively, this does mean that some people are physically unable to “go hard” in the gym on leg day. Maybe numerous knee surgeries, bad back, hip problems, whatever the case may be, when it comes to training legs you use a lot of your body to do it right, so it is not that uncommon that some people are limited to what they can do.
How does one replace leg day? Let it be known that you cannot “replace” leg day. It is like its own holiday. It stands apart from the other “days” in the gym. But there is a hope to help make up some lost ground from not being able to train legs. Maybe you will not have tree trunks for legs, but you can avoid having toothpicks and shorts will no longer be your enemy.
You are wondering how, right?
You ready for the answer? (pause for effect)
Surprised? You are not the first.
Yes, riding an exercise bike or taking a spin class once or twice a week will actually help out with building up muscle in the legs. Sure, the purpose of riding an exercise bike is that of a cardiovascular one, but this is killing two birds with one stone. You are getting your cardio in and your leg building session in all-in-one.
How this is possible is the motion and resistance involved. If you ever look at long distance runners, they are very thin with thin legs. You ever looked at a cyclist and their legs? Their legs and calves are usually significantly larger than the rest of their body. This is because riding a bike is considered an anabolic (building or resistance) movement and running is catabolic (breaking down).
Due to the resistance involved in riding a bike and the zero impact, the leg muscles are worked in a way that mimics that in which resistance training with weights would do. The more resistance you ride with on a bike (uphill), the more of a workout of course you will get.
Also, riding an exercise bike (or even a regular bike) is safe and easy on the knees and back due to zero impact. It is also low impact on the hips as well. So, any past injuries or surgeries that have prevented you from getting under a squat bar in the past can no longer hold you down and prevent you from hitting those legs.
Replace leg day? You cannot do it, but you can save your legs from withering away by getting on a bike and riding. And as noted before, you are also taking care of that dreadful cardio at the same time.