Yes, you should run after leg day! And here is why:
When you run after an intense leg workout, you increase the blood circulation to your legs and help them recover faster. This will also reduce muscle soreness and aid in recovery.
Who doesn't want to recover faster after a heavy leg day and not experience that insane muscle soreness in their legs?
In this article, we will provide you with all the benefits, but also the drawbacks, of running after leg day. We also give you tips and help you through the process.
Benefits of Running After Leg Day
Running after leg day has many benefits, and we will cover them in this section. Not only does it help with recovery, but it can also improve your performance during the next leg day.
But here are the main reasons for running after leg day...
It can help you get better at burning fat.
Cardio is a good way to burn fat because it increases your metabolism. By increasing your metabolism, you are able to burn more calories throughout the day.
You lose fat faster, especially when combined with a gym workout.So when you do a gym session for your legs and finish that session with a running session, you will burn even more calories.
When you improve your performance and workout output, you will naturally be able to burn more calories.
What's more, burning more fat gives you an extra boost of energy, which makes you feel much better than if you just sat on the couch.
It speeds up your recovery from a hard workout.
So to run after a leg workout, you burn more calories, but at the same time, you also ensure that you recover thusly faster.
That's because by running, you improve the blood flow in your legs and therefore make sure, that the waste products that you built up during the leg workout are removed from the body faster.
This is absolutely the biggest benefit of running after your leg workout.
The muscle soreness you can get after a heavy leg workout is often very intense and can get in your way tremendously the next day and the day after.
Recovery after a leg workout usually takes 48 to 72 hours. If you go for a run after your workout, you can shorten your recovery period and thus regain 100% fitness faster and experience less annoying muscle soreness.
We called this recovery process "active recovery." This is a common method used by endurance athletes to alleviate muscle soreness the next day.
It’s good for your heart and lungs.
Running at a moderate intensity after a leg workout has been proven to be beneficial for your cardiovascular system. It improves your heart rate and makes your lungs work harder.
When you run after a leg workout, you are basically training your lungs to work harder and thus making sure they are ready for any kind of activity.
You also train your heart to pump more blood into your legs, which again means that your legs are getting enough oxygen.
Looking good and having big legs is one thing, but what's really important is how your heart and lungs perform.
That's actually what matters. To live a long and healthy life, you need to keep your heart and lungs fit.
And running after a leg workout is one of the best ways to achieve that goal.
It will improve your mood.
If you have an intense leg workout, you might feel like crap the next day. That's normal. But if you run after your leg workout, you will most likely feel much better than if you didn't run.
Your muscles will be pumped full of energy, and you will feel great.
You will also notice that you have a lot more energy and feel happier.
A good reason to put on your running shoes and go for a run after a leg workout.
It boosts your confidence.
By running after a leg workout, you boost your self-confidence. You know that you did a really good job and that you worked hard.
And that feeling of satisfaction is something that you just cannot describe.
Having an additional boost of confidence is always a good thing.
The reason behind this is simple: you did two hard things in one day. And when you do that, it feels amazing!
It builds up your posterior chain.
Your posterior chain consists of all the muscles that are located behind your knees. These muscles include your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and other smaller ones.
These muscles are responsible for supporting your entire body and keeping it stable. They also help you stand upright and walk properly.
Having a strong posterior chain is essential for every athlete.
But especially for runners who want to build their speed and strength.
Just imagine, would you like to see someone with a weak posterior chain? No way.
They look awkward and unstable.
Having strong legs, recovering them faster with running after a leg workout, and building up your posterior chain is something that every athlete should strive for.
Drawbacks of Running After Leg Day
When there are benefits, there must be drawbacks as well. We cover these drawbacks of running after leg day in this section. Not all drawbacks are applicable to everyone, though.
The list of drawbacks below is not sorted by importance or severity.
So don't worry about the order. Just read through the list and pick the ones that apply to you.
It can increase the risk of injury.
One thing that we want to mention here is that running after a leg workout can increase the risk of injury.
Your leg muscles have just finished a hard strength training session, so you need to listen carefully to your body. Don't push yourself too far because that can cause you to overwork your muscles.
When you overwork your muscles, tears can form in your leg muscles, causing you to be injured and unable to train at all for the next period of time to allow the muscles to recover.
So always listen to your body, if you feel any pain or like you can't go any further, please stop your workout.
It may be hard on your joints and muscles.
The biggest drawback of running after a leg workout is that it can be very hard on your joints and your muscles.
This is especially true when you cover longer distances.
In order to avoid joint problems, you should try to keep your distance short and focus on speed instead of distance.
Also, don't forget to do your stretching routine before and after every workout.
Depending on the type of leg workout you've done, you might need to stretch differently.
For example, if you've done a squat workout, you'll need to stretch your quads first.
If you've done some deadlifts, then you'll need to stretch the hamstrings first.
It does not matter if you are a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or runner, you will benefit from doing a stretching routine before and after each workout.
Your joints and muscles will thank you later.
It takes a lot of time to complete the whole workout.
Another big disadvantage of running after a leg day is that it takes a long time to complete the whole program.
First, you start with your strength session, which normally takes about 45 minutes in general.
You must run for at least 20 to 30 minutes.After that, it's recommended to stretch for 10 minutes.
So in total, you spend a lot of time on your full workout.
Other Than Running, What Should You Do After Leg Day?
So running is a good way to speed up your recovery process and burn more calories, but what are the alternatives when you don't have access to a treadmill or don't have time for cardio workouts?
Use massage gun
A massage gun can help you recover faster. So if you don't have any time left to do an aerobic activity after your heavy squat or other muscle leg workout, you should definitely make some time to recover your legs with the percussion massage gun.
One of the most effective ways to improve your recovery. This device helps stimulate circulation and relax the muscles.
Try a cold plunge.
An ice bath or a cold shower is another alternative to running after a leg workout. It works by lowering your body temperature and helping to reduce inflammation.
This technique is very popular among athletes who suffer from soreness after a tough workout.
This method doesn't require any equipment. You just fill up a big bucket with water and place it under a faucet. Turn off the faucet and let the cold water flow through your body.
Best of all, it only takes 10 minutes to get rid of the pain, and you won't even realize how much it helped you.
If you're looking for a quick fix to your leg soreness, try one of these methods.
Do compression therapy.
Compression therapy is an easy way to avoid muscle soreness and let you recover while relaxing. Yes, that sounds great, right?
Air compression therapy uses air pressure to apply gentle compression to the affected area. This massage therapy focuses solely on your legs, using air compression massage.
By using this method, you increase your blood flow and remove lactic acid in just 30 minutes.
You only have to put these air sleeves on, press the recovery mode button, and relax while recovering from your physical exercises.
You will benefit from the following recovery benefits: they directly increase the onset of muscle soreness, restore your muscle fiber, release tight muscles, and help you experience less pain the next day.
and that in only 30 minutes, instead of hours of recovery!
That's what we call faster recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it okay to run with sore legs?
No, because it increases the risk of injury. If you feel pain during exercise, then you need to stop immediately.
Running after a leg session is just advice. You only have to follow this advice if you have the feeling that your body's muscles can handle endurance training after your strength training exercises.
There is no reason to increase the risk of injury if it is not absolutely necessary.
Can running count as leg day in the gym?
Running is a cardiovascular workout that focuses entirely on your heart rate and endurance. Running is not a weightlifting exercise. So you can't count your running session as a leg day.
It's a different type of workout.
Squats and lunges are weighted leg exercises that focus on strength gains, whereas running focuses on muscular endurance.
These are different types of workouts, and they both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
So, if you want to gain more muscle mass, you should focus on strength training exercises.
But if you want to be able to perform longer without getting tired, you should focus on endurance training.
It's important to do both types of workouts regularly and combine them into one workout routine.
Will I lose muscle if I run after leg day?
No, you won't lose muscle mass if you run after your leg workout program.
You should use cardio after strength training just as a way to speed up your recovery process by having an active recovery session and to increase your ability to perform better the next day.
Muscle loss occurs when you overtrain or deprive your body of adequate rest and nutrition.
In conclusion, there are many ways to prevent muscle soreness and reduce the impact of leg day.
By engaging in cardiovascular activity like running after your leg day, you can speed up your recovery. But never do this if your legs feel sore, as this increases the risk of getting injured.
Use it as a bonus activity rather than a requirement!