5 Day Workout Split With 2 Leg Days

Man does leg press, part of the Gym Geek's workout routine with 2 leg days
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Many of us follow a workout routine where we train our upper bodies 2-4 times each week. Yet, it’s common to only train our legs once. The legs are the largest muscle group in your body, and it is true they normally need extra time to recover. But could you benefit from adding 2 leg days to your routine?

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Training your legs twice per week can stimulate more muscle growth in your lower body, as well as improve your balance and athletic performance. Being the largest muscle group, training your legs with greater frequency can also be beneficial for burning calories. This can help you lose weight (burn fat) or increase the overall muscle mass in your body.

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It’s important to plan your workout routine carefully. You need to allow adequate recovery time between workouts to avoid overtraining. In this article, we have two 5 day workout splits both with 2 leg days. They are based on our 5 day ULPPL and 5 day PPL split routines.

Benefits of 2 leg days in your workout split

Muscle growth

Adding 2 leg days to your workout split can significantly increase the rate of muscle growth. This is because your leg muscles, made up of your quads, hamstrings and glutes in particular, are some of the largest muscles in your body. Hitting these muscles with a higher frequency means you are stimulating a greater volume of muscle through the week. This ultimately results in you building more muscle mass.

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Lower body balance

Building stronger muscles in your legs is key to developing balance skill in your lower body. Working your legs twice per week can help you develop your legs evenly. Stronger leg muscles can also boost your performance in other exercises, as well as sport and other activities.

Weight loss and calorie burn

A 5 day split with 2 leg days is a great option if your goal is to lose weight. Given the sheer muscle mass you have in your legs, working them demands a great deal of energy. This energy is made by burning calories, both during and in the hours and days after your workout. Using 2 leg days to burn additional calories will help accelerate your weight loss goal.

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Athletic performance

Working your legs regularly will strengthen your lower body, providing extra power and stability. If you take part in sports, particularly those involving running or jumping, stronger legs and improve your performance.

Key leg muscles

Your legs are made up of the largest muscles in your body.

Quads

Diagram showing quadriceps muscles

Your quads (quadriceps) are the muscles at the front of your thighs. Their function is to straighten your knee from the bent position, and they help stabilize your knee joint. Your quads help in exercises like climbing, walking, running and jumping.

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Glutes

Diagram showing the glutes

Your glutes are made up of three muscles in your buttock. They produce hip extension (moving your leg back), rotation and hip abduction (moving your leg out to the side), as well as provide stability to your upper body when you stand. Your glutes are key muscles in propelling your body forwards, jumping and heavy lifting.

Hamstrings

Diagram showing the hamstrings

Your hamstrings are made up of three muscles – the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. Together, these muscles allow your leg to bend about the knee and assist in hip extension. Strong hamstrings are beneficial in everyday activities like walking, running and jumping.

Calves

Diagram showing the calf muscle

Your calf muscles are in turn made up of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. These muscles are essential in walking, running and jumping and provide balance and stability. When you take the tiptoe position, your calf muscles contract to pull up your heels (pointing your foot downwards, i.e. plantar flexion), shifting your bodyweight onto the ball of your foot.

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Both the gastrocnemius and soleus are connected to your heel bone via the Achilles tendon. This tendon transfers the power of your calf muscle to flex about your ankle and move your foot downwards. Walking, running and jumping all involve your calf muscles contracting, which pulls on the Achilles tendon, pulling up your heel and pushing it off the ground.

Inner and outer abductors

The inner abductors are a group of muscles located on your inner thighs. Their function is to pull your legs towards the centerline of your body. This movement is known as adduction.

Your outer abductors are situated on the outer side of your hips. Their function is to move your legs away from the centerline of your body. This movement is known as abduction.

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5 day PPL split with 2 leg days

Day 1 – Push

Day 2 – Pull

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Day 3 – Legs

Day 4 – Rest day

Day 5 – Push/Pull

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Day 6 – Legs

Day 7 – Rest day

Woman rests on a sofa

5 day ULPPL split with 2 leg days (one lower body + one leg)

Day 1 – Upper Body

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Day 2 – Lower Body

Day 3 – Rest day

Day 4 – Push

Day 5 – Pull

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Day 6 – Legs

Day 7 – Rest day


Key leg exercises

Deadlift

Man performs a deadlift, a recommended exercise in the back and biceps workout

Why: The deadlift works your entire posterior chain, including your glutes, hamstrings and lower back. The exercise also engages your core, traps, quads and forearms. 4 sets of 4 reps means you are focusing on lifting heavy weights with low reps, which is ideal for building strength and power, rather than endurance or hypertrophy.

How to do: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing forwards. Position the barbell with your toes underneath the bar, with your shins almost touching the bar. With proper form, squat down towards the barbell. With your knees slightly bent, hinge at your hips and sit back. Bend forward at your wait, reach forward and grip the barbell. Lift by pushing upwards with your legs, keeping the bar close to your body and your chest up. Straighten up to complete the lift, lockout, then lower the bar back to the floor, pushing your hips back, bending your knees and keeping them inline with your feet.

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Read more: How to Do a Deadlift

Barbell squats

Barbell squats

Why: Barbell squats are a key lower-body strength training exercise. The squat is a compound exercise that hits your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Start with a light weight in your first week, and see if you can gradually increase the weight by week 5.

How to do: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a barbell resting on your upper back. Keep your chest up and brace your core. Bend your knees and bend forward at your hips as you lower your body as far as possible while maintaining a straight back. Do not let your knees drift forwards past your toes. Finally, push through your heels to stand straight back up to the starting position.

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Read more: How to Do Barbell Squats


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