I LOVE leg day(s) – they are definitely the most exhausting workouts of the week, but…I love them.
I know perfectly well that “no pain, no gain” doesn’t completely hold water but…I’m “one of those”! I like to feel the soreness because it indicates I’ve actually done something worthwhile. (Zero soreness? Sorry, I didn’t put the effort in!)
I generally do HIIT sprints on the treadmill the same mornings I have leg workouts – it is a lot, but I balance it out with days of active rest, or Martial Arts training and less stressful lifting.
My routine can vary but I do have a few favorite “staples” like squats, deadlifts, and leg press – I mix it up so I have both “heavy hitter” exercises, with less heavy-duty supplemental ones. I also generally add abs in there at the end…
The other day, though, our Smith Machine broke… It’s funny because I know a lot of fitness gurus who might well have gone to pieces! Can’t do a staple you are used to doing, and suddenly the world ends! (Do you know the type?!)
Well…it SHOULDN’T. Changing things up, even if we are forced while the equipment is down, isn’t a bad thing… (I don’t do free bar squats because I have one reconstructed knee, and one missing an ACL – the Smith offers a security my physiology does well with!)
So my regular squats were out, as were my single leg lunges on the Smith. End all be all?
I supplemented the workout with Goblet Squats (using a kettlebell), extra dumbbell curtsey lunges, and weighted walking lunges (love these!)
It was a nice change because sometimes by the time I’m done with cardio, I just want to plow through my “regulars.” The forced change offered me the opportunity to jump to a few other exercises, equally as effective, that kept my body guessing.
So if change indeed DOES occur, especially the unexpected kind…just embrace it and do something you haven’t done in a while. Your body will actually appreciate the alteration and give you some lovely gains in return! 🙂