Running is a great form of exercise that can improve your health in all sorts of ways. From reducing your blood pressure to improving your cardiovascular fitness, running has all sorts of benefits to your health. But how good is it at building your leg muscles?
Don’t worry – we’ve got all the answers for you right here!
In this article, we’ll take you through everything there is to know about running’s benefits to your leg muscles – from whether or not it actually builds leg muscles, to how you can get the most out of your running.
So let’s get started, shall we?
Does Running Actually Build Leg Muscles?
First things first – does running actually help you build up your leg muscles? Absolutely!
Running works a lot of muscles in your legs, particularly the muscles in your thighs and calves. Because of this, running helps strengthen and tone your leg muscles.
On top of building up the muscles in your legs, running also improves your muscle definition and endurance.
Running is a form of aerobic exercise, meaning that it involves exercising over a longer period of time, as opposed to an anaerobic training session such as HIIT.. As a result, it provides a great workout for your lower body and legs which makes it great for building strength in your muscles.
Running mostly works out your quadriceps (the four muscles that make up the front of each of your thighs) and your hamstrings (which run along the backs of your calves).
By working these muscles, running improves your leg strength and endurance while also toning your legs and giving them better definition.
How Good Is Running At Building Up Your Legs?
But while running is a great form of exercise that works out the entirety of your legs, it isn’t really the best way to build up leg muscle. Despite the ways it works your leg muscles, running alone tends to make your legs leaner instead of bulking them out.
This is because it burns your leg fat and tightens the muscles there – this is why most runner’s legs are slimmer than people who specifically work out their legs to promote muscle growth.
Unlike exercises like squats and lunges, running focuses more on strengthening and enduring these muscles as opposed to improving their size.
Running alone won’t grow your muscles, and you’ll need to supplement it with other forms of exercise if you want to see any real improvement (though we’ll get to that later).
While it is a great way to strengthen your legs, improve your endurance, and give your legs more definition, these benefits will only boost your muscle growth so much.
Running is primarily a form of cardio and it offers the same advantages as other cardio exercises; if you’re looking to bulk out your legs, either combine it with leg-specific workouts or switch to these entirely.
With that being said, though, if you want to start building your leg muscles while also boosting your overall physical health, then running is a great way to go about this.
It offers plenty of benefits and gives you a great starting point for proper muscle growth, while also being a relatively low-intensity exercise that works out your whole body.
How To Get The Most Muscle Growth Out Of Running
So while running won’t make your legs particularly brawny, you can still use it to your advantage when trying to build up your leg muscles. Like we said before, supplementing your running with other forms of exercise will help you see great results.
Here are some handy tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of running:
1. Run Regularly
Like any form of exercise, you need to be training regularly in order to see good results. Running multiple times a week for an extended period will help you get the most out of your running and will give you the best muscle growth in your legs.
In general, you should be running at least three times a week for 20-30 minutes each time. Additionally, doing the proper warm-ups before you start running will give your legs even more strength and definition.
Make sure to stretch your legs properly before you run so the muscles are used to their full extent – this makes sure all your leg muscles are used and worked out to their full potential.
2. Do Leg-Specific Workouts
As we’ve covered already, combining running with exercises specifically used to build leg muscle will help you get the most growth possible. Squats, lunges, leg presses, and other similar workouts are designed to strengthen and bulk out your legs.
This has the added benefit of improving your running ability, which in turn makes these exercises easier and more beneficial. This creates a positive feedback loop where these workouts improve your running and vice versa, while both will help you build up your leg muscles.
3. Eat The Right Foods
The right diet is a key part of any exercise, and running is no exception. Knowing what to eat and what not to eat before running will give your legs the energy they need while you run and will bolster your muscle growth.
The most important foods when it comes to building muscle is protein; foods like white meat (such as chicken), beans, and eggs are great muscle-growers and will give your leg muscles the boost they need for growth while running.
For running in particular it’s also important to stay well-hydrated both before and during exercise. Drinking plenty of water will help your muscles work to their fullest and promote a healthy blood flow, which is necessary for good performance.
While running on its own might not be the best way to build up your leg muscles, it’s still a great form of exercise that gives your legs much more strength, endurance, and definition.
Combined with other forms of muscle-building exercises, running can be a great workout that promotes muscle growth in your legs.
Now all you need to do is put the handy tips in this guide to the test, and you’ll be able to see improvements in no time!