Do you need a "leg day" if you do high resistance elliptical?

batorkin
batorkin Posts: 281 Member
I lift 2-3 times a week but I've been skipping "leg day" because I always do 30 minutes of high resistance running on an elliptical instead (almost daily). I don't use my arms much on it, so my legs get a really good burn/workout.

Will this result in "skinny legs" but big upper body in the long run? My goal isn't to be buff, just toned with an athletic look.
«13

Replies

  • timtam163
    timtam163 Posts: 509 Member
    Resistance training will probably preserve/build more muscle than longer-slower cardio, but less than bodyweight/resistance training. It's all relative to what you're doing/your body type/your goals.
  • batorkin
    batorkin Posts: 281 Member
    edited November 2017
    timtam163 wrote: »
    Resistance training will probably preserve/build more muscle than longer-slower cardio, but less than bodyweight/resistance training. It's all relative to what you're doing/your body type/your goals.

    So if I am looking just to have a toned "non-skinny fat" build, resistance training my legs should be fine? I think it only looks weird when you got huge upper body muscles with no leg muscles and I don't plan to bulk.
  • blakeym
    blakeym Posts: 97 Member
    Neve been a leg day fan, but unfortunately, running, cycling or elliptical wont give you the balanced look you probably want.
  • batorkin
    batorkin Posts: 281 Member
    edited November 2017
    blakeym wrote: »
    Neve been a leg day fan, but unfortunately, running, cycling or elliptical wont give you the balanced look you probably want.

    The main problem is I live rural. It's 40 minutes to the nearest gym, so I bought my own set of weights and equipment. I only have a bunch of dumbbells for weight training, and squats really hurt my knees (not in a good way). I am not really sure how to include my legs with the equipment I have.

    I've been loading up 50 pounds in each arm (typical farmer's carry), and going up and down 1 step over and over which is about the only thing I can do that doesn't hurt my knees. My arms give out before my legs though.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,859 Member
    Cardio with resistance doesn't result in skinny legs - but it doesn't do a great deal for big legs either.
    If you are aiming for something in the middle ground then it's probably appropriate for your athletic look goals but.....
    You won't get much benefit from doing the same thing time after time. You could alternate rather than do elliptical "almost daily".
  • batorkin
    batorkin Posts: 281 Member
    edited November 2017
    sijomial wrote: »
    Cardio with resistance doesn't result in skinny legs - but it doesn't do a great deal for big legs either.
    If you are aiming for something in the middle ground then it's probably appropriate for your athletic look goals but.....
    You won't get much benefit from doing the same thing time after time. You could alternate rather than do elliptical "almost daily".

    Right now I am still losing weight, which is my main goal. I just don't want to lose it and end up having no muscle left over, so I am lifting and doing resistance cardio to help minimize loses.

    I don't have access to a gym in my rural town, and I can't afford to buy an entire home gym. Right now my workout consist of an elliptical and a bunch of dumbbells, but I have no extra money right now to buy any additional equipment.

  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,859 Member
    tyrindor wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    Cardio with resistance doesn't result in skinny legs - but it doesn't do a great deal for big legs either.
    If you are aiming for something in the middle ground then it's probably appropriate for your athletic look goals but.....
    You won't get much benefit from doing the same thing time after time. You could alternate rather than do elliptical "almost daily".

    Right now I am still losing weight, which is my main goal. I just don't want to lose it and end up having no muscle left over, so I am lifting and doing resistance cardio to help minimize loses.

    I don't have access to a gym in my rural town, and I can't afford to buy an entire home gym. Right now my workout consist of an elliptical and a bunch of dumbbells, but I have no extra money right now to buy any additional equipment.

    My situation is similar to a degree in that I do a lot of resistance cardio (cycling in my case) but I'm very limited on being able to strength train my legs due to knee and spinal injuries plus I need recovery time from my cycling Garmin told me 53 hours recovery after today's fairly extreme indoor cycling training session!). I can't lunge at all and can't squat or deadlift with any testing amount of weight.

    Think of people who do resistance cardio such as rowers, swimmers, cyclists (but not extreme distance cyclists before someone goes off at a tangent assuming that all cyclists look like Tour de France winners!) - if that matches your physique goal then you are fine.

    Still don't think same thing daily is a good idea - your performance will plateau and there's no recovery. An hour alternate days would do more for you than 30 minutes daily.

    My old man cyclist legs - not skinny, not big either.
    1zkozp1lyz6r.jpg

    By the way there's good bodyweight routines around and if you can discover why squats hurt you and remedy that they are a great exercise.
  • timtam163
    timtam163 Posts: 509 Member
    edited November 2017
    tyrindor wrote: »
    blakeym wrote: »
    Neve been a leg day fan, but unfortunately, running, cycling or elliptical wont give you the balanced look you probably want.

    The main problem is I live rural. It's 40 minutes to the nearest gym, so I bought my own set of weights and equipment. I only have a bunch of dumbbells for weight training, and squats really hurt my knees (not in a good way). I am not really sure how to include my legs with the equipment I have.

    I've been loading up 50 pounds in each arm (typical farmer's carry), and going up and down 1 step over and over which is about the only thing I can do that doesn't hurt my knees. My arms give out before my legs though.

    Then gym exercises might not feel much better on your knees. Do what you can without pain, and see a doctor if it gets worse.

    You can also try lunges, side lunges, wall sits... you can also try strengthening the surrounding muscles with resistance bands to hit the hip flexors and hip abductors and other stabilizing muscles.
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,841 Member
    edited November 2017
    Try goblet squats with dumbbells. I have wonky knees and goblet squats shift my balance enough not to hurt them. There are a bunch of different lunge / squat / deadlift variants you can do with what you have and some might be okay for you. Straight legged deadlifts don't use your knees but target your hams and glutes - they would be tricky to do with dumbbells but you could probably use one, sort of like a kettle bell swing.
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,841 Member
    Looked it up and it seems you can do Romanian deadlifts with dumbbells - like this:

    https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/romanian-deadlift-with-dumbbells
  • trigden1991
    trigden1991 Posts: 4,659 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    If you really want optimal results you need access to a barbell and learn proper form for compound lifts.

    People who claim their knees hurt other than some injuries can squat at parallel with good form if you can walk and sit on a toilet with little to no pain eventually. The pain usually is a result from terrible form and lack of practice.

    I guy I've coached lifting for the past year would never squat because he claimed knee pain prevented him. He just squatted over 465lbs a few hours ago in his first meet. Results can be had if you work a plan.

    I haven’t squatted for nearly 3 years now and rarely use the leg press but I have good leg development. It’s all about hitting volume/frequency/intensity on the moves you do.
  • jedicookie1
    jedicookie1 Posts: 1 Member
    Since you have free weights and a cardio machine that you enjoy using daily, as well as pain during leg day, might Harley Pasternak's Five Factor Fitness be an option? It came out about 10 years ago, but the science still appears sound. Rather than a "leg day", it divides weight work into 5 days, each with a specific arm, core, and leg target. The rest periods and meals are little gimmicky, and there's next to nothing about dynamics or static stretching, but speaking only for myself, the workout never bothered my loose knee as much as a dedicated leg day does.
  • PAFC84
    PAFC84 Posts: 1,869 Member
    tyrindor wrote: »
    blakeym wrote: »
    Neve been a leg day fan, but unfortunately, running, cycling or elliptical wont give you the balanced look you probably want.

    The main problem is I live rural. It's 40 minutes to the nearest gym, so I bought my own set of weights and equipment. I only have a bunch of dumbbells for weight training, and squats really hurt my knees (not in a good way). I am not really sure how to include my legs with the equipment I have.

    I've been loading up 50 pounds in each arm (typical farmer's carry), and going up and down 1 step over and over which is about the only thing I can do that doesn't hurt my knees. My arms give out before my legs though.

    Are you squatting to parallel or slightly lower? I find that stops the knees hurting
  • LiftHeavyThings27105
    LiftHeavyThings27105 Posts: 2,104 Member
    edited November 2017
    I totally <kittened> my left knee my sophomore year in high school Football. Did not do squats after that. Fast forward 30+ years I am doing squats (and dead lifts) and absolutely loving it. In fact, I would suggest that my knee is WAY BETTER now than it was before I started squatting. I am pretty much go *kitten*-to-the-grass!

    Key is to find and maintain proper form and do not engage in ego-lifting.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,974 Member
    Your choice.

    Ellipitical will NOT develop your leg strength the way that doing squats and/or deadlifts and/or other quad, ham and/or glute lifts will.

    If your goal is general fitness and conditioning, the elliptical is fine. If you want to get stronger and more muscular, exercising on the elliptical alone will not be enough.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,090 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    If you really want optimal results you need access to a barbell and learn proper form for compound lifts.

    People who claim their knees hurt other than some injuries can squat at parallel with good form if you can walk and sit on a toilet with little to no pain eventually. The pain usually is a result from terrible form and lack of practice.

    I guy I've coached lifting for the past year would never squat because he claimed knee pain prevented him. He just squatted over 465lbs a few hours ago in his first meet. Results can be had if you work a plan.

    I haven’t squatted for nearly 3 years now and rarely use the leg press but I have good leg development. It’s all about hitting volume/frequency/intensity on the moves you do.

    I was referring to optimal results, not just good.

    Good can be had without squatting or deadlifting obviously.