Should You Run after Leg Day? (3 Exercises to Give Your Legs a Rest!)

Rest days are an important part of recovering and building your muscles. Is it okay to run after leg day?

You should avoid running after leg day to reduce your chance of injury. Recovery days are important for building your muscles and becoming a better athlete. Doing lower-impact exercise on your rest days would be best to stay active instead of running. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need about whether or not you should run after leg day. In addition, we will detail how running after leg day can increase your chance of injury and other negative aspects of this practice.

Is it ideal to run after leg day?

It’s not ideal to run after leg day because it can increase your chances of injury.

Runners can cause overuse injuries if they don’t take proper time off and relax on the rest days. 

Engaging in a high-impact exercise after your muscles are already worn out can also ruin your muscle development. If you don’t allow yourself time to let your muscles heal, they won’t grow back stronger like they’re supposed to. Rest days are a crucial part of rebuilding your muscle tissue.

Running after leg day can also put too much strain on yourself mentally. Rest days are important to relax your mind and body so you can fully recover. When you don’t allow time to relax, you wear yourself out and have difficulty engaging in other aspects of your life.

You’ll notice your performance decline if you don’t take time to rest after leg day. As a result, you don’t have the full range of motion to improve your speed or longevity while running. This performance decline is due to you not allowing yourself enough rest time and fatigue. 

Potential risks of running after leg day

There are several reasons running after leg day can be risky business.

Potential risks of running after leg day include:

  • Overuse injuries
  • Poor muscle development
  • Mental health issues
  • Declining performance

Below, we will go into more detail about these risks so that you understand why you should avoid running after leg day.

Overuse injuries 

Between 30 and 75% of runners suffer overuse injuries during exercise.

Overuse injuries happen when an athlete spends too much time repeating the same motion and damaging muscle tissue in that area.

Running is a high-impact exercise, so it’s not shocking that overuse injuries are common among professional runners. 

Poor muscle development

If you run after leg day, you’re not giving your body enough time to regrow its muscle tissue. Eventually, you’ll break down your muscle mass and won’t notice any improvement during your exercise regime.

Running is a high-impact exercise, so you must avoid it after leg day. However, you can do plenty of low-impact exercises to stay active without ruining your muscle tissue. 

Mental health issues

Exercise is supposed to improve your self-esteem and mood, but doing it too much can actually be detrimental.

When you spend too much time working out and not enough time resting, you’ll notice big changes in your mood and become fatigued.

It’s hard to find the right balance between running and resting so that you can have enough time to relax and focus on yourself. Running after leg day can impact your mental health negatively when you do it too often. 

Exercise can be addictive, and it’s easy to slip into bad exercise routines when you start running after your leg days. Fortunately, not many people get addicted to exercise, so you don’t have to worry about it if you’re not pushing yourself too hard. Only about 3% of people with an exercise routine fall into this addiction.

Declining performance

The main reason people push themselves too hard after leg day is if they want to see better performance; however, that approach can backfire.

You’ll notice your performance decline when you don’t give your body enough time to rest.

You may notice that you’re not running as fast as you used to, or you can’t go as far as you used to.

Is it better to run before or after a leg workout?

Choosing to run before or after a leg workout depends on your personal goals. 

For example, running before a leg workout would be best if you’re interested in building mass and muscle strength. Alternatively, if you’re interested in improving your running performance, you’ll want to run after a leg workout. 

It’s important to figure out your goals for your physique and performance before setting an exercise routine. Otherwise, you’ll waste time doing the wrong exercises at the wrong time and getting gains that you’re not interested in. 

What should I workout after leg day?

Even though running after leg day isn’t a good idea, you can do plenty of healthy workouts while resting your legs.

The following workouts can help you stay active without the risk of overdoing it:

  • Walking
  • Upper-body workouts
  • Yoga

Let’s look at each of these workouts.


Walking is a fantastic exercise to participate in on your rest days to stay active.

You can walk outdoors and hike if you’re looking for something slightly more intense, or you can walk indoors.

It’s important to listen to your body before you decide which exercise you participate in for the day. For example, if you’re in a lot of pain, it would be best to walk indoors instead of outdoors.

Upper-body workouts

You can safely exercise your upper body after a leg day without worrying about overuse injuries or deteriorating your muscles.

Intense upper-body workouts can include push-ups, weight training, pull-ups, or any other upper-body workout you want.

You should be fine if you’re not putting too much strain on your leg after leg day. 


You can do yoga on your rest days to stay active without ruining your muscle tissue.

Yoga is a low-impact exercise that can help you manage your weight and control your stress. 

This exercise is also fantastic if you want to reduce your daily stress. Yoga makes you focus on your breathing, and breath management is an excellent tool to keep your anxiety at bay.