The REAL Reason Why People Call You Out on Having Chicken Legs (2016)
One thing that is extremely common in the lifting world is the typical scenario where you would walk into a commercial gym and see somebody who has chicken legs. Usually this person won’t put that much emphasis on his/her lower body and will focus a lot on the upper body. On the other hand, you have other individuals who actually do train their lower bodies hard, but people still call them out on having chicken legs, why is that?
The basic answer to this is that just because you are training your lower body hard it doesn’t mean that your lower body will automatically look big. For your lower body to look bigger than it actually is and for you to look like you are carrying a lot of muscle mass, you NEED to develop 3 specific muscles in your lower body and if you develop them properly then NOBODY will ever call you out on having chicken legs.
Here they are:
THE ESSENTIAL MUSCLES NEEDED FOR BIGGER LEGS ARE:
2. OUTER QUAD SWEEP
In my last article on forearms, I talked about how its always the muscles in the outer extremities of the upper body that make you look bigger than life. These muscles were the neck, traps, upper back, shoulders and forearms. Those are the muscle groups in the upper body that literally “pop” out and make you appear a lot bigger.
Well if you want to get a bigger lower body then you have to apply the same philosophy. If you look at the anatomy photo of the lower body above you can see that its the glutes that really give you that size from the side and view. From the front view its really the outer quad sweep that gives that illusion of size as well. Finally, the calves are on the outer extremities of the legs and are just like the forearms of the lower body so they must be developed.
Below I will explain each one of these muscle groups in a bit more detail so that you could really get it in your head that these are the MUST-HAVE muscle groups needed to having a bigger lower body and never be in the chicken legs club again.
Did you know that the glutes are actually the biggest muscle in the human body? If you didn’t know then now you know and it makes a lot of sense too because the glutes seem to have that popping effect that is very hard to ignore (especially when they are developed). Out of all 3 muscle groups on this list I would say that the glutes are the most important for giving your lower body that size.
One of the other main reasons why glutes make your lower body appear so big is because when they are developed they make your pants/short size go up automatically more than any other muscle group. If you wear size 34 jeans around the waist and you really take the time to developing your glutes to the point where you are wearing size 38 jeans around the waist then you will know that you are on the right track.
Another thing about looking big is that you need to look big from every angle and the glutes are hard to ignore from pretty much every angle except for the front so they are very important.
Some people say that you shouldn’t try to get your glutes too big because if they get too large then they will start to overshadow your quads, but I personally think that a big ass just looks bad-ass. It makes you look like you are a gorilla walking around in clothes and it has a commanding powerful presence.
My go-to exercises for building bigger glutes are:
-Deadlift Variations (Sumo Deadlift, Rack Pull, Sumo RDL, trap bar deadlift..etc)
-Squat Variations (Box squats, sumo squats…etc)
-Single leg Work (BSS, reverse lunges, step ups)
-Hip Thrusts (bilateral, single leg and/or with bands)
OUTER QUAD SWEEP
The outer quad sweep is very important as well because its the outside/lateral part of the quad that just sticks out, its the meaty part of the quad. Outer sweep will make your thighs look absolutely huge. It will make your thighs look so big and that’s why certain old school bodybuilders from the 50s would train very carefully to not develop the outer sweep too much because if its too big then it takes away from your lat width and give you the X-taper physique instead of the V-taper. Just like the glutes, the outer sweep will get your pants/short size up as well (although not as much as the glutes, but its definitely second place).
My favorite ways to develop the outer quad sweep is simply by doing close stance work. By close stance work I am referring to Squats and Leg Presses with your heels close to each other. If you do those two lifts with this slight modification I can almost guarantee you that you will feel a unique soreness in your outer sweep the next day that you have never felt before!
Lastly we got the calves. The calves are part of the outer extremities of the lower body and are kind of what I like to call the forearms of the lower body and they are extremely important. If you have small calves and you are wearing shorts then forget about ever looking like you train your legs because although the glutes create that mass, you still need to cover the lower extremities of the legs. The calves have a way of making your legs look like they are carrying a lot of muscle mass.
For example, the person with 24 inch thighs and 18 inch calves will ALWAYS look like they have better legs than somebody with 27 inch thighs and 15 inch calves. When people see you with shorts their eyes are going to try to scan all of the imperfections and if you are wearing shorts with small calves then you are basically screwed.
Its funny because one of my good buddies used to Squat 500lb for reps and people would call him out on having chicken legs and they were accusing him of skipping leg day because he had 14 inch calves.
Another good example of this would be the actor Jason Statham. He doesn’t have the biggest thighs, but the fact that his calves are over 16 inches makes his legs look a lot more impressive as a whole.
So the moral of the story is that you need to train those calves and make them a priority if you want to get rid of your chicken legs card.
My personal favorite exercises for building up the calves are below:
•Standing calf raise variations
•Donkey Kong calf raises
•Seated Calf raise variations
So there you have it, if you follow these recommendations then I guarantee you that you will NEVER be called chicken legs again because you will have developed the key muscle groups. Remember to get those gigantic glutes, outer sweep and calves and your lower body will be transformed for the better.