Now that you know what chicken leg syndrome is from the previous post, I’ll outline the ways to ACTUALLY get rid of them. The exercises described here are ones that started to work for myself (6′ 2” sky scraper – long legs are hard work) so if you are shorter than that, i am sure your results will start to show a lot quicker than mine did. Just remember, like i’ve said before, it won’t be easy unless you already have a relatively good foundation to already build on. So follow the below and keep at it.
Note: I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but please…STRETCH before you do these exercises. If you don’t, feel free to let me know the outcome. 🙂
- Quadriceps (the front of the thigh)
- Hamstrings (the back of the thigh)
- Abductors (the butt muscles)
- Adductors (the inner thigh)
This exercise helped me go from a size 34 to 36 in trouser size (not wearing a belt). This exercise works the quads and can be done using a machine in the gym.
Select an appropriate weight and load the machine. If you have not used this machine before, you may have to experiment with the amount of weight selected.
- Extend your legs as far as possible, without locking your knees.
- Keep your ankles and lower leg muscles relaxed (don’t point your toes) when lifting the weight to avoid straining the muscles on the back of the leg. Each leg can also be exercised separately.
Lunges (with dumb bells)
This was a classic ‘give me pain for days’ exercise back in the early training days. I would do lunges (without weights) up to 30-40 metres down a track and by the last 10 metres my legs would seize up. You don’t need a track and you can do these in the gym. This exercise is great for building your butt.
Finding some dumb bells. (start with light weights)
- Lock the dumb bells to your side (straight armed)
- Now step forward with one foot with your feet being around 2 feet apart.
- Make sure to have your front leg flat on the floor with both your set of toes pointing forward.
- Proceed by bending your legs until both your knees are at 90 degree angles.
- Now push back up to starting position.
I call this the all rounder ‘trademark’ exercise, as it works most of the muscles in your legs (especially the butt). This exercise used to scare me when i first started out and still does to an extent. I would recommend having some one spot or support you for this (or start with dumb bell squats) because if you fall, it could be real nasty!
Lay the bar in front of you.
- Lift the bar
- Rest a barbell on your shoulders (behind your head) with your feet ‘shoulder width’ apart
- Keep your back straight, bend your knees and lower your body towards the floor. You should go as low as you can without lifting your heels off the floor and without bending forward at the waist.
Leg curls (laying down)
I might have joked about the ‘not stretching’ situation earlier. But no playing with this exercise… STRETCH. If you’ve watched any form of performance sport over the years you may have seen how a hamstring injury has put those individuals out of action for some time. I’ve luckily only suffered from cramp from not stretching. Decrease the levels of salt in your diet. Never the less this is a great exercise for building the back of your legs.
Find a machine and lay on your front.
- Bend your leg at the knee and curl the weight towards your butt.
- Keep the upper portion of your leg still and your butt muscles relaxed.
- Lower your legs to the starting position
- Gastrocnemius (The top part of the lower leg. Known to most as ‘The calf ‘)
- Soleus (Building this makes the back of your lower leg wider)
There are a few calf raise exercises out there and different people will see different results from each type. But out of all the calf raise exercises these are the ones that i saw the best results from.
Standing dumb bell Calf Raise
- Hold dumbbells in one in each hand or one at a time.
- Position toes and balls of feet on calf block with arches and heels extending off.
- Place hand on support for balance. Lift other leg to rear by bending knee.
- Raise heels by extending ankles as high as possible.
- Lower heels by bending ankles until calves are stretched. Repeat.
- Continue with opposite leg.
Machine Calf Raise (standing or seated)
- Select an appropriate weight and load the machine. If you have not used this machine before, you may have to experiment with the amount of weight selected.
- Understand how the release mechanism works before loading the weights.
- Sit on the calf raise machine with feet resting on the foot support.
- Adjust the bench so that the knees are snug under the pad.
- Brace the abdominals and remember to breathe out on execution and in on recovery.
All of the above exercises have given me desired results at some point or another, but i would suggest that you mix up the exercises a little week by week/ day by day or which ever suits you best (will leave that till another post). If in doubt when you are at the gym….ASK!
For those that workout at home, I’m not going to bother outline home workout methods for legs. Quite simply because you’re not going to get any real significant body changing results. Now go get that gym membership, follow the above and put some meat on those bones!
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This is a thing that affects most men (myself included). You know, legs as wide as your ankles 😮 . I may have been blessed in the high metabolism department, but because of that, i grew up suffering from what i call ‘ The chicken legs syndrome‘.
What is the chicken legs syndrome?
It may not be as drastic as having legs as wide as your ankles (well it is for him >>), but it is legs that are skinny enough to drive that nagging fear of not wanting to wear shorts in the months leading up to summer, or fear of wearing lycra if you’re an upcoming athlete. Of course some athletes like 100/200m runners get away with it, as a ‘model’ 100/200m runner would have skinny lower legs muscles, but very high and powerful calf muscles (which gives them the very much needed short bursts of energy).
Most guys that do go to the gym won’t have too many problems building their upper body muscles. But the leg muscles are a much larger muscle group than those up above, and they require much more work if you want to increase their size. The majority of people tend to turn away when faced with difficulty in anything that we may face in life, and it’s no different here. Guys would beef up their upper body muscles, forget to work on there legs and end up looking top heavy. Being top heavy is bad because it affects and can cause:
2) Unnatural look
3) Performance (especially in a sport)
And it’s very noticeable. Working this muscle group is also essential for developing and maintaining a high metabolism.
So how can we beat chicken leg syndrome?
As i stated, it won’t be easy, but with some persistence, perseverance and by following the basic guidelines below, it won’t be long until you find yourself joining the Fat legged brigade.
Start as you mean to go on
You must start working on your legs from day one. If you fail to do this the results of your upper body workouts will start to surpass the efforts of your lower body workouts. When imbalance does start to occur, it will be hard to catch back up and will start to turn into a game of cat and mouse.
Your leg workouts. By doing this you will be working all of the necessary muscles so that none get left behind. So be sure to implement that into your plan.
Keep up the cardio
Cardio exercise and other sports do stimulate your muscles to a certain degree. This usually isn’t enough to result in muscle growth, but it is essential for maintaining muscle activity.
ACT NOW! ….well not just yet. This is just a starter on the menu. Stay tuned for the next post. I’ll be outlining some of the key exercises that started to work for myself.