T Nation

Chicken Legs

Okay here’s the stats: 28 years old,lifting 6 years, 5’10", 160lbs, bf not sure but pretty lean. If you’ve seen Nate Dogg’s pictures I’m built about the same as him.Except for the legs!I have naturally skinny legs(my whole family does) and I have a hell of a time gaining size or strength on them.Upper body came up relatively easy-I’ve put on about 10lbs lbm and it’s mostly all upper body.
I want to bring up my legs so they match the top! Yes, I’ve always done squats and deadlifts!
I’ve decided to start OVT and massive eating (diet has always been so-so) which brings me to my question.
Should I just work legs for awhile until I balance out or keep up with upper body also?

My suggestion is to maintain upperbody and specialize on legs. I particularly like Ian King’s Limping Series, and John Roman’s “Diamonds in the Rough”. I’ve had great success with both. But there are a lot of other great programs (use the search engine to the left).

Most importantly though is your diet. You need to keep your diet on track, especially if you’re like me who on bad days drastically UNDEREAT, by as much as 2000 cals (putting me a little below maintanence) when eating massive. It’s hard to gain mass without putting feul in the furnace.

Good luck!

How much do you squat and deadlift and what rep protocol do you do? Do you do good mornings?

Goldberg is undoubtedly about to recommend Westside training to you, because he recommends Westside training to everyone, even his cat.

However, he is correct. (The cat made gains.) I also suffer from “slow leg” syndrome, and since starting with Westside I’ve actually had a few people (one of them a cyclist, who knows leg development) comment favorably on the improvement. So give it a shot.

Good luck!

Goldberg -I’ve been doing 5x5 for the last 3 months.200lb squats, 275 deads, sometimes some dynamic lunges and a ton of calve work.I’ve never done GM’s cause I’ve always thought I’d hurt my back but I’ve seen your videos so I now have better idea of proper form.I know that I have been under-eating so that could be part of the problem.I thought I would at least see some strength gains from that program but no such luck.
Would you recommend Westside? I haven’t read much about it yet but I have a pretty good idea of what it entails.I’m open to suggestions.Thanks!

Deep six 5x5 for now. It seems like youve been on it for a while. Try a different program for a while and see what happens. After you read up on westside for about a month or so then you might be ready for that. But there is a lot to know. Its not a get ripped for summer program. Its a long term deal if you want real gains from it.

Have you ever tried occasionally experimenting with higher reps for squats and deadlifts (i.e. in the 8 + range)?

I agree with Goldberg about Good Mornings, they are a must…also have you ever incorporated stiff legged deads? How about 1and1/3 squats? Paused squats? Box Squats? Front Squats?

GHR’s. Your hamstrings will sky rocket with GHR’s as long as you are eating enough quality calories.

When do you do squats and deads?
Same day? Quad day and hip day?

Have you thought about giant setting for a complete change?

I’ll second Machine’s comment on glute-ham raises.

Been doing 5x5 for past three months.Quad day, rest 2 days,hip day,rest 2 days,repeat.I do mix up the exercises with front/back squats/lunges,sumo deads/romanian deads.
I’ve also tried higher rep ranges in the past but to no avail.
I think I will start some GM’s and GHR’s but I haven’t decided on what program to incorporate them into.Currently reading up on Westside so that’s a possibilty.

i must say my leg are looking much better after a 9 week westside stint, hammies especially

Whetu, what exactly was your program like?

Char–That statement about Goldberg’s cat on westside has to be one of the funniest things I have ever read on this forum. I think my dogs need westside now.

In the meantime, try becoming a competition sport climber. They all WANT small legs. Some french sport climbers have been reported to avoid walking up or down hills, as they fear the stimulus their legs might recieve. Crazy!

Aither - you’re welcome. We do our best. :slight_smile:

Have to agree with Whetu. After a couple of months on Westside, even my hamstrings are starting to look noticeably better.

Aither- Ha ha! Too bad I’m afraid of heights! I’d be perfect for that!
You would all get a pretty good laugh if I posted a picture! Maybe I will just to give me more motivation.

Post one, and I’ll post up my pasty <20" thighs! Though, I don’t want motivation. I like my skinny legs, as hyooge legs are not fun to haul up a cliff.

The basic one that Dave Tate posted at elite, basically heaps of good mornings (which i had never really done before, especially not heavy) and GHR on ME days every third week Box squat instead of GM.
Squat went up 35 kg and hammies are looking much better.
Switch to high volume higher reps stuff this week, for no real reason other than change…

Okay, I’m about to get stoned. While I have just recently started Westside, and wholeheartedly support its use for size, one thing you might want to consider is the leg press. (Ducking now.) Maybe it just worked for me because of my short, stumpy legs, but I found them at least as helpful as squats in putting on mass in the quads. Read that statement and take it for what it’s worth.

My legs are small in those pics I posted. They haven’t been that small in years. But a knee injury and not enough heavy weight training caused some major shrinkage. I’m happy to say that in just the past month, my legs have already grown a bit, and I plan on having some nice thick tree trunk legs in the next few months.

You know what’s working so well and so quickly? Some sort of squatting movement three times a week. I’m on the Renegade Powerlifting program, and I love it. I squat three times per week whether it’s Zercher squats, overhead squats or back squats. If you want your legs to grow, I highly suggest working them more often. Check out Coach Davies’ article “The Nitro Squat Program” for a great leg workout that will pack on the mass.

I’ve always been a little guy, but I’ve had some good leg size in the past, and I will have more in the near future.