T Nation

The Chicken-Leg Phenomenon


As I wrap up shoulders, I realize I haven't trained calves in several weeks if not a month. So I go ahead and get them ready for the high rep, heavy weight assault when I notice my other weight training brethren have congregated to my destination. They pile on the plates at the seated rise and move the pin to the bottom of the stack and throw a plate on it over at the standing rise. All in all they seem to be annihilating their calves.

One of the bigger ones goes ahead and exposes the target muscle only to reveal a calve around 12' in size. I figure he must have poor genes and hey if Dexter can be Mr Olympia he'll do just fine, but I realize that most of them if not all of them share in his atrophy. The entire group of lower body muscles has been neglected. They sport impressive and somewhat symmetrical upper bodies but they share the lower body of a wheel chair bound person.

I still don't understand, I thought that by my new location this flaw would be limited to a few but it seems that the norm is to have a puny, no let me correct that, a girly man's lower body. I have no clue on the reason of the neglect. Does squatting suck? Is the day after a Armageddon caliber leg day that unbearable? Are the chicks put off my a massive set of quads? Are thigh exercises considered only for women? The answer to this enigma escapes me. What do you guys think?


yes squatting does SUCK!i work on my legs maebe 3x a MONTH.my legs dont match my upper body.like shack 7'2"320LBS fucking chicken legs!


I never knew 12' calves were possible, on men and women


thats a recipe for failure right there...I'd work on that lol.


People don't train legs? This is a revelation to me.


Oh but why when squats suck?

To the OP, guys avoiding legs at the gym is probably going to be prevalent almost no matter where ever you go. Same goes for the back muscles. But shit who cares about that as long as you can pose well for your Myspace pic...


Even though my legs are fairly small still (not gurly though lol) in size I feel they are well developed cause of all the quad/ham work (squats of course) I've done thusfar. I just got to add at least another 100-200 lbs to my squats to get them size and them beast looking legs:D.

I understand what you're saying though about them guys who have legs like a young girl. I usually can tell if a guy is serious about his leg training by how thick or big their legs are.

I was born with shitty calves though that's for sure lol!

I had a friend wait an ex-friend who I took working out with me. Well one day we did a brutal leg workout. One of those damn I think I overdid it barely can walk properly workouts. Guess what ? He hasn't worked out with me sense really. He was horrible as a person and just as horrible physically when it came to pushing ones limits and staying dedicated.

Guess what I'm getting bigger/stronger/smarter and he's probably going to be the same weakass dipshit for the rest of his life.
When In the gym I keep hush hush and only talk to the bigger guys who compete or actually look like they workout there body as a whole.

Yet for those other yuppies, I always force myself to mentally say "fuck them". Don't worry about other people. Cause most the time it's a huge fucking waste of my time really thinking of what he/she is doing wrong.

I try to stick with like-minded dedicated people. My problem is those fucking peole are RARE in most gyms today. Our freakin' culture for the most part.

Ok I'm done lol.


They may do legs twice a week.

But unfortunately boucing the full stack on the calf raise without actually changing the muscle length, and half squats on the smith machine are going to leave you with small legs.


I'll be the first to admit that having your thighs rub together every time you walk is annoying, but I love training my legs and couldn't imagine bodybuilding without them.


Ha! Yeah I remember the first trip I took to the beach after getting into heavy leg training. What a rude awakening when you realize you have to wear compression shorts any time you get in the water and walk without being completely dry...


Being a veteran of major knee surgery, I found out that working the bottom half of the body is just as important as the top half.

I find that it gives me a better foundation to work the top half.



The best is when you see guys who are obviously on steroids because their upper bodies look like Conan the barbarian's and their lower legs look like Conan O'brien's. Not that their is anything wrong with gear, but these guys are truly abusing themselves by taking the risks of gear but forgoing the benefit of training 75% of their muscle mass.

I laugh at these guys, because even though their upper bodies might look better, they still need to wear sweatpants to cover up their legs. Extra points if they are curling in the squat rack.


i think it might be an age thing to some degree, young guys don't think legs are cool, women do however.

look at all the rock star straight leg jeans sold. i'm not "big" by bodybuilding standards and i can't fit into them!

As i've aged legs have become one of my favorite things to train, i'm guilty however in my younger & non-serious training days i neglected legs.

What the fuck is wrong w/ kids these days!

For the record legs varies from once to twice in seven days, calfs 3x week.


First of all the scenario you described has nothing to do with steroids. It has to do with focusing on mainly upper body and neglected leg workouts

Secondly, a lot of this is just jealousy. You see someone who has a large upper body and it makes you feel shitty, so if they don't have massive legs then you make fun of them. I know the drill...I used to do it too.


I didn't train lower body for a month because of injuries.

My legs and my calves grew an inch -_-


I guess not everyone has the same physique goals. I too feel your pain the in the thigh rubbing department, Mr. Popular. I'm bottom heavy but I'm 6'2 so I guess its a mixed blessing. I'm almost going to be donning MC Hammer pants in here soon, or maybe the American flag parachute pants Ronnie wore. Personally, its not jealousy waylander but amazement.

It took time for them to build their upper bodies but why not take the time and build the lower portion so you don't end up looking dumb, goofy, odd, Palooka-like, etc. You look dumb! Its funky looking body. It isn't bringing sexy back looking that way. No way! The sweatpants make it look worse IMO. No amount of lipstick will get this pig asked out to prom.


There are only like 5-7 people at my gym who squat, so I am the minority there. I know a lot of chicken-legged people, and they don't really care about calves. There are too many men who work out their "guns" and pecs and that's it. I have big calves for a 165 pound guy, because I load up a squat bar and do calf raises. It's just society I suppose. I've never heard a girl so "Oh scott, you have such sexy calves" fml.


So true, blue. Whenever your asked the ambiguous request of showing our "muscles" it always is a bicep pose. It not like I'm going to pull down my sweatpants and do a thigh pose. Aw, the folly of society.


Sadly, chicken leg boys are not the only ones favoring upper body work over lower. The Gold's I go to has but two squat racks, yet there are 4 flat benches alone, not to mention the benches by the DBs and the declien and incline benches.

I think there is something in the water that makes squatting harder and more painful than it used to be. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I think somebody is out to rob us of leg muscle. Seems like there is a discernible trend.


Oh the hipocracy! You just said "sweatpants make it look worse". Yet you profess to wearing sweat pants!!!

lol jk