How to Not Look Like a Meat Head with Chicken Legs
I’m calling half of you out.
I’m betting that at least half of you reading this are regularly skipping leg training, or neglecting to train every muscle group with equal frequency and intensity.
I see far too many people in the gym training to exaggerate their most prominent muscles while disregarding other parts of their body.
It’s no coincidence that there’s almost always a queue of people waiting to use the bench press, while the leg press lies empty.
I’ve found there to be three main reasons as to why people neglect certain muscle groups;
- A desire to build the most visible muscles in order to look good in a t-shirt – facing front.
- Primarily working muscles they enjoy training and avoiding uncomfortable exercise.
- Believing that the smaller muscle groups will receive sufficient growth stimulation by training large muscle groups.
Guess what… squatting heavy shit isn’t meant to be comfortable, but it is necessary to go through some discomfort in order to build a complete muscular body.
If you’re only motivated to curl dumbbells like you’re sipping tea then you’ll never achieve that whole bodybuilder, or muscular Spartan body.
Your goal should be the complete package, even muscularity from head to toe. Otherwise you could end up looking like a meat head with chicken legs.
From the Front to the Back
When you look in the mirror you see the front of your body reflected back at you. It’s possible of course, to take a gander at how you look from behind, but craning your neck to look over your shoulder doesn’t give the same effect as seeing yourself dead on from the front.
The trouble is – and this problem is compounded by the wall of mirrors which often face the free weight section at the gym – that it’s much easier to concentrate on the muscles you can see than those that you can’t.
Too many people think that this front silhouette is how the rest of the world sees them, but it’s just a small percentage. People are looking at your body from a wide variety of angles in daily life.
This is where the problem of neglected muscle groups begins.
For example, triceps get neglected in favour of biceps, and back muscles are forgotten while you work on getting a killer set of pecs or big shoulders. Legs, calves and forearms don’t get a look in.
Appearance Matters – But There’s More
So far we’ve talked about the detrimental effect that imbalanced muscular development can have on your appearance. It’s certainly an important consideration, affecting both your self-confidence and how others perceive you, but it’s not the only issue.
From a strictly functional perspective, having imbalanced muscles can increase your risk of injury.
Let’s talk about antagonism…
Defined either as “active hostility or opposition” or “inhibition of or interference with the action of one substance or organism by another”, antagonism is all about working against something – but in our case, that’s exactly what we need.
Consider the example of a powerfully built chest and a weak upper back. Not only is such an imbalance aesthetically displeasing, it represents a lack of desirable “muscular antagonism”.
If the upper back were sufficiently developed, it would exert an opposing, or “antagonizing” force against the chest and surrounding muscles, preventing the shoulders from sloping forward. Without a strong upper back “pulling” everything into alignment, you would run a greater risk of back or shoulder injury/pain due to inevitably poor form, posture and muscular weakness.
Now, imagine you’re training your legs. You’ve warmed up, maybe done some weighted calf raises. It’s time to hit those quads! Hell yeah, you are absolutely nailing your quadriceps with lunges, leg extensions and squats. A new personal best!
Whew, but boy are you tired out now. You execute a few sloppy deadlifts, throw a light weight on the machine for a quick set of hamstring curls and call it a day.
Repeat this pattern week after week and you’ll have big thighs, small, floppy hamstrings and quite possibly, poor posture, knee pain and an increased risk of injuring your anterior cruciate ligaments.
Insufficient muscle antagonism – an unequal balance of opposing forces – doesn’t just make you look bad – it can make you hurt bad, too.
The next time you’re at the gym, don’t just work the muscles you can see in the mirror or enjoy training – treat your body as a whole and give every part the respect it needs.
What are the most commonly neglected muscles?
- (legs) Quads and Hamstrings
- …And the really lazy ones don’t even train their back muscles.
Now, if you’re following a good workout program consistently and entirely then you shouldn’t be missing any muscle groups, apart from maybe having to add in some isolated forearm work.
If you’re chosen workout program calls for a leg training day and you’re simply skipping that part of the routine then you have a motivation problem.
There’s a simple solution to ensuring your legs develop in proportion with every other muscle group on your body – TRAIN THEM!
Half arsed leg training or putting it off… “Let’s leave legs till next week” is going to have you looking like a meat head with chicken legs in no time.
Treat your legs day as seriously as your chest day.
Best Leg Exercises:
- Leg Press