You’d like to have delicious-looking turkey legs – muscular, tanned and robust – but instead you have scrawny, unsightly chicken legs. What gives? The legs can be a complex animal to tame, but there are three common mistakes that lead to skinny legs that can’t seem to bulk up to an attractive shape, trainer Rob Sulaver tells Men’s Fitness magazine.
Your Sleep Patterns Are Off.
If you’re the type of guy who likes to stay up late playing video games, watching TV, or drinking at the bar, then you could be undoing all your efforts at the gym. According to Sulaver, “Growth hormone is produced while you sleep,” so you can’t possibly expect to pack on muscle if you’re not getting at least 6-8 hours of shut-eye every night.
You Wimp Out Half-Way Through.
You need to challenge your legs with full range-of-motion movements. Many a lifter has made the mistake of squatting down only half-way or performing a partial repetition. Instead, one needs to bend as deep as possible to activate and shred as many muscle fibers as humanly possible.
You Abide By The Principle “Go Big Or Go Home.”
Big weights are good for building muscles, but this isn’t the only way to bulk up. Sulaver recommends using “micro-progression” to slowly increase the weight, adding 5 percent on every workout to yield bigger gains over time. So, instead of only using 10 or 25 pound weights, try adding on more of the small plates over time.
You’re Doing The Wrong Workouts.
Fitness expert Jason Ferruggia told Men’s Fitness that the best way to build up scrawny calf muscles is to jump rope and perform sprinting exercises. The main mistake many guys make is that they focus on standing and seated calf raises, Ferruggia says, which only causes the muscles to fatigue too fast. Often times, men with chicken legs end up with shin splints and ankle pain before they even get substantial results. Instead, more all-around athletic exercises will improve the performance of the lower leg muscles, while sculpting the whole leg as well.
You Forgot To Consider Diet.
Make sure you are eating at least 0.7 grams of lean protein per pound of body weight each day. Choose chicken, oily fish, lean steak, and milk. Two hours before you hit the gym, eat healthy carbs like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and sweet potatoes. After your workout, drink a whey protein and dextrose or maltodextrin shake to recover and replace what you’ve lost. Make sure you are eating healthy fats like flax, nuts, seeds and olive oil to ensure sufficient testosterone hormone production necessary to build muscle.