Want Muscular Legs? Get Rid of Chicken Legs With These Tips

The largest muscles in your body are in your legs, yet somehow they often get neglected. You may be so focused on building your arms, shoulders, and abs that your legs get overlooked. There is a reason the term “chicken legs” is used. Don’t let it be used to describe you.

Whether you love the weights or prefer to use your body weight, you can build up your legs and reap the benefits with these great tips.

 1. Move quickly

Man performing squats

Try moving through your sets a little quicker. | iStock.com

Even though you’ve always heard that you should move slowly through your weight lifting routine to put your muscles under a maximum amount of stress, this does not apply to the lower body. Faster, more aggressive movements will build muscle faster in the legs leading to more weight and higher reps. When hitting your legs, try to do as many controlled reps as possible in a set amount of time.

 2. Max out each exercise

Young man doing planks

Work as hard as you can to see gains. | iStock.com/gpointstudio

The legs are a very complex group of muscles. To see growth, you’ll need to really dig deep and max out each exercise to challenge the muscle group. According to Men’s Fitness, partial squat repetitions can be the culprit of standstill muscle growth in the legs. You’ll need to perform deep squats that activate as many muscle fibers as possible. By utilizing a full range of motion when you squat, you will continue building mass and growing the muscles.

3. Skip the cardio

exhausted man at the gym

Cardio won’t help you here. | iStock.com

Cardio is great for maintaining your leg size, but if you want to build bigger, stronger legs, cardio is not the way to go. Cardio burns energy quickly and uses your leg muscles but doesn’t put the legs through enough strain for them to grow. Research shows that any cardio should be separated from your leg day by at least 24 hours to ensure your leg gains are not impaired.

4. Remember stabilizer muscles

Woman doing abdominal exercise

You can’t neglect these muscles. | iStock.com/undrey

The stabilizer muscles found in your hips are often neglected. These small but vital muscles play an important role in avoiding injury and building muscle mass through effective movement. You’ll want to train your adductors in the inner thigh and abductors in the outer thigh in every leg workout, especially before deadlifting or squatting. These muscles provide stability and proper movement in the hips and pelvis and will help keep you safe from injury.

5. Proper weight choice

Man performing leg extensions

Don’t overdo it with the weights. | iStock.com

When you hit the gym with weights, you may stack heavier plates on the rack with a goal of increasing the weight by 10 pounds. While building your legs, you’ll want to slowly increase the weight. Rob Sulaver, a personal trainer at Bandana Training, recommends adding only 5% more weight from workout to workout. To do this, you’ll need to take advantage of smaller weights. Sulaver says this sort of small, regular increase will lead to bigger gains overall.

6. Isolate muscles

Woman performing squats.

Isolating certain muscles will build them faster. | iStock.com/milanvirijevic

Want tone and definition in your quadriceps? Don’t skip the leg curl, leg press, and leg extension machines at the gym. We recommend taking advantage of the machines that will isolate certain leg muscles to sculpt and tone the large muscles in your legs.

7. Eat more

Man performing a single leg squat

You might have to increase your calorie intake. | iStock.com

In order to grow your body, you’ll need to increase your calorie intake to cover the energy burning leg exercises. According to BodyBuilding.com, by increasing your intake of food by 500 calories a day you should be able to gain 1 pound a week. You’ll want to make sure this increase in calories consists of clean, high-protein food and that you continue lifting weights and being active to ensure that the weight gain is muscle, not fat.

8. Unilateral movement

woman doing exercises with medicine ball in a gym

Working one leg at a time ensures both legs are building muscle. | iStock.com/criene

Everyone is dominant in one leg, so to ensure that one leg isn’t doing all of the work, you’ll want to add unilateral training to your fitness routine. Single leg squats or lunges will ensure that both of your legs are growing and increasing in muscle mass. If one leg is noticeably weaker than the other, give it an extra set per exercise.