By Parker Cote, ISSA, CFT Men’s Fitness
Have you ever tried to use the bench press on a Monday night a 5 PM? It’s almost impossible. Most gym goers will never skip a chest or arms workout, but the smaller, less visible muscle groups tend to fall to the bottom of their list of gym priorities. Over time, these habits will lead to an imbalanced physique.
A great upper body with chicken legs commands no respect. Shift your attention to the often neglected calves, forearms, and traps, and you can develop a proportional and balanced physique. All you need to do is prioritize those muscle groups with effective, hard-hitting routines to bring them up to par.
Chicken legs, no more.
To combat stubborn calves, target them from multiple angles and use heavy resistance. The calf muscles can be trained anywhere from one to three times per week. Any more than that and you run the risk of overtraining. If your calves are your weakest body part, train them in the beginning of your regular strength-training workout. This way, you’ll hit them when you’re fresh and be less likely to skip.
1. Toe Press on Leg Press Machine – 3 sets of 15
2. Single Leg Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise – 3 sets of 15 per side
3. Seated Calf Raise with Toes Pointed In – 4 sets of 20
Having a great set of forearms does more than make you look good in a t-shirt. Regular forearm workouts will improve your grip strength significantly, which will allow you to use more weight when training other body parts.
The forearms are activated residually during back and biceps workouts, but for most people that isn’t enough. They have to be trained directly to grow. The most important part about forearm training is timing: avoid working them before a workout, especially a back or biceps session, because your grip strength will be weakened considerably. Add this mass-gain forearms routine to the end of your workout, up to two times a week.
1. Reverse Barbell Curl – 3 sets of 15
2. Reverse Grip Dumbbell Wrist Curl – 3 sets of 20 per side
3. Behind-the-Back Barbell Wrist Curl – 3 sets to failure
Everyone is familiar with dumbbell shrugs, but a few haphazard sets of them after your back or shoulder workout isn’t going to lead to the growth you want. Like any muscle group, they need to be trained regularly to grow. Try this multi-angle traps workout one to two times per week for best results.
1. Incline Bench Dumbbell Shrugs – 4 sets of 12
2. Smith Machine Shrugs – 3 sets of 10
3. Cable Upright Row – 3 sets of 15