Bulging biceps, tiny legs: why gym bunnies turn into sparrows below the waist

Diet & Fitness

25th November 2016

Men who work out at the gym love to show off their six-packs — and, even more, their pumped-up biceps, which you can reveal anywhere without taking your clothes off. If you’ve got the guns, then rolling up your sleeves might work better than any chat-up line.

But women subjected to this display really ought to check out the legs – which, after all, is what males have been doing to females since the dawn of time. And what they may well find is that, below the torso, Arnold Schwarzenegger turns into a sparrow.

As a personal trainer, I’m always telling clients that they mustn’t neglect their legs. Because that’s what I see happening in the gym all the time — there’s only one guy sitting in the squat rack while six others are happily working on their dumbbell curls.

Look, I understand that barbell squats aren’t easy. Or necessarily fun. One of my clients will happily do press-ups but starts sulking as soon as I mention ‘boring’ squats.

But the fact is that these muscles really matter, and the squat is considered to be the ‘gold standard’ of lower body exercises, targeting your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

Now that we know how dangerous sedentary lifestyles are — they say sitting is the new smoking — there’s no excuse for neglecting the very muscles that waste away when you live your life on your butt in front of a screen.

You can’t afford to let your leg muscles just sit there. Here’s some depressing information: even middle-aged distance runners see their legs getting thinner, because that’s the way the muscles naturally atrophy (you can find the details here). Take a look at any footage of the London Marathon and you’ll see what I mean.

Squats are absolutely the best way of tackling the problem — they release a large amount of growth hormone and testosterone, two natural muscle-building hormones.

In short, train your lower body as much as you train your upper body. Otherwise, having basked in the admiration for your guns and your pecs, there’ll come a moment when you reveal legs that look like they belong to one of those potato men drawn by your kids.

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