Health & Fitness: The Gay Man’s Chicken Leg Syndrome (GMCLS)


You see these guys often at the gym, they have jacked up upper bodies and are usually doing chest presses or bicep curls and not once touching a leg press or doing squats. Sure you don’t see the legs most of the time specially if you live in a cold place but when it’s time to be intimate, isn’t it such a turn off when the pants come off to see these peg-like stilts for legs? Ok this may not be unique to gay men but predominantly you’ll see this in the circuit party culture.

Overall development of muscles is equally important for both appearances and to prevent muscle imbalances which can negatively affect your balance, flexibility, sports performance and increase your risk of injury. Also remember that your legs consists of a large group of muscles and developing and stimulating them can greatly increase your metabolism. Muscles burn more energy than fat.

So how does one prevent GMCLS? Here are a few exercises you can incorporate in your routine.

Upper Legs

Muscles: Quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), abductors (butt muscles), adductors (inner thigh) and hip flexors (used for stability).


Leg Press: This works almost all the leg muscles and as well as your glutes. Ensure that your feet, knees, hips and shoulders are all aligned and push the weight away from you without locking your knees. The range of motion will vary from person to person so when you bring the weight down, just stop at the point before your back pulls away from the seat and make sure your feet stay flat on the platform.

Squats: Another great exercise and should be the main exercise in your leg routine in my opinion. For beginners, it’s best to use dumbbells specially if you don’t have a spotter. For the intermediate, you can rest a barbell on your shoulders behind your head or for a more challenging workout, rest it on your chest. Legs should be shoulder width apart and keep your back straight.

Lunge: A great exercise for the glutes which also uses most of your leg muscles. Using a barbell or dumbbells, take a wide step forward and lower the opposite knee towards the ground without actually touching it. Make sure your knee at any point doesn’t extend over your toes.

Leg Curl: An isolating exercise for the hamstrings which can usually done with various machines at the gym from seated position to laying on your stomach. Bend the knee towards your butt while keeping the back and butt relaxed to fully isolate the hamstrings.

Leg Extension: Using a machine at the gym, extend your legs as far as possible keeping in mind not to lock your knees. Keep your knees and ankles relaxed throughout the movement to isolate the quads. Just like the leg curl, you can do these exercises one leg at a time to prevent assistance from the dominant leg.

Lower Legs

Primary Muscle: gastrocnemius
Secondary Muscle: soleus


Standing Calf Raises: This exercise can be done either by a machine (better if you don’t want stress on your shoulders and back) or dumbbells.

Machine Calf Raises: Adjust the pads that support your shoulders (for standing calf raise machine) or your knees (for seated calf raises) and place the balls of your feet on the footplate. Slowly lower your heels towards the ground in a smooth motion.

Dumbbell Calf Raise: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and let each hang by your sides. Begin by pushing your toes down so that your heels become raised so that you are on your tip-toes.

Start with lighter weights to familiarize yourself with the movements and perfect the form to prevent any injuries and gradually increase the weight for more challenge.

Summer is just around the corner and wouldn’t those nice defined legs look so much better in a swimsuit?

  • Jared

    Such a peeve of mine when people only do upper body and end up with chicken legs…

  • Timothy

    Awesome Awesome article Redd, something that all men should read and take note of! Theres just no denying the sexiness of a strong muscular set of legs. I just wanted to add one other essential leg exercise! The Deadlift! Greg Classman of Crossfit writes:
    “The deadlift is unrivaled in its simplicity and impact while unique in its capacity for increasing head to toe strength.
    Regardless of whether your fitness goals are to “rev up” your metabolism, increase strength or lean body mass, decrease body fat, rehabilitate your back, improve athletic performance, or maintain functional independence as a senior, the deadlift is a marked shortcut to that end.”
    Heres a link to his journal that shows how to execute it properly

    Keep up the good work Redd!

  • Definitely dead lifts are great but I’ve seen far too many people do it the wrong way and it’s easy to injure yourself with this exercise so knowledge regarding the proper form again is key to prevent injury.

    Thanks for reminding me about the dead lift… I need to re-incorporate that into my routine.

    Jared, definitely… I see it all the time. Nothing turns me off more than seeing stick legs on a massive upper body. A deal breaker in my opinion.

  • Jared

    I see a lot of people do deadlifts wrong as well and it irks me because they can destroy their back so easily. A lot of people don’t do exercises properly at all (using momentum, not using neutral spine, etc). I used to do deadlifts but have taken them out of my routine because I find them a lot harder than Barbell squats (which take the life out of me).

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