Blog Fitness Skinny Legs Big Upper Body: Here’s The Fix You’ve Been Looking For

Skinny Legs Big Upper Body: Here’s The Fix You’ve Been Looking For

We all have parts of ourselves we’d like to change. Perhaps you want a flatter stomach and a bigger butt, or you have skinny legs and a big upper body that’s causing you concern. Having disproportional legs is something that plagues many people, particularly those who are into fitness.

It can be frustrating to put in all the hard work at the gym and not see any change in your lower body, while your upper body seems to be bulking up. But don’t worry, there are a few simple solutions that can help you achieve a more balanced physique.

One of the main reasons why your upper body may appear larger than your lower body is due to genetics. Some people are naturally predisposed to develop more muscle mass in their upper bodies than their lower bodies. In this case, it may be challenging to achieve a perfectly proportioned body without incorporating specific exercises and training techniques.

This guide will provide you with solid tips to help fix this issue and give you the perfect balance between your upper and lower body.

Skinny Legs Big Upper Body: Reasons Behind This Physique

Genetics are one key factor, but there are several other reasons why you may be struggling with skinny legs and a big upper body:

You’re Holding Weight in Your Upper Body

One reason why you may have a bigger upper body compared to your legs is that you tend to store fat in your upper body rather than in your legs. Different people store fat in different regions of their body and this may be one reason why you’re experiencing this look. If this is the case, you’ll want to focus on overall fat loss. Utilize a calorie deficit from both exercise and improved eating habits.

You’re Genetically Predisposed to Having Small Legs

As previously mentioned, genetics play a significant role in determining the size and shape of our bodies (7). Some people are genetically predisposed to having smaller legs while others have larger legs. 

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However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t work toward achieving your desired physique.

The key to developing bigger legs is proper training. This means incorporating exercises that target the lower body such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and leg presses. 

These exercises work the major muscle groups in your legs and help build strength and muscle mass.

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You Need to Concentrate on Volume Training

Sometimes going heavy is not the answer. This is one of those times. If you want to increase the size of your legs, you need to concentrate on volume training (2). Moderate loads and high-volume training will help build your legs. 

You can also combine the two for even better results. You could do a week of low loads and volume training and then the following week you can go heavy. This cycle will help you build both the size and strength of your legs. The most important thing here is that you’re in progressive overload, which means you’re continuing to use challenging weights and increase the weights as needed.

You’re Complicating Things

When it comes to leg-targeted exercises, there are two exercises you always need in your workout plan: squats and deadlifts (3). 

Variations of squats and deadlifts should be the cornerstone of every leg workout. When you do these two exercises correctly, you’re likely to get bigger legs. You can start with bodyweight squats and progress to adding equipment along the way. 

You’re Doing Too Much Cardio

Can you do too much cardio? In this case you can. Remember your goal here is to build bigger legs. 

If size is what you want, you need to concentrate more on strength-building exercises (3). But this doesn’t mean that you should abandon cardio. Cardio will make you fit enough to be able to handle the various strength training exercises. 

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skinny legs big upper body  

You Need to Eat More Carbs

Carbs is one of the most despised words when it comes to fitness. This is okay if you’re trying to reduce that extra weight, but if size is what you’re going for, it’s time to look for those carbohydrates (3). The good thing is that there are many healthy carbohydrates you can choose from. 

Examples include quinoa, oats, buckwheat, bananas, sweet potatoes, beetroots, oranges, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, kidney beans, and chickpeas. Don’t go for highly-processed foods or junk foods, opt for foods that deliver the carbs you need while still being very healthy and providing the other macronutrients your body needs. 

Carbs are also important when it comes to building muscles. They’re what help you perform at a high level and help you recover more quickly (5). 

If you’re looking to add mass, your diet should consist of 60% carbs, 30% proteins, and 10% fats. These don’t have to be the exact percentages you consume and an expert may have a different opinion regarding what’s right for you as an individual. 

Explore our Calorie Deficit Meals guide for satisfying, nutrient-dense meals to help you on your fitness journey.

You’re Neglecting Your Calves

Calves are known to resist growing. You can take this as a problem or a challenge. When you’re working out your calves, you can’t focus on counting repetitions as this can be deceiving (3). What busts the wall is how long the muscles are under tension. 

If you want to build strength, a 20-second time frame is what you want to aim for. If you want to focus on growth in size, 40-second calf raises should be enough. If muscle endurance is what you’re looking for, 60-second calf raises could do the trick. 

On average, six calf raises takes just six seconds. That is simply not enough time under tension for the calves, which is why you should concentrate more on time than reps. 

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You’re Missing Leg Days

Most people concentrate on building their upper-body muscles and forget about their legs (10). People are generally not that excited about leg days. 

You need to build muscles throughout your entire body. Therefore, you need to be vigilant on leg days to prevent having skinny legs and an underdeveloped lower body. 

Read more: Leg Exercises While Sitting: Tone Your Legs While Seated At Your Desk

Best Workout for People with Skinny Legs and a Big Upper Body

If you want to solve the issue of having a bigger upper body and skinny legs, most of the exercises you undertake will be targeted toward the legs. 

You don’t also want to ignore upper-body workouts completely as you don’t want to have a bigger lower body and a smaller upper body. Balance is the key in such scenarios. 

Training your legs has importance in other areas as it targets some of your body’s largest muscles, a good example being the glutes (4). Lower-body muscles are the foundation on which your fitness is built. 

When you train your legs, you also burn more calories, elevate your T-levels, and have the ability to lift bigger loads. Leg training also improves your mobility and helps build strength, power, and the mass of your leg muscles (9). 

Learn more about resting calories and their effect on metabolism in our previous post.

Here are some exercises you should include in your workout routine if you want to work on your legs: 

Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat

How to do it (11):

  1. First, stand facing away from the workout bench. Hold dumbbells in both hands. Have one foot resting on the bench behind you. 
  2. Then drop into a lunge position with your standing leg until the knee of your trailing leg almost touches the ground. 
  3. Push up through your front foot until you return to your original position. 

You should do 3 sets of 6 reps per side with 60 seconds of rest between each set. This particular type of squat is effective for targeting the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. It’s one of the best exercises for toning legs (6). 

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skinny legs big upper body  

Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise

How to do it (8):

  1. First, put a weight plate on the ground and rest your toes on it. You should do this while sitting on a bench. 
  2. Then place a dumbbell on each knee. Your right hand should be holding the handle of the dumbbell, and your left hand should be holding the handle of the other dumbbell. 
  3. Lift your toes as high as you can. Hold this position for a few seconds and return to the original position. 

You should perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps, with a 60-second rest between each set. This exercise concentrates on your calves and will really boost their growth. 

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Romanian Deadlift

How to do it (1):

  • First, stand holding a barbell in your hands. Bend at the hips and lower the bar toward the floor, keeping the bar very close to your legs. Keep your back straight. 
  • Then without bending your back, press your hips forward to lift the bar. Make sure to only bend your knees slightly. 

You should perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps, with a rest of 60 seconds between each set. This exercise focuses on your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. It can help improve your speed and agility on the track. 

Side Lunge

How to do it: (4)

  1. You first need to stand with your legs under your hips and hold a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Second, step your right leg out to the side and lower your body as you bend your knee, keeping your other leg straight. Think of this like you’re doing a one-legged squat.
  3. Return to the original position and repeat on the other side. 
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You should do 3 sets of 6-10 reps per leg, with a 60-second rest between each set. This exercise works out your hip adductors and abductors. 

Good Morning

How to do it (4):

  1. Take a barbell and place it across your back, similar to how you would place a bar for a squat. Make sure the bar is very secure in your grip.
  2. Brace your core and slowly bend at the hips to lower your torso toward the ground so that you end parallel to the floor. Pause at the bottom, then reverse. 

You should perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps, with a 60-second rest between each set. This exercise can be used to strengthen your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. 

Hip Thruster

How to do it:

  1. Lean the top of your back against a workout bench. You should create a 45-degree angle between yourself and the support. 
  2. Place a barbell or dumbbell across your hips.
  3. Then, squeeze your glutes and core and raise your hips to lift the load until your back is straight and your knees form a 90-degree angle. Return to the original position. 

You should perform 3 sets of 6 reps, with a 60-second rest between each set. This exercise will help build power in your glutes. When your glutes are weak, this has a negative effect on the movement mechanics of the entire leg. 

You should consider these leg exercises if you want to increase the strength and size of your legs. 

Read more: How to Workout Legs At Home, With or Without Weights

skinny legs big upper body  


  • Are skinny legs genetic?

Yes, skinny legs can be genetic. Some people are naturally predisposed to having smaller legs due to their body type and genetics. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t work toward developing bigger legs through targeted exercises and proper training techniques.

  • Do legs grow faster than the upper body?

It may seem as if your upper body grows faster than your lower body, but this isn’t always the case. The rate of muscle growth varies from person to person and depends on factors such as genetics, training intensity, and nutrition.

Genetic factors aside, the muscles in your lower body tend to be larger and have more potential for growth compared to those in your upper body. This means that with consistent training and proper nutrition, you can achieve a balanced physique with bigger legs.

Check out our previous blog – Foods To Avoid To Lose Belly Fat – for expert tips on how to trim your waistline.

  • What is the hardest body part to grow?

The lower body is often considered to be one of the hardest areas to grow, particularly for those who have naturally skinny legs. This is because the muscles in the lower body, such as the glutes and quads, are larger compared to other muscle groups and require more effort to see significant growth.

However, with determination and a targeted training plan, you can overcome this challenge and achieve your desired physique.

  • Is 1 hour on leg day enough?

1 hour is enough to target all the major muscle groups in the legs and get a good workout. You can dedicate most of this time to compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts, which work multiple muscle groups at once. However, it’s important to remember that the intensity and effort you put into your workout are more important than the duration. 

For example, a 30-minute workout with high intensity can be just as effective as a 1-hour workout with lower intensity.

Incorporating a mix of compound exercises and isolation exercises can help you achieve maximum results in just 1 hour. For hypertrophy (muscle growth), you should aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise.

Skinny Legs Big Upper Body: The Bottom Line

Achieving a balanced physique with bigger legs and a smaller upper body is possible with the right approach. While genetics may play a role in our body composition, proper training and consistency are the key to overcoming any imbalances. So don’t be discouraged, stay committed to your workouts, and you’ll see the results you desire.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 10 Best Muscle-Building Leg Exercises ( 2020, c
  2. 7 Reasons Guys Get Stuck With Skinny Legs (n.d.,
  4. Best Leg Exercises: Upgrade Leg Day with These 20 Moves ( 2019,
  5. Carbs for Muscle Growth: How to Use Them Best | ISSA (2022,
  6. Easy, Challenging, and Everyday Ways to Toned Legs (2018,
  7. Genetics of human body size and shape: body proportions and indices (2002,
  8. Imagine Having Big Upper Body and Skinny Legs (2017,
  9. The Best Leg Exercises for Stronger Glutes, Quads, and Hamstrings (2020,
  10. The Ultimate Leg Workout Guide (n.d.,
  11. Top 10 Best Leg Exercises (2019, 
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