We’ve all had friend or gym partner who, like night follows day, gets a little bit flakey the closer it gets to leg day.

The conversion tends to go something like this:

Me: Today is leg day, you coming?

Friend: Nah bro, I can’t. I’m too busy.


skipping legs upper body gains

Credit for this funny af meme goes to Them Gainz Official – who seem to be an instagram hub of dark gym memes that we can all relate to.

Ah, the anxiety-inducing pain of leg day.

Plenty shy away from this occasion that drives a rift between the men and boys, largely because many come to the conclusion for their leg days that Clubber Laing did in Rocky III: “My prediction? PAIN!”

It’s enough to scare even the most self-proclaimed hardcore of gym bros but you know how the old saying goes: squats are the best exercise for your lower body and your upper body,
so these pansy-assed abstainers are short changing themselves out on some gains, right?

Maybe not – the hypothesis for this claim is that big compound movements like the squat and deadlift increase testosterone, which translates to a larger upper frame.

A paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology put this theory to the test and found that, while technically correct as testosterone did acutely increase after a big leg session, there was no real world difference to arm size in the group that only trained arms.

The reason for this is that natural, acute rises in testosterone do nothing for muscle growth and go back down to baseline pretty quickly. Though, lifters do generally have higher testosterone than non-lifters, it’s certainly not enough, within natural ranges to add more mass to the upper body.

Anabolic steroids are a different ballgame. This is what’s known as taking on board supra-physiological levels (way more than the natural medical normal range of testosterone). This seems to be  where the confusion and assertion that increasing your testosterone = more muscle.

Yes, it does, but only in chronically elevated levels such as those seen in steroid users. The slight peak of testosterone after squatting will not have this same effect.

The choice is yours – you can neglect legs and still sport some impressive nightclub muscles, but you’re not likely to get much respect at any pool parties looking like a lightbulb.


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