Leg muscles are the most neglected muscle groups when it comes to working out; as the majority of men admit to placing emphasis on the upper body because it provides the most aesthetic appeal, according to new research from an online sports equipment retailer.

It seems that some muscle groups are more popular than others when it comes to working out, with those that provide the best aesthetic results the most popular among exercise enthusiasts, the study said.

The most commonly 'exercised' muscle among men was 'the chest' at 66%, while the 'calves' were the least focused areas, as 34% confessed to neglecting the muscle group during a workout.

The study, conducted by Sweatband.com, polled 1,423 males who exercise on a regular basis, as part of ongoing research into exercise habits.

The study initially asked, 'When working out do you believe that you focus your efforts on some areas of your body more than others?' to which 62% admitted that 'yes, they probably did'. The remaining 38% claimed to be 'satisfied' that their routine was balanced.
Respondents were then asked, 'What is your main area of focus when exercising in the gym?' and given a list of options to choose from, which revealed the following top responses:

  • Upper body weights focused- 31%
  • A mix of cardio and weight training - 24%
  • Full body weights focused- 22%
  • Just cardio - 15%
  • Lower body weights focused- 8%

Of those who claimed to focus on upper body weights, the majority, 62%, explained that they did so because the training yielded the most 'visibly noticeable results to others'; while the majority of those who focussed on lower body weights, 52%, claimed that they did so to 'improve sporting strength/ technique.'

The specifics of this were then looked at, as the study asked, 'If you had to name the muscle groups that you felt you worked out the most, which would you select?' and asked respondents to choose from a list of potential options. They were able to select more than one option if they tended to focus on more than one muscle group.

According to the results, the muscle groups most commonly focussed on by men when working out are as follows:

  • Chest - 66%
  • Triceps - 54%
  • Biceps - 51%
  • Shoulders (deltoids) - 47%
  • Abs - 44%

The study then looked at the areas of the body that received the least focus, asking, 'Do you feel there are areas of your body that you neglect to work out?' to which 48% admitted that 'yes', they did feel that they neglected certain areas of their body with focused exercises. Respondents were then asked to select from a list of potential options their 'least exercised' muscle groups, which revealed the following top 5 of the 'least exercised muscles':

  • Lower legs (calves) - 34%
  • Gluteal muscles - 32%
  • Upper legs (Quads/hamstrings) - 31%
  • Lower back - 29%
  • Middle back (rhomboids) - 27%

The study then asked, 'Why do you think that you tend to work on certain areas of your body rather than others?' allowing respondents to select more than one answer, if they felt that more than one applied. Some 42% said that they felt that some muscle groups 'provided more noticeable results', which meant they put more effort on the muscles that paid off. 33% said that they just 'stuck to a set routine' meaning they didn't include enough variety in to encompass all muscle groups.

A further third, 31%, stated simply that they stuck to the muscle groups that were 'easier' to work out; whilst 28% felt 'too self-conscious to exercise new muscle groups'.

The study then looked at the main motivating factors for working out, asking 'Do you work out to look good or to feel fitter?' which revealed 'looking good' to be the biggest deciding factor, as 56% selected that option. With this in mind, the study asked, 'Do you focus on the muscle groups that you think give you the best aesthetic appeal?' to which 61% confessed that 'yes' they did.