Building upper body strength? Train your legs with less weight.

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Baron, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Baron

    Baron ET Founder

    Strength athletes who want to make their upper body stronger, will train their upper muscle groups with heavy weights. The muscles in their lower body, on the other hand, they ca.n better train with lighter weights. This is shown by a human study published by sports scientists at the University of Central Florida in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

    The researchers divided 20 men aged 18-35, who had been training with weights for a long time, into 2 groups - an HI group and an MP group. All men had about the same training schedule. They did as much of the same exercises on the same days.

    HP The men in this group trained all their muscle groups with 88-90 percent of the load with which just 1 rep was possible [1 repetition maximum]. With that weight they made 4 to 5 reps.

    MP The men in this group trained their lower body muscle groups with 65-70 percent of the load with which just 1 rep was possible. With that weight they made 10-12 reps. The men trained their upper body muscle groups like the HI group.

    The MP group got stronger at the bench press than the HI group did. In the MP group the 1 rep maximum increased the most in the MP group. The power - say: the speed - that the men could develop at the bench press, increased the most in the MP group as well.




    "The results of this study confirm the hypothesis that lower body training can affect upper-body adaptations to a high-intensity training program in experienced, resistance-trained men", the researchers wrote. "Results of this study provide evidence to support the use of different training schemes for upper and lower body during the same training period for optimizing upper body adaptations in men."

    "In particular, greater improvements in upper body maximal strength and power can be achieved using high-volume training programs to optimize upper body adaptations to resistance training."

    "It also may provide support for the use of a multifocal approach to program design, similar to what may be used in nonlinear training programs."

    J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Jan;32(1):13-8.
    Clubber Lang likes this.
  2. That makes sense. Taken to ~failure, I find higher rep leg work to be more demanding.
    Clubber Lang likes this.
  3. Baron, are you still working out with Dr. Darden? And what does your workout look like these days?
  4. userque


    While training in highschool (football), a competition bodybuilder classmate showed me his routine. One day was heavy chest and arms, light legs and back. Next day was the opposite. Following day was rest day/weekend. Repeat.

    He learned this from older body builders that also competed.
  5. Baron

    Baron ET Founder

    No, I stopped working out with him after I tore that muscle in my leg doing sprints over the summer. I am currently working out about 4 - 5 days per week using a split routine where I pick a major and a minor body part, and then do 7 sets of 8 - 12 reps of an exercise for each body part with virtually no rest in between.

    So for example, today I'm going to quads and abs. I will do 7 sets of dumbbell dead lifts and 7 sets of sit ups on a little ab machine I have. I usually alternate the whole time, so I'll do one set of dead lifts followed by one set of abs, .... rinse and repeat that 6 more times.

    Sometimes I will do three body parts for a total of 21 sets if I'm feeling really good, but I'm not feeling that good today. :(

    Ok, so why the high volume? Because I'm in fat loss mode right now and the increased volume keeps my energy expenditure up. I'm not really concerned about putting muscle on at this point. My workout is literally just a conditioning circuit to keep the effort high during a period of reduced caloric intake.
  6. Baron, apart from your reduced caloric intake, has the increased volume helped with your fat loss? I know it's a guess unless you've reduced calories and increased volume separately, but give it a best guess.
  7. Baron

    Baron ET Founder

    Yeah, the increased volume has definitely helped out in the fat loss department.
  8. Fair enough. But, unless you like the added exercise volume, wouldn't just being more attentive to your diet be more efficient?

    Also, just curious. How long have you been on this higher-volume regimen?
  9. Baron

    Baron ET Founder

    When you're going from 25% body fat to 15%, you can get there just by implementing a strict diet program. But when you're trying to go from 11% body fat to 7%, you basically have to pull out all the stops. Dieting alone won't get you there thanks to increased cortisol and reduced thyroid output. You have to be consistently expending more energy because your body is going to fight against you with everything it's got. Almost every person I know who's competed or tried to get into the single digits of body fat have said that working out 7 days a week is a requirement for achieving that goal. Nobody is going to be in the single digits piddling around in the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Now the magazines and the "Get Abs in 30 days" crowd might want you to believe there's all kinds of shortcuts, but that's just a fantasy.

    I've been doing it since the beginning of December. So it's been about two months.
  10. Ok, good luck and let us know how it goes.
    #10     Feb 8, 2018