The bodybuilding template a lot of people adopt seems to go for a 2 to 1 ratio of upper body to legs which, to me, comes across as absolute madness for true health and longevity and could probably explain a lot of injuries as a result of being too top heavy. I always think most of our function comes from the feet upwards and that legs make up over 50% of our body in terms of musculature so surely an upper body, lower body workout or whole body workout has to be the way forward to true health and balance.
Additionally, the lower body releases greater amounts of testosterone than the upper portions of the body so in terms of gaining optimal results, how could you possibly achieve your optimum doing a 2:1 ratio from upper body to lower body?
Let’s look at our most significant survival tactics: running, sprinting, throwing, climbing, walking and fighting. These activities shout out oblique’s, chest, back, arms, glutes, hips, core, and the heart. When you look at it from that perspective you look at training differently, and to achieve that whilst building muscle, you need to train each body part 3 x a week and, if you’re serious about building functional muscle with mass, we are looking at a guy or girl training Sunday to Friday and resting on Saturday, i.e. training 6 x a week. Of course 6 sessions per week is for someone who’s either very devoted to a long term bodybuilding career or someone who loves building muscle and staying injury free and healthy.
On leg days you want to be able to do:
- Squats – back squats, front squats and overhead squats for functionality, flexibility and pure strength.
- Lunges – walking, reverse and normal on the spot, or from a platform.
- Leg extensions and leg curls for getting lots of blood into the quads and hamstrings.
- Running to get a lot of repetitions, blood and volume into the leg, as well as for fat burning and muscular benefits e.g. training 20 minutes at a strong pace.
- Deadlifts for strong hamstrings, spine and posture, as well as skeletal health
- Clean and jerk snatches for whole body functionality.
- One leg squats and one leg deadlifts, as well as balance drills, for great coordination, balance, motor skills, strength, flexibility and preventing injury.
In terms of the upper body, I’ve noticed bodybuilders get great results just sticking to the basics. So, for the upper back try exercises such as deadlifts, wide grip deadlifts, wide grip lat pulldowns, lat pulldowns, prone rows, bent over rows, wide grip bench presses, narrow grip bench presses, inclines, decline bench presses, military presses, curls and push ups.
This regime isn’t for the average person who want to get in to fitness, it’s more for the muscle mad admirers, there is a place in it for some but it’s not for everyone. It’s a massive discipline and hard work. If you want to learn more and train like this feel free to come and see me or a member of my team.