The legs are usually overlooked by beginners in bodybuilding because of the emphasis on upper body strength and silhouette. This is a mistake because the legs carry the weight and complement the shape of the upper body. Plus, studies have shown that leg strength contributes to upper body strength.
Go Back to Upper Body Exercises Soon
When you’re experiencing back pain, you are less likely to engage in exercises, whether these are for strength training or for cardio endurance. You cannot even perform leg exercises because the movements can worsen the pain in your back.
Researchers, however, have found that runners with back pain can benefit from adding lunges and squats, both of which are leg exercises, to their weekly routine. In a study involving 84 recreational runners, the participants were asked to complete eight weeks of lumbar stabilization exercises, lumbar extensor exercises, or lower limb training. They were also asked to report their pain levels, as well as to undergo tests on their lower leg strength, running gait and ability, and back muscle function during and after the study.
The researchers found that leg strength exercises increased running step length and knee extensor strength. Plus, these exercises also increased back muscle function and decreased lower back pain.
The bottom line: Leg exercises can provide relief for back pain and, thus, contribute to upper body strength. You can, after all, return to your upper body exercises soon.
Perform High Volume Leg Workouts
In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning in 2018, researchers found that lower body resistance training contribute to increased upper body strength. In it, 20 men who have resistance training experience were asked to participate in either:
- Mixed resistance training involving high intensity exercises for the upper body and high volume exercises for the lower body; or
- High intensity resistance training for the lower and upper body
The researchers measured the participants’ power output and upper body maximal strength. The participants who were involved in mixed resistance training developed significantly higher power production and bench press strength.
The bottom line: Again, you should give your legs the right focus they deserve not only for the sake of symmetry but, more importantly, because these are instrumental in upper body strength development.
Ask your personal trainer at Planet Fitness about the best lower body workout for you. You have to account for your legs’ current physical condition and your fitness goals when discussing your workout.