Although this post is meant for anyone interested in making some major changes to their body, I’m definitely directing it more towards the dudes out there.
Guys, check it out.
You might be doing some bench pressing, pull-ups, rows, or other upper body exercises. But in my experience, it is not rare to see a guy drop heavy lower body training from his routine. Just delete it from the program.
“I ride my bike to work.”
“My legs are already strong. I walk around during the day.”
“I run 3x/week. No need to train my legs.”
“I did a jumping jack yesterday.”
Bull snot. These are the same guys that will complain to me about having extra fat on their stomach. Once they started adding in heavy leg training, that stomach fat started to go away.
As far as I know, unless you’re a “bro”, you’re not looking for the “popsicle” look. A big upper body that looks like it’s about to teeter over from the puny support of the twigs underneath. No thanks. But it’s not all about looks.
When it comes to getting strong and lean, few training modalities will do better than loading your legs up with some heavy weights. You can do numerous sets with light or moderate weights, but it simply won’t have the same effect.
There’s one main reason for that…
Studies have shown that training the lower body with compound movements for multiple sets (3-5) with heavy loads (5-8 reps) has the greatest effect on testosterone and growth hormone release. Shorter rest periods increase the release of these hormones even more. Both of these hormones initiate several processes in the body:
– muscle/protein synthesis.
– increased bone density/strength.
– encourage the use of fats for fuel.
If you want to get leaner overall, I guarantee you’re going to see the best results when you train your legs heavy. That includes dropping fat for the upper body (your belly :0). Train your legs heavy, and your entire body will change.
As far as exercise choice, you have three basic lifts from which to choose. Squast, deadlifts and single leg work. If you don’t know how to do any of these exercises, obviously you’re going to want to start light and work on your form with some higher rep training for 2-3 months. Then you can start packing on some weight.
Now, there’s a catch with heavy leg training.
It’s really freaking hard, and it’s a huge strain on your body. Which is why most people avoid it completely. Please don’t be one of those people.
If you’re a guy who trains the crap out of his upper body and can’t seem to get rid of stubborn belly fat, then throw in some deads, squats, or bulgarian split squats 2-3x/week.
Now, ladies, this part is for you ;).
If you’re a woman who can’t seem to change the shape of her body no matter what you do, then heavy lower body training is the missing ingredient. Please don’t be afraid of getting HUGE. You won’t. Yes, you may initially gain some muscle/weight/inches in the hips and thighs. But if all you do is high rep training you’ll never get strong. You’ll never maximize your leanness. And…sorry to say – you’ll never truly change the shape of your body. A boatload of high reps basically burns calories. Period. Heavy weights build muscle, utilize body fat for fuel, increase your metabolism for 48 hours and…oh yeah, they burn calories as well :-).