T Nation

Huge Strength Imbalance Between Upper/Lower Body. What's Up?


#1

I’ve noticed that I can deadlift maybe once every 1-2 weeks and get amazing results (as far as increasing the weight on the bar) with very little planning and programming. Same goes for variations of the deadlift (RDL) and other posterior chain exercises (barbell Hip thrusts, one arm snatches, hamstring curls). I pretty much change up rep schemes on these exercises every time I do them (as long as it’s an improvement from the last sessions). My question is: why is it that I can make progress very easily on these exercises, but other lifts such as the bench press, Overhead press, and squat progress a lot slower and require a periodzed approach with increased frequency? To really give you a better understanding of how big the rift is between lifts, here are some of my recent accomplishments at a bodyweight of 155

  1. one arm snatch: 100lbs dumbbell
  2. barbell hip thrust: 315 for reps
  3. deadlift max: 490
  4. bench max: only 235
  5. strict standing overhead press max: only 140

A lot of the posterior chain exercises took me as little as a couple months to work up to even without training them frequently (expect for the deadlift which took a few years), while the bench and overhead press have taken FOREVER to increase even with a periodzed approach.
Is this just inherent in the lifts themselves, a genetic pre-disposition (limb length, natural strength in certain muscles as apposed to others) or maybe a combination of the two?


#2

Thats not really a big discrepancy IMO. A 235 bench is better than most 155 pounders in the gym. And yes the upper body lifts do tend to progress at a lower rate than the lower body lifts.


#3

I guess you’re right. My squat isn’t really that much either (barely a 315 max). I use a stance like raw squatters use which is more quad dominant. I’m thinking it might just have something to do with having strong gluteus and hams honestly.


#4

If you want your bench to go up you’ll probably need to gain weight honestly. If you’re natural it’s going ti be a struggle getting it up while maintaining weight. But as stated before, 235 at 155 isn’t bad at all. As far as the 315 goes, your body may not be built to squat. Not to say you cant build a good squat, but it’ll just take more work. Same with overhead. My bench is pretty good, but my overhead sucks. Just something that takes time and patience.


#5

Could be body type. Do you have long limbs (for your height) and a shorter torso?


#6

My legs. Not so much the arms. I’ve always had a pretty easy time setting up for the deadlift as well as maintain form even with heavy weight. I pulled 490 conventional and not sumo so I’m guessing that prob wouldn’t be possible to do all that without perfect limb length. The opposite body structure would be beneficial for squat right? Longer torso compared to the legs? This might explain why I’m not a great squatter despite having the strength in the muscles necessary for it


#7

Yeah, longer legs tend to favor hip dominant movement. Meaning that the deadlift variations and hip thrust should be naturally strong. Its not so much your upper body that is too weak but rather that you have bod leverage for bip dominant movements.