T Nation

Legs and Upper Body Correlation


I have been working out now for nearly 3 years. In that time I have trained legs on and off. My legs are naturally big, coming out of a cut at 10% bf, having only trained legs for a month doing just squats my legs were 26". There about 27" now and I did my first real squat workout today for first time in a month.

I do like how they keep bf down. And I do like having some muscle defintion and mobility strength in my legs. But I personally dont have the greatest recovery abilities. 3-4 day splits tend to be the max for me, if I like getting stronger. And legs take a lot out of you.

Ive been on the fence of just dropping legs all together or maybe squatting twice a month. Im wondering if there actually any real evidence that one will achieve a better upper body if they work legs.


no evidence at all. train the muscles you want to grow.


To each his own, but I find it sad that you'd settle for 27" legs. Mine are at that right now and I consider them one of my weakest parts in terms of size and am making them a priority in my training.


as you are probably aware measurements like this are irrelevant without knowing more about this guy. Height and BF% could make those 27 inchers skinny or monstrous.


True. I still think he's just looking for an excuse not to train legs.


Sounds like you are just making excuses.


Maybe he is. But if he is genuinely happy with the size of his legs and maintains them easily then there is no point working them for the sake of it. Your upper body will definately be better able to recover and grow if you havent got a large recovery drain like legs holding you back. This is how specialisation works. We've all seen kids in the gym who train nothing but arms and chest and grow from it. Doesnt mean they are building a strong or pleasing physique though.

OP your upper body will grow if you train it to. I personally see no reason to not train legs regularly though. If they truly are a strong point I would perhaps just do a couple of exercises for them at the end of other upper body workouts. Maybe end a workout with Squats 1 day and Deadlifts on another. My 2 cents.


I understand this is bodybuilding so size reigns supreme; however, I think maintaining strength and stability of the posterior chain is absolutely crucial to longevity in the lifting game as well as a pain free life. He doesn't have to train legs for size anymore, but can surely keep some heavy squats or RDLs in there just for sake of maintaining strength.


OP: if you have trained your legs off and on and seen good growth in that time, it just looks like low frequency is the right approach for you when it comes to legs. From a sheer overall fitness and performance standpoint, I'd say it wouldn't be wise to drop them all together.

You say you have troubles recovering. Do you ever do soft tissue or flexibility work on your legs?


basketball is enough to tone up your legs


Too bad, you could use leg work to increase vertical. When I played ball, I used to tie myself down with elastics in a power rack and jump against the force. Then I would do box squats. Then leg press and calf raises with a lot of speed, taking care to never let momentum do the job for me. Nothing fancy, I was 17 and didn't have a (strength) coach nor did I know much about training, but it gave me decent hops.

(My upper body days consisted of bench presses, bicep curls and overhead tricep extensions. Typical 17 y o kid workout).


Recovery is what I was getting at. If legs are going to tax my body and lead to slowing down PR's in upper body lifts Id rather not do them. But if they wont and will help my upper body in some way I could see myself doing them. Im 5'10, 225lbs and 15% BF. In 3 years of training consistently ive barely trained legs at all. Last cut i decided to train them on a cut in a deficit. In one month my squats went from 185x5 ATG to 345x5 ATG and my legs were in proportion with my upper body. In a month. So basically I see it as, if they ever get too small, I can get them to catch up in a month or two and be in proportion, easy.

I probably had 28" thighs then and could fit into 30 waist jeans. So I had to actually wear 36 waist jeans for my legs to fit. Wasnt too great.


Its about that time.

Pics of untrained 27" legs.

No close ups of the quads and crotch please.


Is it really that hard to believe? there not untrained, they just have not been consistantly trained. Ive probably done legs 3 good squat workouts in past 3 months,


u dont even look like u lift for a guy on the vitamin T


squats will work upper body - if they are heavy enough. im talking at least 2x bw. there aint no way everyting isnt working when you have 500lbs on your back.
BUT (big but here), its not the same as actually doing upper body exercises


Its not that I dont believe it's possible for anyone to have 27" legs without training but how could anyone give an opinion without seeing them.


Regardless of what I look like, I can change my body, but you cant change that face. Damn


damn that was cold dude, why is everyone so mean on this board.