T Nation

Mixed Hypertrophy/Strength?

My lower body is much better developed compared to my upper. So assuming I want to increase upper body size and maintain lower body size but get stronger, anyone see anything wrong with doing a mixed workout? 5-7 reps for lower body exercises, 10-12 for upper body?

I think this will result in spontanous combustion. Just kidding, thought about doing that same thing myself, but haven’t yet. I don’t think there should be anything wrong with it.

Thanks DK. Anyone else have an opinion? My only major concern is that I might mess with my CNS - giving it different messages. But I’m probably going to try it anyway just to see what happens. I might just find out if that method of training works best for me!

IMO, that type of mixed training may lead to better CNS recovery. During the heavy leg exercises, the CNS will be most fatigued, whereas classical hypertrophy training is less neurally taxing. I think that your plan is very well suited to meet your needs.

Just my two cents here - depending on your training history you might well see big gains for your lower body, in particular if you are used to training your lower body in the 10-12 rep range. I agree that 5-7 reps train the neural efficiency more than 10-12 reps do, but you still fatigue your muscles and might promote growth that way (I believe neural efficiency, i.e. pure strength, is best trained with least fatigue, i.e. very few reps and long rest intervalls - in a way like Dave Tates workout in this weeks T-mag). If you really want to improve your upper body you should concentrate on your chest and back with the big movements and reduce your leg workout, i.e. save some of the energy that you would use to train your strong body parts and put that instead into the exercises that promote your lagging body parts.
But then again, that might just my idea of setting priorities. The only thing that counts is what works for you and there is really no way to say that your plan wouldn’t.

5-7 reps, with 4 second negatives, is surely
not so heavy as to make hypertrophy unlikely.
It could be quite effective for hypertrophy.

And you are not likely to add great strength to the lower body while avoiding adding any size.

If you don’t want a bodypart to grow bigger,
then planning on keeping strength the same
is the most realistic.

What you could do is reduce reps even further,
and de-emphasize the negatives as much as possible. You could also utilize Olympic
lifts, dropping the weight if you have bumper plates and a suitable platform. I would also do low percent RM, non-maximal effort higher rep work for the sake of reducing risk of injury.

Hey aikigreg, as an aside, do you find
isolation-style exercises screw up your
aikido training (if you’re still training)?
That was always my experience. I have to
stick to compound exercises (standing military,
deadlifts, etc) and bodyweight exercises or
else I get all tense on the mat, esp. in the
shoulders. And in aikido, you know the
importance of relaxed shoulders :slight_smile:

if you want to gain size in your upper body and maintain lower body size, won’t you need to gain some weight? I say add some calories, and just prioritize upper body, while still doing the same volume for lower body.

BTW - thanks Bill! That makes a lot of sense and I’ll see about incorporating that. I’ve just been training with 10-12 so darn long that halving it seems like no effort at all!

SLM - right now I’m not training, no. It’s most unfortunate but my priority is lifting and my poor body can’t take the stress of the joint-locks AND the weightlifting. so for now it’s just the lifting. But I can’t imagine muscle tension being a huge factor. A few solid high hardfalls and you’ll be nice and loose :). Just get someone to throw a few kotegaishis on ya, and you’ll be fine!

seriously though - a LOT of stretching. Stretch every day for at least 15 minutes and you should be fine.