T Nation

Rant: What happened above the waist?

This may seem out of place, but its a legitamate question.

What happened to the glory of the upper body? It seems like the squat is king, and Deadlift the queen. Don’t get me wrong, deadlifts and squats are cool. But people seems to think there the keystone. Recently on the forums there was even a poster who didn’t want to train upper body, except to keep things even. Something seems wrong here. No longer is Bench the feared and revered. Big arms are gone, and broad shoulders are out of style. Now we seem to go crazy for leg strength, and a$$ might. I deadlift and squat, but I still think the upper body is where its at. Are there any survivers out there, that still think bench is king, and arms are more then a tool for putting plates on the bar for squats?

Well, you see there was this girl and well, you know how it goes and about one week later there was this itchy, scabby…

Oh, sorry, you said ABOVE the waist.


Ah, I agree.

“The waist is a terrible thing to mind”

~ Tom Wilson

Most gyms that you go into today still have the same old trainees training ALL upper body and NO lower extremities.

Bench, bench, bench, blah, blah, blah.

The majority will never change.
It’s those with the knowledge that apply a well-rounded approach which in turn delivers the total package. A complete and solid pyhsique from head to toe.

I agree with bodyiq. The vast majority of reletively large people I see at my gym are large in the upper body alone. In other words, they all have chicken legs. Despite the presence of some great equipment, I very rarely see anyone doing heavy squats/deads and even more rarely do I see people doing olympic lifts. Most the people I see are just working on beach muscles.

You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe. A strong upper body is useless without a a strong base.

Besides, deadlifts will work your lats and grip. Olympic lifts are, IMO, total body exercises that will work both halves.

Hey Cupcake - If the girsl doesn’t charge at least $50 for the night, you need to move on or risk getting that, uh, whatever it is you’ve got.

Had, Mike…HAD!!!..




But what I think that Tiree is saying is that arms don’t get no lovin’ anymore. It seems that EVERYTHING gets more “play” (except in this months FLEX where this month we take you INSIDE Ronnie Coleman’s arm routine for only the 5th time this year! You had better buy this issue, because we’re only going to run this 5 MORE TIMES until 2004!).

I, myself LOVE Arm day, of course I am also rather fond of Back day, Leg day, Shoulder day, Chest day and Abs and Calf days too. Actually, come to think of it, the only days I don’t like are Off days…

Anyway, it seems like no one works arms directly anymore and your comment on “Beach muscles” is correct but don’t forget, those are also your “Nekkid muscles”!

“Justice is a concept. Muscle is the reality”

~ Linda Blandford

Okay Cupdude,

It depends what you’re going for. Right now my focus is functional strength. For instance, I like to ski – big biceps won’t cut it going down the mountain. Also, I’m married with a kid and a mortgage - my wife isn’t going to leave me unless I balloon up to 300 lbs., and it’s not like I troll the bars for vixens. In short - it don’t matter what I look like nekkid.


After seeing Chris Thib’s transformation, I began thinking that I wouldn’t mind looking like that. He also mentioned that upper body strength helped is Olympic lifting. I’d like to get into O lifting, and if a few curls will help the lifts, I’m all for it.

Keep in mind I’m not against upper body training - I’ve always done heavy overhead presses, which I like to do better than bench.

I agree with body IQ, no comprimises between above the waist and below. I’ve seen guys with giant legs and no upper body… sometimes you wonder if a midget is inside some other guys shirt riding him around. I’ve seen all too many guys with huge upper bodies and no lower body development, these guys look like some sort of cruel plastic surgery experiment gone wrong. Got to be well rounded, after all bodybuilding is about symetry and composistion.

Deadlifts will put more upper body mass on than most any other exercise.

It’s all about having the classic X physique, rather than looking like a prawn.

And the big movers like deads and squats do a lot more to aid the release of growth hormone than most any other lift. This affects overall body mass to a much higher degree than upper body specialization.