I am a 34 year old, 6 foot 9 (not a typo), 274 pound male. For the past 2.5 months I have been on a relatively intense weight training and cardio regimen. I have made some very significant gains towards my goals greater muscular strength and endurance, fat loss, and overall fitness. However, something has me confused.
My strength gains in my lower body are eclipsing the relative gains in my upper body. At this time I am weight training almost exclusively on machines. Do not give me grief on this point. I will be transitioning to free weights soon enough but for now this is working for me. I am not currently in the mindset to be training on form nor dealing with the social and scheduling dynamic of working with a partner. When I started training I was maxxing out at 6-12 reps using 1/4 to 1/3 of the plates on most machines for both upper and lower body. Now I am finding that I am doing 6-12 reps using about 2/3 the plates on the lower body machines and barely half the plates on the upper body machines. My leg improvements are also visibly more apparent.
I realize I may simply be wired to develop this way genetically. Also, I spend more time training on upper body days than on lower (more muscle groups) so it may be that I am overtraining upper body. I have another theory I would like to present that I would like your opinions on. I train using the following schedule.
Day 1 Upper Body Weight Training
Day 2 Cardio
Day 3 Lower Body Weight Training
Day 4 Cardio
Day 5 Upper Body Weight Training
Day 6 Cardio
Day 7 Lower Body Weight Training
Day 8 Cardio
Day 9 Upper Body Weight Training
And so on (yes I throw in rest days) …
On my cardio days I do some fairly high intensity endurance training on cross-trainer machines. I maintain a target heart rate of 165 for around one hour.
I have read that cardio or any high rep low resistance exercise increases muscle capillary density thereby improving the muscle delivery, and waste removal mechanisms which improves efficiency, growth, and recovery.
Cross-training machines allow you to work the upper and lower body simultaneously. I, like most people predominantly work my legs. I assume that since my legs are taking the vast majority of the load they are gaining the most improvement in terms of capillary density. Is this a valid assumption? If so, might I be able to focus on working my upper body as hard if not harder than my legs and see the same benefits there?