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Old 01-30-2015, 07:44 AM   #1
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Default Upper body vs lower body volume

My question is, should legs be treated the same as any other muscle group?

Typically on full body workouts legs would have around the same weekly sets as other muscle groups. On the other hand, upper/lower workouts would typically give legs way more attention.

For example, say I'm doing this full body workout 2x per week.

Squats - 3x8
Press - 3x8
Rows - 3x8
Bench - 3x8
Chins - 3x8
Dips - 3x8

This seems balanced as it has 3 sets of a compound movement for legs, shoulders, back, chest, biceps and triceps 2x per week. But this means that lower body would only get 6 sets/week and upper body would get 30 sets/week.

However, If you were to take that full body workout and split it into an upper/lower workout the days would be extremely unbalanced.

Upper Body:
Press - 3x8
Rows - 3x8
Bench - 3x8
Chins - 3x8
Dips - 3x8

Lower Body:
Squats - 3x8

If this routine was done 2x per week it would have the same volume as the full body workout. But typically the lower body would not be treated as a muscle group equal to any other, but half of the body. It would normally get quite a lot more volume than in the routine above, possible equal to the upper body's volume.

So back to my question, should legs be treated the same as any other muscle group? Should they get more volume than other muscle groups?
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:03 AM   #2
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I've been thinking about this lately as well. As a powerlifter, my main goal is to get good at 3 lifts, 2 of which would appear to be dominated by the lower body. But I've actually started to put much more emphasis on my upper body lately. My logic is that your lower body only moves in so many ways. The knees extend and flex, and although the hips are a bit more complex and move in different directions, they aren't nearly as complex as the shoulders.

The squat and the deadlift (and they're variations) really do pretty much everything I need for the lower body. But the upper body really needs a much larger number of movements to hit everything I need to hit, so the question becomes this- If you apply the same volume to both the upper and lower body, you have to do less volume for each upper body muscle simply because there is more to hit. So how do you balance it?

That's what I've been messing with lately, and I'm finding that it's more important on the lower body to stick with just a couple movements and vary the intensity (using both high and low reps), where as it's more important on the upper body to use a ton of different movements and use higher reps and volume, only going heavy on the bench and bench variations.
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:09 PM   #3
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I do less exercises on leg day but the intensity is much higher. Most of us can push heavier weight with our legs than compared to our upper body.

So I perform less exercises on leg day but push much more weight.



* I changed work to exercises, used wrong wording.
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:21 PM   #4
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That's a hard question. It has a lot of factors, for example, if someone is not deadlifting and they should be able to more volume for squatting or lower body related exercises, particularly in the posterior chain.

Everyone finds what they like. So far, I like roughly even amount of work sets for Upper Body Pressing and Lower Body, and Upper Body pulling based on how much energy I have left. In the end it surprisingly comes up to about 2x more work for upper body.
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Old 01-31-2015, 08:24 AM   #5
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Its just the way it is. Less muscles to work on the legs. IMO the minimum amount of exercises you need for the legs would be 3: Front/high bar squats, good mornings/SLDL, and then something for the calves and das it man!

With that said, I do more than that, but that would work all the muscles involved.
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Old 01-31-2015, 08:45 AM   #6
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In my world there is no sense in working the biggest muscles on the body, the least.

If I were to split that up into a lower/upper split I would do something like this.

Upper
Bench press 5x5
Press 3x8
Rows 3x8
Chips / dips 3-5x8

Lower
Squat 3x8
Deadlift 8,6,4,2,2
Row 3-5x8 (Cant row to much!)

For me personally I would also trow in 3-5 sets of paused squats every other week.
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:49 AM   #7
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Why does everybody recommend full body to beginners if the legs should be worked more?
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big_swede View Post
In my world there is no sense in working the biggest muscles on the body, the least.

If I were to split that up into a lower/upper split I would do something like this.

Upper
Bench press 5x5
Press 3x8
Rows 3x8
Chips / dips 3-5x8

Lower
Squat 3x8
Deadlift 8,6,4,2,2
Row 3-5x8 (Cant row to much!)

For me personally I would also trow in 3-5 sets of paused squats every other week.
Does that mean the upper/lower would be more effective as you can do more volume for the lower body?
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manlet View Post
Why does everybody recommend full body to beginners if the legs should be worked more?
That's what I'm wondering
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bencampbell View Post
Does that mean the upper/lower would be more effective as you can do more volume for the lower body?
Yes. It also leaves room to throw in some additional Isolation exercises if one got power left after the compounds.
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