If you're like most athletes, you're probably looking to maximize your Squat and Bench. But I'll bet you don't train your leg and back muscles more than twice a week.
Leg and back muscles are two of the most important muscle groups overlooked in training. Let's take a closer look and provide a back and leg workout.
Legs (Glutes, Hamstrings and Quads)
I'm sure you've heard of the principle of "sport-specificity." To get better at your sport, you need to play your sport. The same principle applies to weight training. If you want to get a stronger Bench Press, you need to do more presses!
Follow me for a second. Have you ever seen a gigantic redwood tree with a teensy, weensy trunk supporting it? I don't think so. Redwood trees have thick, strong, and sturdy trunks. Same with the human body. Do you think your body will naturally support a large upper frame if your lower frame is small and fragile? No way, José. You'll be setting yourself up for compensation injuries. A weak lower body weakens your upper body by not giving it the support it needs.
I suggest that all my athletes at ShowUp Fitness train their legs twice as much as their upper bodies. Remember, the wider and stronger your base, the stronger and bigger your entire body will become. This translates into a bigger and better Bench Press.
Back (Latissimus Dorsi/Traps)
We are a nation obsessed with the Bench Press. I agree, it's a staple for sports performance, but the average person doesn't take a holistic approach when it comes to training the chest. We think like cavemen: "Me want stronger chest, me Bench Press lots of weight."
But what supports the chest and arms during the Bench Press? The back! If we strengthen the lats and add some size to our backside, it will transfer into anterior pressing strength and power. Additionally, if you are benching with proper form (elbows at 8 and 4 o'clock and squeezing your middle back on the way down), you'll be engaging your back during your benching exercises.
Here's an easy way to understand this: think about how you would push a bully. You would not flare up your elbows with your arms parallel to the ground because that's weaksauce. Instead, you would tuck your elbows in, strong and stable, right by your side—awesomesauce.
Here's the bottom line: If you want to become a functionally strong and powerful athlete, you need to train your legs and back. Try this back and leg workout for the next month and watch your size and your Bench Press shoot through the roof! Add another STACK.com chest and shoulder workout to make it complete.
Day 1: Legs and back
Day 2: Chest and shoulders
Day 3: Legs and back
Day 4: Chest and shoulders
Day 5: Legs and back
Days 6 & 7: Rest / cardio / flexibility
Back and Leg Workout
End with 1 set of 30 Lunges and max Pull-Ups.
- Todd Durkin's World-Class Workouts: Get Stronger Legs With No Equipment
- 2 Exercises for a Better Back Workout
- Build Back Strength With Your Body Weight
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock