February 22, 2021

Fix Your Arms & Legs!

Hey, are you training your body right? Do your workouts include the right types of exercises for your arms and legs? I know you want to feel strong and fit. I know you want legs that can squat down, step up high, and leap when you need to, full of power of strength. And I know you want arms that can carry heavy things, and can reach and pull without feeling weak! But you might be making some training mistakes, and if so, I’d hate for you to keep doing what you’re doing, hoping to make progress. So today, let me clear it all up for you and teach you what to do and what not to do to fix your upper and lower body and make it really strong.

Why posture and core strength matters first:

  1. If you want strong, powerful and resilient arms and legs, it’s so important to have good posture (alignment) and a strong core first.
  2. Picture this: Let’s say you’ve got toy figurine, like a GI Joe or a Barbie. And their arms and legs are really stiff and sturdy, but the middle of their body is mushy, almost like a beanbag. If you were to try to move that toy around and make it go through motions, it would still be really floppy and all over the place. It doesn’t really matter strong the limbs are, if the middle of the body isn’t strong.
  3. So our very first “What NOT to do” of today’s episode, is don’t just train your arms and legs. You can’t expect to feel and be your strongest self if your trunk is not getting the proper attention it deserves.
    • When your core is sturdy and firing well things just operate so much better, like even your single leg balance. Plus, you’re less likely to get injuries, especially back injuries.
    • Story: There’s a private gym that I sometimes fill in at as a trainer when their regular trainer is out of town, and I get the opportunity to work with new clients…it’s kind of tricky because I’m just hopping in to wherever they’re at in their regular workouts.
      • One guy I worked with a couple times prefers to just do a bunch targeted upper body and lower body exercises, like biceps curls, arm raises, the leg press machine, calf raises, etc.
      • The problem is he’s spending so much time targeting these muscles on his limbs, but his trunk gets ZERO attention. And because of that his back is constantly in pain and he’s never going to reach his body’s full strength potential.
    • All that to say, yes, training your limbs is important, but if you’re not spending time focusing on your core, you’ll be missing the mark.

What NOT to do when training your arms and legs, your upper and lower body:

  • Don’t just spot train or target specific muscles
  • Don’t do just single joint exercises
  • Don’t ignore balancing out your movements
  • Don’t do super high reps with low weights
  • Don’t do the same thing over and over and over again
  • Don’t do jumping and power-style movements until you have a strong foundation

What TO DO when training your upper and lower body:

  • Target and train movements, rather than specific muscles
    • Upper body – horizontal push/pull, vertical push/pull
    • Lower body – squat, hinge, lunge, bilateral and unilateral
    • Full body coordination – rotational and anti-rotational movements like chopping lifts
  • Balance out your movements – for every rep of pushing, do a rep of pulling
  • Use moderate to heavy resistance – 6-15 reps max
  • Change things up frequently. Stick with a movement long enough to master it and get strong with it, then move on to something else.
  • Use proper progressions to prevent injuries – squat, then staggered, then split stance, then lunge, then small hops, then squat jumps, then lunge jumps.

So, the BIG TAKEAWAY is:

  • For a body that is truly strong and feeling its absolute best…
    • Pay attention to your posture and make sure that all the major segments of your body are lining up well
    • Then build your core strength and get your entire trunk activating and firing to provide a strong and sturdy foundation for the rest of your body
    • And then finally, train the major movements of your body in a balanced fashion, trusting that when you train your body like this, you will be targeting all of your muscles in a functional way and you’ll be stronger and more fit than ever before.

    Hopefully now you have a good understanding of what you should be focusing on as you’re training and exercising your body. But, I don’t expect you to have this all figured out and now have the ability to go design complete workout programs for yourself that check all these boxes and give your body exactly what it needs.

© 2020 VIGEO, LLC