Other/Mixed Unpopular Opinion: Upper Body Strength > Lower Body Strength in Life

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
This is completely an opinion and subject to change but I am under the impression that a strong upper body is more important in general life activities than a strong lower body.

How many people cannot lift awkward furniture or possibly fend for their lives in a grappling situation due to having weak legs? In fact, most people are limited by their grip or back strength rather than lower bodies.

Obviously when it comes to power and explosion development, nothing is better than heavy squats and pulls since force production begins from the ground up but when a certain baseline is established, that is rarely the weak link.

Agree? Disagree?
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
That’s a tough one. One could easily argue that the back is heavily tied to the lower body, especially in the cases of lifting objects. The arms however....

this just my opinion based off of what I’ve read and encountered in my own life:
I think there’s something to be said for the prevalence of rotator cuff/shoulder issues in aging populations correlating with a lack of moving and using the arms as one ages, especially in lifting the arms overhead.
Thankfully I hear less of it in my life, but there was a point where I was always having older folks telling me that kneeling too much at my job was going to “wear out the cartilage in my knees,” or that lifting weights overhead would injure my rotator cuffs. You use it or lose it.

Not being able to walk or lift things because of hip or leg issues is one thing, and not being able to use an arm (or both) to interact with the world the way you used to is an entirely different thing.

Dunno if that stayed on topic but it’s my two cents...
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
That’s a tough one. One could easily argue that the back is heavily tied to the lower body, especially in the cases of lifting objects. The arms however....

this just my opinion based off of what I’ve read and encountered in my own life:
I think there’s something to be said for the prevalence of rotator cuff/shoulder issues in aging populations correlating with a lack of moving and using the arms as one ages, especially in lifting the arms overhead.
Thankfully I hear less of it in my life, but there was a point where I was always having older folks telling me that kneeling too much at my job was going to “wear out the cartilage in my knees,” or that lifting weights overhead would injure my rotator cuffs. You use it or lose it.

Not being able to walk or lift things because of hip or leg issues is one thing, and not being able to use an arm (or both) to interact with the world the way you used to is an entirely different thing.

Dunno if that stayed on topic but it’s my two cents...
I completely agree with you regarding the importance of the spinal erectors and although being “upper body” are better worked in lower body lifts.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
When one looks and treats the body as a Frankenstein collection of parts there is always going to be a weak link.
The body is an interconnected organism.
We often hear the adage around here about trying to fire a cannon from a canoe...

To function at a high level in so called ‘real-world’ situations the whole being is important. Not one bit over another...

there is no core...
- Mark Twight
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
In my resistance training history, I have first trained with bodyweight, next with kettlebells, last with barbells.

I'd say that I have found more and more carryover to everyday life the further I went. Maybe it's a question of modality, maybe exercise selection, maybe overall development.

However, with the barbell, due to circumstances, I didn't train the different big lifts concurrently, but got relatively good on some before others. I started with the deadlift, the press. Later on did squats and bench.

The biggest overall feel of carryover that I got was from barbell squats.

I'm not sure if a lower body - upper body -division is sensible, especially if we consider the back and the midsection a part of the upper body, but which are far better trained by the lower body lifts like the squat and the deadlift. Or the grip, does it make sense to categorise it?
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
I don't find myself being limited by upper body strength. When I run into a lack of fitness it tends to be in the legs.
 

ShawnM

Level 8 Valued Member
I'm with @offwidth , we should never be training upper/lower or individual parts. No matter what I end up doing during the day, be it work related or just yard work, my body is working as one. Swings, snatches, deadlifts, squats of all types, barbell snatches ect..... train us to work as a whole for not just performance but just general quality of life. I know some people train individual body parts to get ready for Speedo Season, and that's fine, I guess. I would rather do a whole body movement so when I have to do something like lift furniture or whatever I don't really have a weak link as I train everything from head to toe all at once.
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member
I think if you work the work muscles (posterior) the show muscles (anterior) tend to handle themselves. Especially when you are doing full body exercises like deadlifts, military presses, goblet squats and chin ups.

About the legs, it's important to be mobile and decently strong but no need to have big or overly strong legs. As Ido Portal said : "Get a pair of Bamboo Legs on you and get rid of them ‘tree trunks’." I'd much rather have mobile and supple legs than large and overly strong ones.
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member
Why would you have to choose or pit the choices against each other?
Well, if you're doing allot of rucking or running large legs could lead to chafing. If you need to perform allot of chin ups or anything other hanging movements where large legs would weigh you down, having large legs would come at a disadvantage.

I think there's a big reason why Pavel said in Enter the Kettlebell that 'Fighting men ride chickens.' Large legs just don't offer the same mobility or suppleness as skinny but strong legs.
 

marvinthemartian

Level 5 Valued Member
All I know is that carrying pianos up and down stairs working as a mover was probably the most draining thing I have done in my life and the weight was carried by straps on my shoulders.

But yeah, we grab onto things with our hands to move them and the legs can probably overpower most peoples grip and biceps even if they focus on upper body training.
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
Well, if you're doing allot of rucking or running large legs could lead to chafing. If you need to perform allot of chin ups or anything other hanging movements where large legs would weigh you down, having large legs would come at a disadvantage.

I think there's a big reason why Pavel said in Enter the Kettlebell that 'Fighting men ride chickens.' Large legs just don't offer the same mobility or suppleness as skinny but strong legs.

Just how prevalent or relevant do you think the chafing thighs are in reality? How big would the legs have to be or how much you would have to run or ruck?

Regarding the lack of mobility or acrobatics with big and strong legs, just have a look at Jon Call / jujimufu. Of course you could say that he's an outlier, but just the same I could say that the vast majority of the big and strong guys just aren't that interested in improving their mobility or flexibility.
 

q.Hung

Level 6 Valued Member
This is completely an opinion and subject to change but I am under the impression that a strong upper body is more important in general life activities than a strong lower body.
My idea is: the weak link in your body will drag you down. That could be a muscle, a join, a cut in your meat...I will try to narrow down my idea in this discussion to the muscle (the amount of muscle in a certain area and the ability to using it).

With that thinking, I may change your question to which part of the body usually get neglect/which part of the body usually gives up first in your chosen activity/where does that muscle(s) locate?

For me in real life, the most physical challenge is usually related to akward objects things that's not easy to grab/hold and have very bad leverage to lift up. So truly it's the whole body thing where the upper body in charged of wrapping the object (and handle the pain/annoy while doing it) and the lower body in charges lifting it.

But I agree that the upper body strength is more important than people thought. And I disagree with the idea that the anterior chain is the show or what ever. O-lifter usually posts the picture of there backs because it has muscle. Many Strongfirst people do similar things: post picture of the back on Instagram. Muscle is muscle and show off is show off. In front or behind is the same.

But I digress. The biceps, the chest do plenty of work when you carry heavy things in front of you. (North Miller has posted about this, I will find it later). So do the forearms. And the abs muscle. And if you bike uphill or push the car then the shin muscles and quads will work hard. Again, muscle is muscle and work is work. In front or behind is the same.
 

silveraw

Level 7 Valued Member
or Clarence Kennedy (my favorite vegan natty bodybuilder anime character).

or Fred Hatfield.
Let’s not forget the eight time Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman.

718176370b2fba998caff9f1743ccc37.jpg
 
Top Bottom