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Do I Have To Work My Legs?
I'm a 21 year old male with no history of injuries. I've been working out for 4 months pretty diligently. I work out 2 days-on and one day off. During the two workout days, I alternate chest, shoulders, and triceps with back, biceps, and abs. Only supplement I've been taking is whey protein everyday either right after working out or middle of the day sometime. I'm 6' tall, and my current body fat is around 16% at a weight of 170.
I want to decrease my body fat level to about 8% and get big enough to bench over 200 (currently I rep 155). I'm gonna start using Creatine, ECA, and Myoplex as supplements with hope that I'd get cut and get bigger at the same time (although, I've heard that it's not possible to do both).
Some people have told me that I'm not maximizing my growth potential, because I'm not doing leg exercises. I think my legs are big-boned and big enough that I don't really need to, but what's the truth? And is it possible to get cut and grow muscle at the same time?
Well, I would have to agree that if you do not train your legs you are not going to reach your potential unless your goal was to have the best chicken legs of all time. Training large muscle groups such as the legs produces a natural release of anabolic hormones in the body. This may or may not cause a difference in body composition, but you will notice that most of the quality leg movements also cause a large amount of calorie expenditure.
Some research has even shown that the upper body can grow during intense squat training. You can look at the sport of Weightlifting to see that a low volume of upper body work with a high-intensity lower body work can still result in appreciable gains in the upper body. In other words, there may be a positive carry over from compound exercises in the lower body to upper body development. It is also hard to build the lower back without many of the core lower body lifts. This is important from an injury perspective point.
The more important question is why would you want to have unbalanced training? Even if you do not want to spend a considerable time in the development in your legs you can use a core lift two to three times a week. This would include a deadlift, squat, or Olympic lift. Simply use the exercise early in your routine and keep the amount of sets high and the number of repetitions low. This higher tension method will allow for greater strength of the lower body without a great deal of hypertrophy. I would still ask you to consider training the lower body to fill out your body and to bring you towards your goals. As I have stated in previous posts, hybrids in many Olympic lift variations allow one to burn a great deal of body fat. This is something you really want to consider when constructing your program.