What body part should I focus on?
I heard Dan John talk about a funny little formula created by Dane Miller.
A + B + C = D
A = Lower body work
B = Upper body work
C = Core/midline work
D = Performance
Here's what he had to say:
"If you improve your lower body strength (A), almost always D (performance) goes up. With B (upper body work), if you improve on it, you never know about D. Upper body work doesn't always lead to increases in performance.
But here's the key, if you drop C, performance always decreases."
Doing more upper body work at the expense of lower body or ab wall work is almost universally a mistake. Yet it's what most male athletes do.
I've always thought "if you had to only pick one area to train for athletic performance, it should be the lower body." Why?
Because squats and deadlifts incorporate a hell of a lot of midline - so they have built in core development. This combo seems to transition much better to athletic performance.
That's not to say upper body strength is useless - would you want to get tackled by someone that benches 140kg?
But it won't provide the same bang for your buck as lower body and core work.
Obviously, we aim for a nice balance between all 3 areas. Our lower body consists of mostly squat and deadlift variations - both double and single leg.
We stick to push and pull for the upper body - think pull-up, bench press, row and overhead press.
For our core we do as many carries as we can fit into the week - bear carries and suitcase carries are our favourite. We also hit ab wheels, hanging knee raises, paloff presses and few others sprinkled in here and there.
Make sure you're not only hitting your upper body in the gym. And no, you don't get enough "legs" training from running.