I remember when I first started weight training. Seeing pictures of bodybuilding icons such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dorian Yates, Flex Wheeler, Kevin Levrone (just to name a few) served as pure motivation for me to hit the weights. What’s interesting is back then I found that most people including myself seemed to only notice chest and arms, so that’s what we trained the hardest. Sure, those muscle groups would pop out a little, enough for people to notice you worked out on a regular basis. However, I was never able to build a solid foundation for overall muscle mass. I always blamed it on my genetics and growing up being smaller than most of my class, and thin, which certainly played a part in my struggle for size. But it was years later when I learned the importance of training the two largest muscle groups of the body; back and legs.
In my early days of training I would hit a couple machine based exercises for back and legs, and I would even get a little sore from them. But in my mid 20s as by then I had dug more into how bodybuilders train, I started implementing more exercises for back and legs and began to see some major changes in my physique. Granted on a much smaller scale, I started looking more like a bodybuilder rather than someone with a weak looking beach body. Once I hit my 30s, I started training back and legs even harder by throwing in heavy squats and deadlifts. My only regret is that I did not start doing these at a younger age. I watched my physique transform even more, and I also had substantial strength gains in all of my lifts. That’s something I didn’t quite expect.
The bottom line is that if you’re not training your back and legs heavy and consistently, giving them as much if not more attention than your other body parts, you’re robbing yourself of some serious muscle gains. A thick and wide back along with tree trunk legs makes up the most muscle mass in a bodybuilder’s physique. Even if you don’t compete, part of the goal for all weight lifters and recreational bodybuilders is to attain that v-shape. You’ll never achieve it without working back and legs. Dedicate a day to each of them, just like you would any other body part. Train heavy and grow!