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How squats build mass on the upper body

Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

When trying to build the upper body, many people spend a majority of their days training the upper body muscle groups, but one of the best ways to build mass on the chest, back, abs, arms and shoulders is to focus more time and intensity on training legs, particularly squats.

Squats are the king of all exercises. While some people shy away from them due to the difficulty and discomfort of them, the ones who do them reap the benefits, including increased upper body size and strength.

Squatting moderate to heavy weight (8-15 reps to failure) actually triggers a spike in natural growth hormone and testosterone, both key ingredients in building muscle throughout the entire body. Sure, all weightlifting will result in some increase in these natural anabolic boosters, but training squats works the best.

Similar exercises, such as barbell lunges, leg press, dead lifts, and walking lunges will also have the same effect when done at high intensity with heavy weight. All of these, along with squats, are natural power movements, triggering the entire body head to toe to work as one.

This is another big reason why leg training with power movements, such as squats, builds the upper body. It forces all of the upper body muscle groups to assist the legs in proper control and form against heavy weight. When all the sets add up, many fast twitch upper body muscle fibers will have been called on to help with support for the movement, especially with heavier weight taking each set to failure.

So while many people are forgetting to do legs or bypassing them when building the upper body, you must always remember to get a solid leg training day in, ideally your first day of each week, loaded with squats, lunges, leg presses, and deadlifts. This way you can reap the rewards of the natural testosterone elevation while training your upper body the rest of the week.

Read my book, "Natural Fitness.." for more secret expert tips on how to build and transform the entire body naturally.

-Greg Mickles

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