Does Doing a Leg Workout Increase Upper Body Strength?

While you might not think that doing a leg workout would have any impact on your upper body strength, you might be surprised to learn that it can actually be quite beneficial. By working your legs, you can help to increase your overall body strength, which can in turn help you to better support your upper body.


The strength training debate of ‘legs first, upper body second’ has been raging for years. If you’re looking to build muscular strength and size in your upper body, then logically it stands to reason that you should focus on the legs first. After all, they are the foundation of your entire body. But is this really true? Does doing a leg workout before targetting your upper anatomy really help increase strength in this area?

The answer is yes; doing a well-rounded leg workout can indeed help increase strength and size in your upper body. Research has shown that engaging in lower body exercises prior to upper body exercises increases the amount of power you can generate while working out, leading to higher muscle activation within the chest, arms and other targeted muscles. This increased muscle engagement helps stimulate improved muscle growth, strength and overall fitness gains.

Overview of Upper Body Strength

Upper body strength is essential for everyday activities such as carrying groceries or lifting heavy objects. It is also essential for more athletic activities such as weightlifting and even certain sports. Many people wonder if doing a leg workout can help improve upper body strength. We will discuss the connection between leg workouts and upper body strength in this article.

Anatomy of the Upper Body

The upper body consists of the muscles associated with movement of the arms and shoulders, along with the torso and core that provide stability. Muscles involved in upper body strength include the pectoral muscles (chest), trapezius (back) muscles, deltoids (shoulders), biceps and triceps (arms).

Upper body strength is essential in everyday activities such as carrying groceries, pushing or pulling objects and playing sports. Furthermore, a great deal of work has been done to show a link between physical activity and the prevention of certain diseases such as heart disease, stroke and various types of cancer.

Having strong upper body muscles requires regular weightlifting sessions with good form. Additionally, incorporate total body exercises that target larger muscle groups such as squats or lunges to promote muscle balance and injury prevention. Proper nutrition is key for fueling muscle growth and recovery — be sure to consume adequate macro-nutrients from protein-rich sources post-workout for optimal performance gains!

Types of Upper Body Exercises

Strengthening your upper body can improve your posture and muscle tone and help you perform daily activities with increased ease. Adding resistance and strength training to your routine can also help combat the loss of muscle mass as you age. A healthy combination of weight-bearing exercise, calisthenics, stretching, and cardio plays an important role in developing overall strength in the upper body.

Weight-bearing exercises use external weights to add resistance to the movement and these exercises include curls, flys, rows, extensions, presses and lifts.

Calisthenics are a form of exercise that uses only bodyweight as resistance—push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups or dips—and can build muscle and joints if done correctly. Competitive athletes tend to favor this as they are easy to learn but offer substantial rewards when done regularly with proper technique.

Stretching is an essential component of any workout because it increases range of motion while improving flexibility and circulation at the same time. It is important to incorporate stretching for both pre-workout warm up and post workout cooldowns for optimal results. Examples of stretches used for upper body strengthening are cobra pose (bhujangasana), standing forward fold (uttanasana), chest hug (agnistambhasana) chair pose (utkatasana).

Cardio Training is essential for overall health conditioning and fitness but should not be seen as being in competition with weight bearing or calisthenic training sessions. Lowering stress levels on the heart helps avoid injury when performing any type of vigorous activity as well as improves endurance which leads to better performance in other types of training sessions like lifting or calisthenics training. Examples of cardio include running or outdoor sports like soccer or softball; biking; swimming; rowing; climbing stairs; hiking; jumping rope; skiing..etc

Benefits of Doing a Leg Workout

Incorporating leg workouts into your fitness routine can provide numerous benefits for your body. Not only will it improve the strength of your lower body muscles, but it can also help increase the power of your upper body muscles as well. By understanding the various benefits that come with doing leg workouts, you can see why they are so important to your overall fitness journey. Let’s take a closer look.

Improved Core Strength

Core strength is an important component of overall balance and stability. Strengthening the muscles in the trunk, abdomen, lower back and pelvic floor helps to improve posture, keep our spine strong and protect us from movement-related pain or injury. Focusing on leg exercises increases core strength through a combination of isometric (static) and dynamic (movement) exercises that work your core even when you’re not actively thinking about it. Leg workouts such as squats, lunges, step-ups or calf raises provide rigid stability for the trunk while creating movement from the hips down. Furthermore, by engaging the abdominals, obliques and back muscles at all times during the exercise creates an even stronger foundation of support for any activity you’re doing. This improved core strength works to enhance your upper body performance while protecting your neck and spine from potential injuries.

Improved Balance and Coordination

Regularly performing lower body exercises can help improve balance and coordination, especially when it comes to other forms of exercise. Doing a leg workout will help to strengthen the muscles around your hips and knees so that you can easily transition from one exercise to another during a workout. For example, if you are doing an upper body press, then having strong legs will allow you to easily lower and lift your upper body without losing balance or coordination. This helps you perform better on exercises like squats and lunges as well as helping prevent knee injuries that are often caused by poor coordination or instability. Additionally, having stronger legs enables more controlled movements throughout the whole body which will yield better results in fitness activities such as running, jump roping or hiking. Ultimately, a leg workout is essential for overall activity performance and helps to improve balance and coordination.

Improved Upper Body Strength

Doing a leg workout can produce numerous benefits in terms of improved upper-body strength. Working out the legs increases your overall muscular balance, helping to improve posture and boost muscle development in other areas, including the upper body. When your lower body is strong and balanced, it puts less strain on the rest of your body and can even reduce the risk of injury. Furthermore, focusing on lower-body strength will help to target specific muscles in the upper body which are often neglected during regular training sessions.

One major benefit of incorporating a leg workout into your regular exercise program is that it can greatly increase core stability and balance through focusing on large muscle groups such as those around the hips and glutes. This improved core stability makes exercising with weights much safer while also allowing you to lift heavier without risk of injury. Additionally, if you’re doing aerobic exercises such as running or cycling, incorporating leg workouts will help you build endurance in those activities by making sure your legs are properly strengthened for each activity.

Leg workouts also give you an anaerobic boost by forcing you to push harder and work beyond what is comfortable for a longer period of time. This helps to increase your stamina both during activities such as running or climbing stairs as well as lifting weights at the gym. Finally, certain types of leg exercises can help increase muscular size which helps create much fuller looking arms and shoulders while also giving more definition when doing press exercises or any kind of overhead lifts with weights such as shoulder presses or lat pulldowns.

Examples of Leg Workouts

Leg workouts are an essential part of any workout routine, and having strong legs can help improve your overall strength and stability. There are many different types of leg workouts, from weight lifting exercises to HIIT exercises. In this section, we’ll discuss some examples of leg workouts that you can use to increase your upper body strength.


Squats are a classic and essential form of lower body exercise. Squats target all the major muscles in your lower body, including your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. There are many techniques you can use when doing squats that will help you to achieve different results. Bodyweight squats involve standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bracing core and descending into a squat position while keeping chest up and back straight. This can be done with weight on the shoulders or held in front of the chest. When adding weight onto your squats it is important to control the weights coming down and pushing back up. Other variations include sumo squats, narrow stance squats, front squats and split squats. Each variation of squat requires different levels of muscular control and coordination so it is important to learn proper form before attempting weighted variations.


Lunges are a great exercise for gaining stability and strength in the legs, particularly the lower body. They are often included in leg workouts, but can also be used as an upper-body exercise. Lunges are performed with one foot forward, lowering the body down until both knees form right angles. The back knee should almost touch the ground while maintaining a straight torso and head held up high. Lunges can be done with weights in both hands or with just bodyweight.

The main muscle group targeted by lunges is the glutes (butt muscles), quads (front thigh muscles) and hamstrings (back thigh muscles). Doing a leg workout involving lunges can also positively impact upper-body strength; this is because some exercises that involve lunges require you to use your upper-body muscles for balance and aiding movements of your legs. Additionally, activating the glutes—the biggest muscle in your body—will help increase muscular strength throughout the rest of your body when doing any movement which requires you to use power from your legs.


Deadlifts are an important component of a leg workout and can help to increase upper body strength. This exercise is performed by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower your torso towards the floor until your legs are bent, then drive through the heels and squeeze glutes at the top of the movement. When executing a deadlift, it is important to use proper form and technique to avoid injury.

Other examples of popular legs workouts include: squats, lunges, hip thrusts, step-ups, Bulgarian split squats, and calf raises. Squats specifically engage the quads and glutes when done correctly; as well as help increase flexibility within these muscle groups. Lunges are effective for working both sides of each leg individually; helping to not only improve balance but also build up muscle strength in each side of the leg. Hip thrusts focus on working out powerful hip muscles such as glutes; while step-ups target quads coming up the front part of each leg. Bulgarian split squats effectively work out your hamstrings without requiring you to lift anything above your chest level; while calf raises focus on building strength in the Achilles tendon down by your feet. With any exercise including these examples it is important to start off slow with light weights until you get used to proper form before increasing weight or adding complexity over time.


In conclusion, doing a leg workout can help to increase upper body strength. Working the large leg muscles creates an overload demand on the smaller upper body muscles which helps build strength. Additionally, since the core must stabilize during most leg exercises, this can help to improve core strength and stability.

However, depending on your fitness goals, there may be other exercises or methods of training that might better benefit you in terms of improving upper body strength. If this is the case, it would be best to consult with a personal fitness professional who could determine which exercises and training program would work best for you based on your individual needs and desired results.

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