Q: What bodyparts do you feel are the most important for overall strength and muscle development? What exercises should I be doing for upper body and lower body?
A: The most important bodyparts for the upper body are chest and shoulders. For the lower body the thighs have the greatest potential for size and strength development, with full, deep squats being the most important exercise in all of weight training. Having said that, I must admit that squats are also the most neglected exercise and often done incorrectly, if done at all.
The chest and legs have great potential for rapid progress in strength and muscle growth. You should, however, proceed with caution. If you become enamored of your squat and bench press strength, you run the risk of having to spend years correcting flaws in your symmetry brought about by relying on them for the bulk of your bodybuilding gains.
The very important areas that are neglected in that approach are upper pecs, hamstrings and calves. Here are workouts for your chest and legs that will shift the emphasis to those areas while maintaining the two serious-bodybuilding staples: bench presses and squats, placing them at more advantageous places in the workouts.
Barbell incline presses 5 x 12, 10, 8, 6, 5
Use a 45-degree bench. The bar should graze your chin on its descent.
Incline flyes 4 x 12, 10, 8, 3
Use a bench set at a 20 degree angle.
Dumbbell bench presses 4 x 10, 8, 7, 6
Pause at the bottom of each rep.
Hands-together pushups 3 x max
These will thicken the center of your chest between your pecs.
Lifecycle 12 minutes
Set it on hill profile at the highest resistance level you can handle.
Leg presses 5 x 15, 12, 12, 10, 10
Your feet should be set wide so your knees move outside your torso at the bottom of each rep.
Leg curls 4 x 12, 10, 8, 7
Standing calf raises 8 x 15, 15, 12, 12, 10, 10, 8, 8
Go heavy. No hitch. Keep your knees locked and pause at the bottom, stretch position and the top, contracted position.
Squats 5 x 10, 10, 8, 8, 6
Your legs are thoroughly warmed up, so start moderately heavy.
Leg extensions 4 x 15, 12, 10, 8
Hold for a hard contraction at the top of each rep and go for the burn.
Deadlifts 4 x 8, 6, 6, 6
Keep your ass low and your head up. Never bend your arms. Keep the weight in close and tight, and pull it through the sticking point with your traps. Go heavy!