Updated: Feb 5
There is no doubt that the big 3 (squat, bench, deadlift) are the king of exercises.
But why are they so effective? And what makes them so special?
In this post, we will take a closer look at the magic of these three exercises and discuss why they should be a key component of any fitness routine.
The Intensity Factor
You hit the gym three times a week, you never miss a session, and you always give it your all.
So why aren't you seeing results? Chances are, you're not working out hard enough. In order to see results from your fitness routine, you need to train at the right intensity.
Too little effort, and you won't see any gains.
But if you push yourself too hard, you risk injury and potentially burnout, if you're not eating and sleeping well.
So how do you find the sweet spot?
Well, here's a quick, actionable tip - choose exercises that allow you to lift heavy (heavy weights = high intensity.)
Then, throughout the execution of those exercises, push yourself until you're almost out of juice (i.e. leaving 1-2 reps in reserve, occasionally reaching failure.)
This is basically the essence of effective training.
Now let's talk about exercise choices!
Compound VS Isolated
When it comes to working out, there are two main types of movements: compound and isolated.
Isolated movements place emphasis on a single muscle group, while compound movements allow multiple muscle groups to work hard.
So, which is better? Well, while isolated movements have their place, compound movements are generally considered superior for a few reasons.
First, compound movements help to build functional strength. That’s because they more closely mimic the way our muscles work in everyday life.
Second, compound movements are more efficient than isolated movements.
They allow you to work for multiple muscle groups at once, so you can get more done in less time.
All of these exercises work for multiple muscle groups at the same time and are, therefore, effective in building strength and muscle.
This allows for, again, the intensity factor to be at play!
Why is the squat such a great exercise for the lower body? For starters, it engages all the major muscles in the legs, including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Additionally, squats help to build overall strength and improve balance.
But there's more to the squat than just its physical benefits.
This simple exercise can also help to improve your mental health, too!
How come, you may ask? Is it the insane release of endorphins and hormones that takes place during and after a heavy squat session?
Well, perhaps it has more to do with the fact that you're literally being pushed down by a massive weight, and you manage to stand up... Multiple times!
It may sound cliche, but it's true!
If you've done heavy squat sessions for some time, you'd know about the resilience, discipline, and toughness that this exercise builds!
The bench press is a classic exercise for a reason - it works!
When it comes to pushing exercises for the upper body, the bench press is hard to beat. It targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders, making it a great all-around exercise for building strength.
And because there are so many variations of the bench press, you can always switch things up to keep your workout interesting and place different emphasis.
For example, you can switch to a close grip to target the triceps or use dumbbells instead of a barbell to even out any strength imbalances.
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned athlete, the bench press is a great exercise to add to your routine.
So why not give it a try? You might just be surprised at how much you enjoy it.
The deadlift is a compound exercise that works for multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making it an extremely effective way to build strength.
It is also highly versatile, as it can be performed with various stances, positions, and equipment.
As well as being an excellent exercise for building muscle, the deadlift can also help to improve your posture and increase your range of motion.
For all these reasons, the deadlift is an excellent exercise to add to your routine in the long term!
So, wait no more... Just pull!
The bench press, squat, and deadlift may get all the glory, but there are other compound exercises that are just as effective, if not more so.
These include the overhead press, pull-ups, dips, and barbell rows.
All of these exercises work for multiple muscle groups at the same time and are therefore effective in building strength and muscle.
So next time you're in the gym, don't be afraid to try something new and create a good workout for a well-rounded physique!
So, what’s the verdict? Are squats, bench presses, and deadlifts really all you need for a great workout?
In short, yes. These three exercises are staples for a reason—they are just effective!
But that doesn’t mean you can’t add in some variations to keep things interesting (and challenging).
If you want to start seeing results from your workouts, put the big 3 at the core of your sessions – and be sure to focus on proper form to avoid injuries.
Add some overhead presses, pull-ups, dips, rows, hip thrusts, and some isolated movements, and you'll see great results in no time!
Do you have a go-to workout routine that includes these exercises? Let us know in the comments!