You often hear that exercises like squats, deadlifts, overhead press and bench press are essential building blocks to your workout program, but why?
These lifts are considered compound movements which means they use multiple joints and muscles to complete the lift. Because of this, they use more energy and recruit more muscles, giving you the best bang for your buck in your workout.
The more muscles you use, the more total weight you can handle which means better for building muscle, especially for beginners!
All the lifts are good ones to include but below we’ve listed the main muscles involved in each one so you can prioritize based on your goals:
Squats – Quads and glutes
Deadlifts – Hamstrings, glutes, upper and lower Back
Overhead Press – Upper back, shoulder, core
Bench Press – Chest, shoulder, triceps
Check out the three types of training phases below. Make sure you spend a couple months in each before moving on to the another one to make sure you reap the full benefits of that phase.
Type of Training Phases:
Muscular Endurance Phase: Not ideal for building strength but helps your muscles become more resilient to repeated tension/contractions for a longer time and good starting point if you haven’t been to the gym in a really long time or have endurance-type goals (obstacle course, race etc).
The weight on the bar should be low because you’re hitting a high number of repetitions. This type of phase improves how long your muscle can handle being under tension.
Hypertrophy Phase: Provides adequate exercise volume for muscle building but the weight is heavier than in an endurance phase so will get you stronger than an endurance phase would.
The weight on the bar should be moderately heavy. When in this phase, repetitions should stay within the 6 to 12 range.
Muscular Strength & Muscular Power Phase: Incredible for improving strength, can also help in muscle building especially if you have never trained in this style before.
The weight on the bar should feel heavy, but manageable. When in this phase, repetitions do not typically exceed 6 reps on the compound lifts.
Use the chart below to establish your sets and rep ranges while incorporating the big 3 lifts into your workout program.
Remember, when incorporating a squat, deadlift or press variation into your exercise routine, it should come FIRST in your daily exercise plan. You want to go into them with your maximal energy and strength, so save the bicep curls for the end.
Also, when you start consistently hitting the upper end of the repetition range for the given sets, it’s time to increase the weight!
Group Fitness Class Recommendation: Kettlebell Strength & Power Barbell
-Blog written by Courtney O’Reilly