Most gym goers do not have the time to put in daily weightlifting sessions spanning multiple hours. In order to get the most out of their time in the gym it is important to focus on compound movements that train multiple body parts at once. By focusing on a few simple lifts one can gain both strength and muscle while visiting the gym 2-3 times per week. These time-tested movements include the back squat, bench press, and deadlift.
The Back Squat
The back squat is perhaps the most important lift in any exercise programming. The squat works all of the major leg muscles including the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and glutes. However, most fail to realize the squat is great for improving core strength as well. By building leg strength the squat has great carryover to many athletic disciplines including football, basketball, baseball, cycling, and more. Leg strength has a direct correlation to both leaping ability and explosiveness. If someone wants to run faster and jump higher they need to squat heavy.
The Bench Press
If squats are the ultimate lower body exercise then its counterpart for upper body work would be the bench press. The bench press is typically thought to be just for building a larger chest but it is also the best test for upper body strength. This strength is quite important for everyday life as well as sports such as football and basketball. The bench press not only works the major pectoral muscles but it also helps to strengthen the triceps, forearms, and upper back as well.
The Dead Lift
Finally, one of the best exercises for determining total body strength is the deadlift. In its simplest form the deadlift is picking a heavy weight off the floor. However it is a much more complex lift that should be mastered before heavier weights are attempted. The deadlift works many different body parts including hamstrings, the entire back, forearms, and hand strength. If there was a single exercise to determine who the strongest person in the world was it would be the deadlift. Being able to lift heavy items off the floor can also be a great help in everyday life. From an athletic standpoint being stronger than an opponent is always a big advantage.
Weight Lifting Conclusion
All three of these exercises should be performed multiple times a week. It is important to use proper form and technique when executing these lifts. In all three lifts the core and lower back should be held as tightly as possible when performing the exercise to prevent any lower back injuries. A proper warm-up is also important as it will allow the body to hit key positions in each lift that will reduce the risk of injury or pain. Each exercise should be done in a 5-8 rep range with the goal to increase the weight each time in the gym. This type of progression will lead to great strength and muscle gains. By implementing these three simple lifts into a weightlifting routine one should see great improvement in both their appearance and athletic performance in just a matter of months.
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