News No Comments 24 October 2017


Bench, squat and pull have always been considered the most important exercises for muscle-building. They are part of the "crucial" exercises and represent the three big lifts in powerlifting. But why are they so important? Let's discover it together!
big lift


The importance of heavy loads in hypertrophic training:

Handling heavy loads involves adapting at central nervous system level that improves the ability to unload, activating and therefore stimulating a greater number of Motor Units.
A point that unites the big lifts is the ability to create enormous mechanical tensions and the mechanical load is proven to be the determining factor in hypertrophic development.
Moreover, the use of heavy loads allows activating right from the start a large quantity of motor units, making even buffer series highly productive (far from concentric failure, where we keep one or two repetitions back). Last but not least, the use of heavy loads is connected to an increase in postexertional anabolic hormones that creates the prerequisites and the useful signals for the transcription and consequent anabolic cascade?

Why bench, squat and pull?
These are the exercises when man can generate maximum strength: each one of us has, potentially, the capacity of achieving these three ceilings: Squat 2 x BW Bench 1.5 x BW Pull 2.5 x BW (BW stands for Body Weight).
If performed with a good load, adding the trained muscles with the practice of the 3 Bigs, we can cover from 80% to 100% of the body (even if many work only on isometry).

The "other" Bigs

Even if these are unanimously considered as the exercise kings, we have another series of vital exercises to add to our programs to complete the muscular work, sticking to the mechanical overload principle. Among these we find:

• Tractions
• Rowing machine
• Pulley
• Slowly forward sitting with balance
• Over Head Press with balance
• Olympic lifts (snatch and lunge)
• Chest fly
• Dips
• Narrow bench
• Pull with stretched legs
• Press at 45°
• Curl with balance (not fundamental but useful)

We also have a whole series of exercises with dumbbells that can complete the work:

• Pushes with dumbbells for the chest
• Pushes with dumbbells for the shoulders
• Rowing machine with dumbbells
• Lunges with dumbbells
• Pullover

So, what identifies an exercise as crucial?

Let's start from the basic notions, also because, in the era of theories, it's better to stick to certainties.
"Basic" exercises:
They are multi-limb exercises
They have great muscle synergy
The trajectory is more or less a straight line
They are very good for strengthening and general conditioning
"Additional" exercises:
In most cases they involve just one joint
They look for muscle isolation
The trajectory is usually circular
Nor very suitable for strengthening
Suitable for "honing"

The crucial exercises are the basic, often closed kinetic chain exercises, that involve a large quantity of muscles and are therefore characterized by strong synergy.
The main result is the possibility of moving considerable loads, fruit of the force developed by adding kinetic chains.

The big lifts and all the above-mentioned exercises, should be 80% of our cards and we should create progressions on them. The targeted and intelligent use of additional exercises will help to address any deficiencies and smoothing weaknesses, as well as allow different types of muscle tension and isolated work. Changing training plans or exercise order, adding isometric pauses or using particular training techniques, will provide that variety in stimulus wanted by Bodybuilders and prevent stalling, without giving up the effort quality. Since we are going to the gym, we might as well make our sessions productive!

Mattia Lorenzini
Author of the project CorporeSano
Certified Personal trainer



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