View Full Version : WEEK FORTY-NINE :: What Is The Significance Of The Big 3?
11-03-2005, 05:15 PM
TOPIC: What Is The Significance Of The Big 3?
For the week of: Nov 3th - Nov 9th
(Wednesday @ Midnight Is The Final Cut).
Most bodybuilders don‘t brag about how much they curl, or what they do on the tricep machine. Bodybuilders are discussing the big 3 lifts:
3) Bench Press
The big 3 seem to have more attention than any of the other exercises. Why are the big 3 so popular?
What sort of effect do the big 3 have on a bodybuilder‘s physique? How should the big 3 be incorporated into a bodybuilder’s workout?
Can the big 3 be used solely on their own for a great workout routine?
BONUS QUESTION: Which exercises (if any) are better and/or more effective than the big 3? Why? Would you rather do the big 3 or bodyweight exercises? Why?
Don't discuss any other topic in this section. ONLY discuss the question above.
The best response will get $75 in credit to use in our online store! The other good responses will be used in an article on the main Bodybuilding.com site, with the poster's forum name listed by it. Become famous!
11-03-2005, 05:25 PM
11-04-2005, 02:48 PM
i dont want to take up space with inane chatter but the "big 3" are absolutely necessary from when you start to when you die...it si that rush in the deadlift of lifting huge weights while straining, squatting lets you acknowledge life as being worth living lol and bench is just a plain balls to the wall scary
weight come down weight may not go back up!..
always use a spotter....people ok thats me i will like this totw
11-04-2005, 07:48 PM
"The Big Three" should be the focus of ANY routine. The Big Three consist of Squats, Deadlifts, and Bench Press. These three lifts alone could build a very nice physique. Any other exercises in a routine should be worked around these to finish off or target specific muscles.
The Big Three are all compound exercises compound exercises for pure mass and strength. When was the last time you went to the gym and saw someone Preacher Curling then get up and flex his arms in the mirror, my bet is last time you were there. Don't get me wrong, there may be a place in your routine for "targeting" exercises such as this, but they shouldn't be the staple of your routine.
The most popular of the three is obviously Bench Press. The Bench Press is a good mass builder. Most people find the exercise enjoyable, and is the reason everyone and their brother does them. It will target Chest as a whole as well as Triceps. Some people actually prefer an inclined bench press over flat bench. No matter what version you choose, this is a great exercise to do.
Deadlifts are without a doubt the best upper body mass builder. Not only does this exercise target your back (specifically lower back), it will also target your hamstrings and forearms. One thing that people fail to remember is that these compound exercises make you bigger as a whole. Have you ever seen a small guy Deadlifting 500+ ? No. Do yourself a favor and add these to your routine. Chances are you will be one of the few in your gym that does. Congrats, you are only one exercise away from being hardcore.
Squats, the king of all exercises. Your entire body will feel the burn here. Do not fear them like many do. Take them for what they are, the best exercise there is. This will finish off your body by specifically targeting your legs, particularly quads. DO NOT make the common mistake that most lifters do. Start with light weight and go to at least parallel, not an inch above. Want to really impress your buds, drop the weight even lower and touch your butt to your calves on every rep. Do not place the bar on your neck or even your shoulders, but more your upper back.
Tired of not seeing results, start doing these. Satisfaction Guaranteed!
11-04-2005, 11:41 PM
Squats are are the best leg exercise. The smooth, controlled movement of the hamstrings, thighs, calves, tendons, and leg muscles working in concert make squats a powerful leg exercise for building thick tree trunk legs.
Squats are also a good 'Strength builder', It could increases your bench from a stronger Leg Drive while benching.
Squats is also the most encourged excerise to do by other bodybuilders because it makes up 50% of your body and with tiny legs you'll look like an EMU!.
Bench Press is one of the most performed excerises of all in the gym, exspecially 'NOOBS'. However, I believe strong triceps and delts are the key to a good bench press. Bench Pressing (Incline/Flat) are the best chest builders because the chest is built directly by pushing, Therefore Pushing excerises such as Incline/Flat Bench is the only way to build a great chest and is 100% performed by every bodybuilder.
Bench Press is sometimes used by people (especially noobs) to evaluate an athlete's upper body strength as it strengthens the triceps, anterior and middle deltoids, pectoralis major and minor, and your grip
Deadlift's has been the most feared exercise among bodybuilders, However Deadlifts are the 'king' for building a thick lower back. Not only Deadlifts are a great Mass Builder, they are a Excellent Strength Builder aswell for Powerlifters and bodybuilders. It can make them stronger and even help them with other excerises such as squats, and bench press.
Deadlifts NOT ONLY targets the lower back, it also hits other body parts aswell, such as the upper back, traps, hamstrings, forearms making it the ultimate Strength and Mass builder
Studies have also shown that doing Squats & Deadlifts can increase your testostrone levels more than doing curls, tricep push-downs, etc... as they are a major big muscle group, even though the effort may seem and feel the same.
Inhabitting these BIG 3 excerises into your training, not only, Isolates your Legs, Back or Chest, They also work other body parts aswell. Giving you more strength. That's why doing Squats, Bench OR Deadlift can help you build bigger arms ect.
Every bodybuilder has incorped these 'BIG 3' excerises in there routine, and has given them their 'Olympia Staged' Legs, Back and Chest.
BONUS QUESTION: Which exercises (if any) are better and/or more effective than the big 3? Why? Would you rather do the big 3 or bodyweight exercises? Why?
I believe Bench Press (Incline/Flat), and deadlifts must be incorpered in everyones routine to build a thick chest and lower back and give them the big V. While Legs you can build by various of excerises, such as hack squats, leg press can build you big legs. For example, Wong Hong IFBB bodybuilder, is a firm believer. He only uses Machines in building his legs. NO SQUATS, NO BARBELLS. Yet he has one of the greatest legs.
Ill finish the rest off later.
11-05-2005, 08:55 AM
What Is The Significance Of The Big 3?
In a Bodybuilders standpoint on the big-three is that the Bench Press in virtually useless to them. They mainly abandoned it and left it to the Power lifters now. I have heard about 5 or so stories about guy’s tearing their pecs because of Bench Pressing. And many feel that the Bench Press is only working their delts and triceps more then chest. As many feel this, some don’t, we’re all different. But the majority of the people have not used the Bench Press in a while with a regular barbell and flat bench. They have looked towards different angles and dumbbell and some with machines. The Squat is still very a live with bodybuilders today, the big thing now is to always go ass to grass. Which I personally like to call ass over tin cups. The Deadlift is another exercise bodybuilders still use, thickens the upper body and improves musculature in the hips as well. I believe any bodybuilder’s program in training should include these three lifts, but not as high repper sets or anything like that, but heavy and hard. Power lift the 3 lifts and bodybuilder using other exercises. I have done power lifting, bodybuilding, power building, etc. for a while. When I started out I always trained heavy with the three main lifts and normally did other lifts 8-10 reps other then certain compound movements. That way I could get strong and improve my physique at the same time, lifting heavy on the three big lifts will make muscle grow. I know a lot of bodybuilder’s out there today who believe that lifting heavy will not build muscle. But I have also noted that pretty much all of them claiming this have never lifted heavy before. I also believe to prevent injury is to use the correct form when using the three main lifts and always doing them heavy. The three main lifts all link together as well, the bench press working the back, the deadlifts working the hips, they all combine and improve each other. They support each other in simple words. Your whole workout should be based around these three exercise plus 2-3 more compound exercises used for training. And also variations of the exercises are always good to use to support the lifts themselves. So now you know what I think on the three main lifts, now I will take you through the form during these three lifts and how to incorporate them into your workouts while still gaining muscle.
The Bench Press
A lot of guy’s get injured on this exercise, it is because they take a “bodybuilders” approach to it and push the bar around their chest and not near their top abdominal muscles. A few other thing’s to improve this lift will be overall form. The way you position your hands, the way you lay on the bench helps determine what you can bench. One thing to always make sure to do is train the triceps. Triceps are used a lot of the time in pressing movements when you lockout. There are a lot of exercises to help train the triceps to improve the bench press such as band bench press, board press, rack lockouts and floor press are a few you can do help improve the strength in your triceps. Another thing you can do is pinch in your shoulder blades when performing this exercise. This will create a more stable movement when bench pressing. Keep the pressure on your back and traps.. yes that’s right bench pressing works your back as well which many do not understand. Pressing your legs into the ground, elevating your torso and keeping the pressure on your back and traps creates drives your body into the movement and increasing the support. Push the bar in a straight line, many people push the bar towards the rack a little which is also what can cause tearing pecs putting too much pressure on your pecs. If you keep the bar near your upper abdominal muscles and push in a straight line and you will have less distance to move the bar. If you move it towards the rack it may go a few inches in distance, but with a straight line you have a shorter distance to go. Keep the elbows tucked in and under the wrists. This helps keep the bar going in a straight line. Bring the bar towards your upper abdominal muscles. I have said this many times, it prevents injuries and helps improve the lift. One reason why power lifters have big guts is because we use them to improve are lifts. By simply filling the abdominal cavity with air we create more stability. Squeeze and try and pull the bar apart, this works the triceps harder through the movement and pushing them harder.
Many people squat using their quadriceps as the main muscle worked through the movement of the Squat. I use a different technique to improve my squat max instead. I get a wide stance about a few feet. More then just shoulder width, more like twice your shoulder width. This creates more pressure to the hips and hamstrings and allows you to complete a full squat with less effort then a closer stance. This will also work the quadriceps less. Get a good arch in your back too, pinch your shoulder blades together to prevent any rounding of your back preventing injuries that may occur. Keep your knees flared out and apply pressure to the outside of your feet. Make sure to get a good flat sole shoe, not the new nike’s, but the classic chuck taylor’s they are flat soled and reliable. Keep your head up, if you lower your head, guess were the weight is going? Your body always follows were your head is going. Move the hips before the knees, this helps you squat straight down in a solid straight line. Fill your abdominal cavity with air again in this movement. Take your belt and put it a notch less then tight, and press your gut into it. Don’t fill your chest with air, but your abdominal. Which supports the lift with a bigger base.
Now.. let’s move to how you could add the three lifts into your program while gaining muscle and increasing your strength. I would keep it simple with a common split used with the best exercises known.
Monday: Squat Day
Squat 5 sets to 3-5 reps (failure)
Lunges 3-4 sets 8-10 reps
Glute-Ham Raises 3-4 sets 6-10 reps
Calf Raises 3 sets 15 reps
Wednesday: Bench Day
Bench Press 5 sets to 3-5 reps (failure)
Incline Dumbbell Press 3-4 sets 8-10 reps
Close-Grip Press 3-4 sets 6-10 reps
Crunches 5 sets 25 reps
Friday: Deadlift Day
Chin-ups 3 sets 8-10 reps
Deadlift 5 sets to 3-5 reps (failure)
Bent-Rows 3 sets 6-10 reps
Barbell Curls 3-4 sets 8-10 reps
Crunches 5 sets 25 reps
A basic workout like that would be good for building mass and building strength for the three big lifts. I feel the three big lifts should never be left alone and always used to their potential with a high weight and good form. The form explained earlier in the article will prevent injury by a lot. A lot of guy’s injure themselves and blame it on the exercise and not fully understanding the correct form. I hope all of you incorporate the three big lifts into your programs for strength training and whatever the hell else you want to feel the improvements of “more” muscle growth.
I feel the bench press is the only one that could be replaced from a bodybuilder’s standpoint. I feel the deadlift and squat are great for building mass and strength. They should always be incorporated into a workout.
11-06-2005, 09:35 AM
Ahh yes the "BIG 3".(Bench Press,Squat,Deadlift).These are the three almighty exercises that will aid you in building a massive body ripped with muscle mass to no end and must be featured in the routines of everyone who yearns to gain big huge muscle mass fast!
The Deadlift- The Deadlift is actually quite DEAD in the gym these days it seems. I very rarley see this excersize done anymore! This really shocks me when you understand the caliber of this lift. The Deadlift is a compound exercise targeting several muscle groups in both the upper and lower body. The Glutes, hamstrings, lats, traps,hip flexors are some of the primary muscles this lift hits. This means that the deadlift incorperates about 75% of the muscle in your body ! Is it any wonder why the deadlift is one of the powerful lifts in bodybuilding? When you associate large muscle groups like these, there is a growth hormone response ensuing in noticable strength and muscle gains!
A good routine that has always been giving me comendable results with deadlifts follows as this...
4 sets-10,8,8,6. I like to do deadlifts on a back and bicep day.
Squats- The full back squat! The excersise that is disliked by some just as much as it is cherished by others. I have personaly found the regular back squat to be the most beneficial lifts for all around development. If done correctly the squat can be a great blessing to your lifting routine. Squats are mainly hailed by bodybuilders beacuse of how the squat actually is a full body workout. Squats will activate the manufacturing of those bodybuilding hormones. Because of the effect squats have on the endocrine system, squats will account for size and strength break-throughs by all muscles in the body!Without the proper technique the squat can be detrimental to your back, so always use proper mechanics when preforming this lift. The proper technique though will help you get the most from your lift.
You should always keep your head in a neutral position. There is actually no benift from having you head up or down all it does is station stress on the vertabrae.
Barbell needs to be high on the neck. This withdraws stress off the hips and glutes and concentrates it on the quadriceps where it rightfully should be!
Shoulder width-stance distributes stress equally among the muscles.
Squat down like your going to sit in a chair.(should be a slow and fluid motion)
Your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
Explode back up!
I have a day devoted to just legs. My squat routine is as follows...
5 sets- 20,10,10,8,8- This works real well for me, I get the blood flowing through my body after doing my 20 rep set and then follow that up with a semi-heavy weight for 10 and 8 rep sets. My results never dissipoint me. But do what works for you!
Bench Press- Now the most prestigious lift in my book...The Bench Press! It has been aknowledged as the most looked-upon exersice for many bodybuilders. This as well is a compound lift, zeroing in on the triceps, anterior and middle delts, wrist felxors and pectoralis and elbow extensors. This lift seems to be a peoples favorite. It is a egotistical lift as well. But having a big ego going into bench pressing can account for injurys. I have had many friends tearing there pectoral trying to go big on the bench. Its not a lift you want to screw around with. Many bodybuilders have contradistinctive veiws on bench pressing. I know from an article in March's Muscle & Fitness Bob Chic voices his opinoin on how he does not like Barbell Bench press and prefers Dumbells insted. " You wouldn't catch me dead doing a regular bench press". "It's one of the most overrated, rediculous, old-school exercises. " It's bad for you'r shoulders, and quite frankly, I never thought it was that great of a chest-builder". Some surprising words from someone with a mamouth chest. I believe though, with the correct technique you can't go wrong with bench pressing. With a barbell, remember to have a wide grip ( allowing the pectorals to get more involved) I see this flaw with many lifters. They have too close of a grip cancelling out the largest muscle being worked (pectoral) and mostly hitting the triceps and complaining there chest isnt gettign bigger! So remember slightly wide grip and bring it downuntil your elbows are locked at a 90 degree angle (dont bounce off the chest, thats cheating!) and push back up locking completly out. Doing these lifts right will help immesely and bestow you the gains you've always wanted! The BIG 3 baby! can't live without em'.
I incorprate Bench press in on my Chest/Tricep day
I do 5 sets of 8 reps flat barbell bench and 3 sets of 12 reps of dumbell bench
My overall scedule looks like this
I would not rest soley on just these 3 lifts. Sure you can add size by just living off these 3 but in the bodybuilding aspect your are building and sculpting each muscle building it up and toning it. Therefore you dont need to focus just on compound lifts such as these, you also need isolation movments to target that individual muscle. So in the bodybuilding sense use these lifts but use isolation lifts as well. If you are a powerlifter then living off The BIG 3 is exactly what your main focus should be on, as the compound movement strengthens your overall core.
Bonus Question: I feel that no other lifts target as much muscles in one solid rep that the Bench,Squat, and Deadlift do. They only lift that comes close is the Power Clean. But I feel that If done correctly nothing comes close to the results you can get from including the big 3 into your routine.
I would rather do the big 3. I would start off though with bodyweight work if your just beginning and then work up to the big 3 but very light just to get down the proper technique so that your dont injure yourself. And once you get down the proper technique there is no looking back!
11-06-2005, 10:02 PM
Here's my answer.
Bench, squats, and deadlifts are both powerlifting. Not only that, but they also help increase the testerone. For some, strength is actually determine by how much they bench, squat, and deadlifts. Bench Press works more on the entire upper body, while both deadlifts and squats works on the lower body. They're both great compound exercises. It also helps a bodybuilders' physique, because it's putting more stress on the muscle being used that's doing the lifting. I would normally do Bench Press during Chest Day, Deadlifts during Back Day, and squats during Leg Days.
Bonus Question: Normally and IMO as much as I like doing both deadlift, squats, and bench press than this exercise, I think Clean and Jerk and Snatches (even though I don't do this one but I might start doing it hopefully) are the better exercises as compared to the Big 3, because not only does it works a certain lower and upper body, but Clean and Jerk and Snatches works on both the upper and lower body because technically, for Clean and Jerk for example, you start off with a deadlift, and you explode with a fast movement using your traps and delts to bring that up over your upper pec, then after that, you start doing the front squat, then using your delts and entire body, you do the split and jerk it right up. IMO, Clean and Jerk is a TWO DAY exercise especially if you're doing alot of sets with them.
And yes, I would rather do the big 3. While, it's also good to do bodyweight exercise unless you don't like getting tired and getting sweaty for doing too many reps, adding more weights in ANY exercise would help put more stress and resistance you add on your muscle. The more stress and resistance you put on the muscle, the more muscle you tear which would regrow later on as you sleep. As for burning more fat for doing bodyweight exercises, that's nothing more than a myth. You only burn more fat when you do cardio, eat the right diet, and take the right supplements. 1,000 reps of a bodyweight exercise or bodyweight squats could be the same thing as doing a couple of reps of squatting 400lb.
11-07-2005, 11:26 AM
Most bodybuilders don‘t brag about how much they curl, or what they do on the tricep machine. Bodybuilders are discussing the big 3 lifts:
3) Bench Press
The big 3 seem to have more attention than any of the other exercises. Why are the big 3 so popular?
No simple answer readily presents itself that adequately addresses this issue. We could just say that Arnold is one of the most popular bodybuilders of all time and he endorses these movements. If he ever wrote a vegan cookbook the Arnold would find a way to include the squat, deadlift and bench press somewhere around the baking section.
We could further state that if the word of the Governor of the Great State of California isn't good enough for you, then you are cordially invited to;
Take your unpatriotic butt to the nearest hippie fried commune.
Drive your estrogen levels through the roof according to your preferred method.
Leave the commune only for pilates class.
Watch endless re-runs of "Three's Company".
While the above answer certainly suits me it does not really begin to probe the depth and complexity of this subject.
In his updated "Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" Arnold also confesses to beginning as a powerlifter and said it gave him the "thickness". His classic work also references scientific studies proving that compound movements with free wieghts increase testosterone.
Another great man in the iron game is Dr. Squat (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drsquat.htm). Fred Hatfield, Phd. is one of the best writers of all time on the subject of weightlifting. Dr. Squat tells it like it is and he tells us that compound movements with free weights increase muscle mass.
A Ten thousand character post can't cover all the reasons for the popularity of the big three in bodybuilding. Let's focus on some functional points for the purpose of our discussion. They are;
Ego (and Testosterone)
Muscle Mass (and Testosterone)
Core Strength (and Testosterone)
Enhanced Balance and Stability (and Testosterone)
The top of our list may very be the list for many. Testosterone is the name of the game in bodybuilding. The male hormone that makes muscles grow and libidos' rage. The big three when performed with copious amounts of free weight will cause the body to increase production of testosterone. This in turn gives the athelete strength, aggresiveness, confidence, and muscle growth. All good things in bodybuilding.
A spin off of Testerone production and valuable cohort to it is ego boost. We can lift more weight in a deadlift than in a lateral side raise. There is something visceral about lifting more than your own weight. Any one of the big three may get you there. The sense of accomplishment along with the hormonal boost is good for the ego. A healthy ego is key for any competitor perhaps even more so in the nerve wracking mind game of professional bodybuilding.
Using all those muscles in a compound movement and increased testosterone will result in more muscle mass. This is key in bodybuilding. Definition is great, but everybody wants big, and that means increased muscle mass. The big three does this for us in a way that nothing else quite matches. Said the Arnold, "thickness".
The big three, especially the squat and deadlift increase core strength. Having strong back and abdominal muscles have benefits that go far beyond posing. When the core muscles of the body are stronger, so is the whole body. Everything you do is enhanced and the prospects for aging gracefully increase dramatically if you have and maintain a strong core. Of course, the testosterone helps here too.
All that testosterone and hard work will also build the stabilizer muscles we use with free wieghts. The exercise itself and extra confidence from the testosterone will enhance our balance. Strong stabilizer muscles and improved balance again provide benefits far beyond the posing stage. Speaking of the stage, good balance and enhanced stabilizers won't hurt you on stage one bit.
Most bodybuilders wisely enlist training partners as spotters for these lifts. This scenario provides comraderie and support. Working with other athletes gives us a chance to give and recieve feedback and exchange ideas. The sort of thing that usually doesn't occur on the thigh adduction machine.
What sort of effect do the big 3 have on a bodybuilder‘s physique?
Excellent! I get to talk old school. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let's look back to the day.
Angelo Siciliano (http://mr-29035.mr.valuehost.co.uk/Competition/Atlas/Handsome/handsome04.jpg), a.k.a.Charles Atlats. Atlas built his physique mainly with isoloation exercises using his dynamic tension method according to a Federal Trade Commision finding of fact (http://www.charlesatlas.com/ftc.html) . Contrast his build with a young Arnold (http://tiger.towson.edu/users/ddrows1/3.jpg) circa 1965.
At the risk of being repetitive, "thickness". Young Arnold has alot more muscle mass than the young Siciliano.
Am I the only one who noticed that Bolo Yeung looked better in 1996 at age 58 in "Bloodsport" than he did in 1973 in "Enter the Dragon"? Born in 1938 and still sporting a physique that most of us would kill for this man has done his homework with the barbell and classic big three.
If Mr. Yeung ever gets below 6% bodyfat he could probably win the posedown in the masters class and the barfight at the after party. That would be any masters class and any after party.
In summation, performing the big three consistently has the effect of imposing the freaky deaky "thickness" mass gain on the physique of the bodybuilder wise enough to employ them.
How should the big 3 be incorporated into a bodybuilder’s workout?
Perhaps the bodybuilding.com T-shirt covers this one best - "Eat, Sleep, Lift, repeat".
You should get these important exercises into your routine any way you can. A bodybuilder could certainly exercise every muscle group without the big three, but why? Sometimes bucking tradition for the sheer hell of it just doesn't pay.
These fundamentals should appear in your regular routine, and in different variations. For example:
Incline Bench Press.
Wide grip Bench Press.
You get the idea.
Also, many find it beneficial to work a day of powerlifting using a basic execise into their bodybuilding routine. Still another approach is to abandon your regular split for a specified time and concentrate on the big three. This can spice up a good bulk for some.
Can the big 3 be used solely on their own for a great workout routine?
Unquestionably yes. Of course it will be beneficial to the bodybuilder to "cycle" through a workout like this and at some point return to a split with more specialized isolation exercises. For other athletes, this may be a great routine as a staple.
Which exercises (if any) are better and/or more effective than the big 3? Why?
For bodybuilding? None. Why? Because if there were Dr. Squat and Arnold would have advised us. If this were a forum discussion on kickyourbutt.com and not bodybuilding.com an argument could be made for the clean & jerk and the snatch. But it ain't! In this ring, the big three k.o.s' all the competition.
Would you rather do the big 3 or bodyweight exercises? Why?
Another easy one, the big three all day. Bodyweight exercises have many advantages but they don't spur testosterone production like the big three. Testosterone is so important that some ruin their health or get locked up trying to add some to their bodies. All us mortals have to is squat, deadlift, and benchpress for it. Sign me up!
Thanks for reading, lift safely and lift well.
11-08-2005, 04:41 PM
Com'on guys let be honest here...were bodybuilders not power lifters. all of these movements are for powerlifters not so much for bodybuilders. we want to be lean and shapely not a blob of muscle and fat. I would not recommed completely eliminating them, but using them while encorporating other isolation (freeweight and machine) movements as the best way to build muscle. The only way i could advise someone to focus on these movement is for a beginner. If performed properly they can have an extrememly benifical impact on the untrained body for building core strenght. It is important for beginners to built a frame, but other exercizes involving the bodyweight can be much safer and just as efficient. to get that hard appearance everyone wants it is true that we need to encorporate lower reps to make the cell wall of the muscle thicker, but for advanced bodybuilders who want to tone and shape their muscles, the traditional deadlift and flat bench press arn't necessary. I can't take away from the squat if preformed properly, but how many people actually use correct form when performing a squat? i would recommend (for beginners) using exercizes such as: dips, push ups, and pull ups for the upper body, and squats for the lower body. After advancing and developing a good base, a bodybuilder should focus on more advanced movements that isolate muscles to build a more complete physique. many people believe the bench is the greatest test of strength, but were bodybuilders not powerlifters. who wants to tear their pec and or rotator cuff for bragging rights. i'd rather just have the biggest chest without the injury. Now back to the actual question. Why are these so popular. these are popular because they are the three biggest compound movements known and they allow for the most weight to be used and in a time where the ego overpowers everyone, people want to use the exercizes that will help their ego grow instead of their muscles. leave ur ego at the door and do the proper exercizes with the proper weight. like greg valentino said (has 26 inch arms) i can do the entire stack but that's not what makes my arms grow. The bench press should not be used to build the chest, but instead the focus should be on flys and incline press. After taking kinesiology you will learn that flat bench press isn't the best movement to build the chest. the funtion of the chest muscles are to pull the elbows together, so even tho flys don't allow you to use a lot of weight, they isolate the chest the best and will engage the proper fibers to build a full chest when done with incline presses(bar or DB). I think Stiff legged deads should be preformed only on leg day as a hamstring movement. they are excellent for the stretch. Regular deads don't need to be preformed. Squats should be preformed in conjuntion with extentions, press, curls, and deads on leg day. The main reason bodybuilders dont need deads and flat bench are because flat bench is bad for the shoulders and deads encorporate too much quad muscle and to fully recover only the back should be worked on back day and only the legs on leg day. This advice is for the more advanced bodybuilder, not the beginner who hasn't built a solid base yet.
11-08-2005, 07:50 PM
Even newcomers to weightlifting have likely heard of at least one of the Big 3... likely bench press, though that by no means signifies importance among these three crucial movements. The Big 3 are commonly used for sports, powerlifting, general fitness, and the art of packing on as much muscle as possible onto one's frame in a symmetrical manner that we all love so much, bodybuilding. The question arises among many beginners and seasoned bodybuilding vets alike though... why the Big 3? Why not chest flyes or leg extensions? We all know they work for some unknown and mysterious reason, but why? The answer to this question is not so baffling as many perceive it to be, and can be explained using basic bodybuilding principles and science.
Squats, deadlifts, and bench press... though they all work different muscle groups, there are several things they all have in common. First off, as we all know, our precious hormones, primarily testosterone, play a crucial part in creating the muscles with which we have a such a burning desire for. Due to the stressful nature of these 3 movements, they have been known to increase our bodies secretion of the highly valued testosterone which we all need. Not only are we benefiting from the muscle work involved, but also the favorable side effects which give us a chemical advantage in gaining muscle. Another of the myriad advantages in incorporating the Big 3 into your workout routine is the simple effectiveness of these exercises. Because of the demeanor of these lifts, along with most compound movements, not only is one major muscle group worked, but several others are oftentimes drawn into it as auxiliary muscles, effectively exhausting multiple muscle groups with only one exercise. And as we all know... intensely worked muscles, plus a high protein diet, equals bigger muscles.
So we know now that the Big 3 are fantastic exercises for increasing both size and strength... But one cannot just begin doing them in a random cycle and expect to obtain maximum effect from it. They must be carefully weaved into your normal routine, likely featuring some good isolation exercises as well as the Big 3 and other compound movements. Assuming that you have a normal body part split routine, it is probably obvious to you which should be done on what day... Squats with legs, bench on chest day, and deadlifts on back day, or leg day if doing the stiff legged variation of them. As a general rule of thumb, the corresponding exercise should be done most often as the first movement in the days workout. Incorporating it after a series of other movements will exhaust muscles beforehand, and if one muscle in the group being worked by a compound movement is tired, total performance will suffer because of it. When done as the first exercise, all your muscles are fresh, allowing you to utilize higher amounts of weight for maximum effectiveness. Following the Big 3 exercise one can do a series of isolation exercises to bring the muscle to failure for the day. An exception to this rule is doing them as the last exercise in a workout, in which case they will help to deliver the final blow to a muscle and deliver it to complete and total exhaustion. More often than not though, they should be used as the first exercise. Just like any exercise, if one is trying to achieve mass, reps should be in the 4-6 range, though this varies with different people's body types. Fewer reps will promote strength gains, and above that will encourage endurance.
It is not uncommon to observe nothing outside of the Big 3 and several other compound movements in sports players workout routines. This is because they workout simply for conditioning and to gain overall strength in their bodies, not to put on mass like the percentage of people reading this. If one wishes to achieve symmetry and proportion in their physique, then they must not depend solely on the Big 3 movements. Though they are no doubt very effective, and will earn on gains, there are parts scattered throughout the body which are not sufficiently worked by only the Big 3, which is why isolation movements and other exercises must be performed to train these parts. It is beneficial not to depend only on a few solid movements for your training, because as effective as they may be, your body will in time adapt to them, at which point you must shock it with new exercises and changed up sets and reps. For one wishing to increase their overall physique, exercises other than the Big 3 must be included in their routine.
Although the Big 3 alone will not advance one's body to its full potential, they are indeed very productive exercises, and few, if any other movements, can be compared to them. A routine consisting of both the Big 3 and bodyweight exercises would be far more effective than a routine containing exclusively one or the other. Bodyweight exercises alone will not create any surplus of muscle, and the Big 3 by themselves will not develop a balanced and proportional physique. They must be used in addition to other exercises, including both bodyweight and isolation movements, to achieve the results you are looking for.
11-09-2005, 08:14 AM
Week 49 :: WHAT IS THE SIGINICANCE OF THE BIG 3?
The “big 3” – Squats, Deadlifts and the Bench Presses, are often neglected by trainers quite simply due to their difficulty, but if you are willing to leave your heart at the squat rack and give these exercises your every last bit of energy, then the results you will get will improve both your physical and emotional conditioning and strength like nothing before. These three exercises are known to stimulate muscle growth, and are used primarly by professional powerlifters as a means of gaining superhuman strength.
Results have also shown that by performing these big, multiple joint movements, levels of hormones that are responsible for muscular hypertrophy are secreted at levels that far surpass that of conventional, isolation movements. And this all leads to a bigger, stronger body you’ve always dreamed of. By recruiting stablizers, these compound movements will contribute to more of a masculine, Herculean look that machines are unable to achieve. Additionally, they allow you to carry incredible amounts of weight that not only satisity even the most tender ego’s, but are one of the many reasons they are ideal for adding muscular mass.
This applies particularly for both beginners and hardgainers. Most beginners need to establish good habits to take them into their later stages of training, and from those I know who started training without avoidance of training principles that are often feared, such as not avoiding more taxing exercises such as the deadlift, have to this day, kept marching on to continued progress. I see many hardgainers who believe that their genetic inferiority mean that they will never have the body they want. I have three words for these people – Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press. I have a friend who started out at 130lbs, and packed on 50lbs of mass from simply prioritizing compound movements such as the “big 3”. The only reason anyone isn’t getting bigger, is because they aren’t training smartly.
Where in our routines do these exercises fit?
Compound movements such as the big 3 should always form the core of your routine, around which a degree of isolation exercises can be added. The ratio of compound to isolation movements should be atleast 1-1 or more for any routine, regardless of your goals. Compound movements hit your muscle as a whole, and thus are ideal to use as a core to each bodypart rourine. They also allow for your body to work as one, the way nature intended.
So where do squats, Bench Press and Deadlift fit into a workout routine? First, due to their high intense nature, they should be prioritized at the start of your workouts to ensure you are at your highest energy when performing them. These exercises respond to pyradmiding the weight up on each set, so its smart to also lower reps slightly on each successive set. They also respond to a high number of sets, particular if strength is your aim.
First, with chest, Bench press should be compliemented with an incline pressing movement such as incline bench for a more balanced chest which will avoid a sagging chest that is common with those who perform only flat and decline presses. Additionally, dumbbell flyes can be used as a free-weight complimentary exercises. What about squats? They can either be performed at the beginning of a leg workout, followed by leg presses, or like a lot of people do, performed after several sets of leg extensions which serve to pre-fatigue the quads using a less taxing isolation movement, then when you hit the quads will sqats, you will really feel it. I recommend 5 sets of squats, making sure you start with a light warm up set or two before going down to 6 reps on your last set.
Remember, squats are like any other exercise, so both high and low reps shouldn’t be ignored.. Now, for probably the most feared exercise in existence, the Deadlift. Like the other 2, it should be prioritized at the start of a workout. Here, I recommend 3-5 sets, and go heavy… or go home!
MY FAVOURITE TIPS FOR EACH EXERCISE, AND CORRECT FORM.
BENCH PRESS – http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/PectoralSternal/BBBenchPress.html
Lie on the bench, making sure you have a natural, slight arch in your lower back, and maintain this during the movement. Grab the bar at just wider than shoulder width. As you lower the bar, keep your elbows out, lower it in a controlled manner to just above the nipple line, then press the weight up, ensuring it is traveling in a straight line. Avoid resting at the top of the movement to maintain tension on the pecs.
• Pause for one second at the bottom of the movement, and contract your chest. This ensure you are going deep, and especially ensures you are not using momentum to get the weight up. You will also feel a nice stretch. “Stretch” exercises such as donkey calf raises, and performing the bench press in this manner can trigger the body into more anabolic hormone release as the body reacts with an emergency response to the stretch which causes more fibres to fire.
• Lowering the weight to certain areas of your chest can emphasise more on particular regions. Lower the bar higher on your chest will recruit more of the upper chest, and the lower your raise the bar, the more on the lower chest it will target.
• Grip width also has a similar affect. The wider the grip, the more outer chest will be recruited, as opposed to going closer which will hit more of the inner chest, but at the expense of also hitting triceps.
Start by making sure you are looking forward during the entire movement which keeps your body aligned. Keep your chest out and your torso erect too. Place the bar on the traps, rather than the neck which takes pressure of the cervical spine and keeps the body better aligned. Start your descent by thrusting your buttuocks backwards, which prevents you from leaning too far forward. Come up by driving the hips back in and up.
• Make the most out of different foot stances as each will emphasise on a different area of your quads. For that famous outer sweep, keep feet close and pointing forward. The wider your position your feet, the more of the inner quads are recruited, and standing very wide, also known as “sumo” squatting will recruit the adductor muscles on the inner thigh. You will most likely find that the wider the foot stance, the more you are able to lift.
• A lot of people either don’t know this, or forget, but what area of your feet you press from can have a significant affect as to whether you are actually hitting your quads. If you press off your heels, you will recruit the gluteus maximus, and to an extent the hamstrings at the expense of the quads. Pressing off forefoot on the otherhand will recruit more of the quad muscle.
Position your feet shoulder width apart, feet planted firmly on the ground with a bend in the knees. Grasp the bar with a medium grip. As you lift the bar, ensure it travels in a horizontal plane, and keep it close to the body. Maintain a very slight arch in your lower back, and never round your back which can potentially cause serious back injury. Go as deep as you can on descent, and on the ascent, bring your back up to its starting position, but don’t go past parallal here. If you are looking for a full range of motion in an extension-based exercise, do hyperextension as well and contract 20-30 % past parallal. Remember to use your legs during the deadlift to maximize poundage.
• Sumo-styling deadlifting (a wide stance) is a variation of choice by many professional powerlifters as the stance recruits the leg muscles which will enable you lift more. Add in one set with this stance for variety.
• If you are short, you might find that the weight plates hit the floor before you are able to achieve a full range of motion. If this is case, there a few options. You can simply exchange the 45lb plates with 20lbs on each side which give you more room, or alternatively, you can deadlift elevated on a platform.
• The power-rack can do wonders at improving your deadlifting, and is especially useful if you are competing. Here, by setting two pins within a distance of several inches and placing a bar in between, you are able to stack on almost twice the weight – just hold the weight for a count of 10. Alternatively, you can hold the bar in a lengthed position, ie: the bottom of the rep, for as long you can. Both are temporary alternatives, and when you return to regular deadlifting, you’ll be amazed at your strength gains.
How do the squat, deadlift and bench press compare to other exercises?
Nothing compares to the Big 3 when trying to add pure muscle mass, or gain strength. There are no other exercises that will give you better results in these areas than the big 3. There are alternatives to the above exercises, such as body weight squats, or using a smith machine, but the result will be far inferior to what the real variations will bring. But a thing to remember is the key to any balance routine is exactly that, balance. Both big compound movements, and isolation exercises have their own purpose, and the best thing to do is find a balance according to your own fitness goals.
These 3 exercises – the Squat, Bench Press and DeadLift, should form the basis to any routine, and if used consistently will give you the results you’ve always wanted. The exercises are there, its up to you to get off your ass and do them!
11-09-2005, 03:28 PM
I don't think that these specific exercises should be labeled as "The Big three", I think that the big three should be exercises that can build a great physique when done alone, and the sqaut, deadlift, and bench press cannot accomplish this. I believe that different variations of the sqaut, the incline bench press and the bent over row are the three crucial exercises that should be included in any workout. Not to insult the deadlift or to strip anyone of the bragging rights of a heavy bench press, but the fact is that your "Big Three" just won't cut it to build as total a physique as possible when only doing three exercises. With different variations of the Sqaut, you hit the majority of the legs. With the incline bench press you hit more of the shoulders then you would with the flat bench, as well as the bulk of the chest, and with the bent over row you of coarse hit the entire back (bottom included) as well as the rear delts and traps. Those are my "Big Three" and that's why.
11-10-2005, 10:11 AM
sorry sports fans, my post should have noted that Bolo Yeung was 48 in 1986 when bloodsport came out. ..
That stupid low carb trick deserves a one way ticket to loserville, apologies to all. Laugh now, when you get to the age when everybody calls you sir it all starts to run together.
11-10-2005, 10:30 PM
The "Big Three" exercises in the world of weight lifting are the Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift. When someone asks someone what their maxes are, more often than not, they are reffering to those exercises.
So, what is the obsession with the three of those exercises?
I believe that this is due to them being the most commonly used exercises, most compound movement (Utilizes the most muscle groups), and hardest to perform. Also, which would you rather see, a person max out on cable tricep extensions, or a person maxing on the bench press with the bar bending from the bone-crushing weight.
The Big 3 are great exercises to incorporate into anyones weekly routine.
It has been scientifically documented that since the exercises put such a strain on the bodies neuromuscular system that it forces your body to put out a higher level of natural growth hormone and testosterone. Which of course are a great benefit to any bodybuilders gains.
A breakdown of each exercise:
Bench Press: A simple, yet great exercise. The focus of the benchpress is directly dependant upon the width or closeness of your grip. If your grip is closer than usual, the focus will be mainly upon your tricep, but focus will also be on the pectorals, deltoids, and even forearms. Where as a wide grip will lead to more of a focus upon the pectorals (chest), but like close-grip there is still focus upon the deltoids, triceps and forearms.
Deadlift: A more complex motion than the Bench press. It is key to building a strong, thick, herculean lower back. It takes a lot of guts and will to do heavy sets of these but the rewards are great. There is almost constant tension on the lower back, but in addition it also works the hamstrings and forearms greatly.
Squat: The most feared exercise, there are rarely nights I go to the gym and see the squat rack being used. Nothing but guts and will beyond this point. Squats work the quadriceps, hamstring, and build good overall core strength.
They will add mass to your legs like you wont believe, and personally I believe to achieve huge legs they should be done every leg day.
So, should a workout consist solely of these exercises?
From a bodybuilders stand point, definately not. They are great exercises, but by themselves you would be better off going into powerlifting.
The most optimal time to use these exercises is at the beggining of a workout.
The Bench Press would be best used during a chest/ tricep day,
the Squat would be best used on a leg day, and the Deadlift would be best used on a back day.
The reason that a bodybuilders workout shouldn't consist solely of these exercises is because for a muscle to be fully fatigued to the level a bodybuilder is aiming to achieve, not only must they use compound movements, but also after that use isolation exercises to achieve the most optimal growth.
There arent many exercises that can compare to the big 3. They take more brawn and guts than any other exercise and are great at helping to achieve the best muscular growth. Personally, I would rather do the big 3 over bodyweight exercises. Not that body weight exercises shouldn't have a place in every bodybuilders routine, but the Big 3 are more efficient at stimulating muscle fibers to the point a bodybuilders strives to achieve.
11-12-2005, 07:06 AM
I have been throwing weights around for 50 years, ever since I recieved a York 12 in 1 set for Christmas at age 13. At age 16 I joined a small weight lifting club where the focus was on Olympic lifting, strength training etc. Once a month we would drive to York Pa, to watch and work out with the world champs at the York Barbell club<------------ talk about some strong guys. Since then it's been various gyms, health clubs etc.
Tha above preface was written to qualify my disagreement with the bench press as being one of the three big lifts. I agree that it is and should be a very important essential lift.
But I rate the power clean & jerk or press as the #1 single best body excercise. No other weight related movement incorporates more muscles. No other excercise will make you stronger faster. Include this with the other three, using a sensible workout schedule and there will be no limit to your potential for gains in strength, mass and overall conditioning.
I feel that the bench press has become so popular because it's so easy to do. I mean that in a good way. Lay down, lower the weight and push it back up. What could be simpler ? Believe me, no one has worked harder on the bench than me, because my bench sucks, compared to my other lifts.
10-27-2008, 03:47 AM
The big three are definitely the best because they are the most compund and therefore of the highest intensity. High Intensity training is the best way to naturally increase your testostrone levels as well as your strength and muscle density.