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Creme de la Creme: Compound Movements & Why You Shouldn't Shy Away From Them

Barbell squats, deadlifts, bench, and overhead presses are dominated by meatheads, for good reason. Compound lifts themselves solve a lot of issues the majority of exercises lack in nature, especially for novice lifters. If you shying away from these big lifts it's likely you're new to the weight room and do not understand the quality you're missing out on. Compound lifts stand alone because of their ability to target major muscle groups, load them far greater than a typical accessory movement, and they're easy markers of strength gains!

Most accessory movements work more in isolation of a particular muscle group and are fantastic for a person who has lagging body parts. However, anyone who's anyone should know that performing an overhead barbell press with 135lbs versus performing lateral raises with 30lb dumbbells, while both effective in their targeting of the shoulders, overhead barbell pressing covers more ground.

Again, while you can attack a muscle in different ways and still get a pump it's important to understand the effect heavy loading has on a muscle group. Growing a muscle is really just tearing muscle and letting it come back together. Effectively, we want to load the muscle up as much as possible to create the most growth. Overhead pressing with 135lb again is going to "load" are delts as well as core muscle groups A LOT more than lateral raises. Lateral raises definitely have their place, but OHP will be your source for loading the muscle effectively.

Lastly, tracking our progress is a great tool for getting stronger and growing muscle. Why would you track leg extensions? How could you even quantify that? Tracking and attributing a barbell back squat to leg growth is a lot easier and makes a lot more sense when it comes to the sure impact a heavy back squat has versus a leg extension.

I would recommend anyone try the 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler as a very simplistic approach to tackling the compound lifts.

Just my opinion, happy lifting.

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