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  • Writer's pictureRaf B

The Big 5 Compound Lifts



Compound movements and lifts are exercises that involve multiple muscle groups and joints working together to perform a movement. Examples include squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups, and military press. The benefits of compound movements and lifts are numerous. Firstly, they are more time-efficient than isolation exercises because they work multiple muscle groups at once. Secondly, they are more functional as they mimic movements we use in our daily lives, such as lifting objects off the ground or pushing things overhead. Thirdly, they can help improve muscle imbalances as they engage multiple muscle groups evenly. Lastly, they can lead to greater overall strength and muscle mass gains compared to isolation exercises. For these reasons, compound movements and lifts should be a staple in any strength training program.


The Deadlift




The deadlift is one of the most popular and effective exercises for building strength and muscle mass. It is a compound exercise that targets the entire posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and traps. In this article, we will explore the benefits of deadlifting, proper form, and variations of the exercise. Benefits of Deadlifting:

  1. Increases overall strength: Deadlifting is a full-body exercise that requires multiple muscle groups to work together. It targets the largest muscles in your body, such as the glutes and hamstrings, which play a crucial role in increasing your overall strength.

  2. Builds muscle mass: Deadlifting is one of the best exercises for building muscle mass in the posterior chain. It activates the major muscle groups and stimulates muscle growth, making it an effective exercise for those looking to gain muscle mass.

  3. Improves posture and balance: Deadlifting helps improve posture and balance by strengthening the muscles responsible for maintaining proper spinal alignment.

  4. Enhances athletic performance: Deadlifting can improve your athletic performance by increasing your overall strength, power, and explosiveness. It is a common exercise used in strength and conditioning programs for athletes.

Proper Deadlift Form:

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead.

  2. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip or mixed grip (one hand overhand, one hand underhand).

  3. Bend your knees and hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight and your chest lifted.

  4. Lift the bar off the floor by driving through your heels and pushing your hips forward. Keep your shoulders back and your core engaged.

  5. Lower the bar back to the ground by reversing the movement, keeping your back straight and your core engaged.

Variations of Deadlifting:

  1. Sumo Deadlift: The sumo deadlift involves a wider stance and a more upright torso position. This variation places more emphasis on the quads and inner thigh muscles.

  2. Romanian Deadlift: The Romanian deadlift involves a slight bend in the knees and a greater emphasis on the hamstring muscles. It is often used as an accessory exercise to improve deadlift strength.

  3. Trap Bar Deadlift: The trap bar deadlift involves using a specialized barbell with a hexagonal shape. This variation is easier on the lower back and allows for a more upright torso position.

In conclusion, the deadlift is a highly effective exercise that can help you build strength, muscle mass, and improve overall athletic performance. It is important to maintain proper form and technique to prevent injury and maximize results. By incorporating deadlifts into your training program, you can achieve a stronger, more powerful physique.



The Benchpress




The bench press is one of the most popular exercises for building upper body strength and muscle mass. It is a compound exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. In this article, we will explore the benefits of bench pressing, proper form, and variations of the exercise. Benefits of Bench Pressing:

  1. Increases upper body strength: The bench press is a full-body exercise that targets multiple muscle groups in the upper body. It is an effective exercise for building upper body strength, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

  2. Builds muscle mass: Bench pressing is an excellent exercise for building muscle mass in the chest and upper body. It stimulates muscle growth, making it an effective exercise for those looking to gain muscle mass.

  3. Enhances athletic performance: The bench press can improve your athletic performance by increasing your upper body strength, power, and explosiveness. It is a common exercise used in strength and conditioning programs for athletes.

  4. Improves bone density: The bench press is a weight-bearing exercise that can improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Proper Bench Press Form:

  1. Lie flat on the bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground.

  2. Grip the bar with a shoulder-width grip, with your palms facing away from you.

  3. Unrack the bar and lower it slowly to your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in at a 45-degree angle.

  4. Pause briefly at the bottom of the rep, then push the bar back up to the starting position.

  5. Keep your core tight and your back flat on the bench throughout the exercise.

Variations of Bench Pressing:

  1. Incline Bench Press: The incline bench press targets the upper portion of the chest and shoulders. It is performed on an incline bench with the head raised above the feet.

  2. Close-Grip Bench Press: The close-grip bench press places more emphasis on the triceps and the inner portion of the chest. It is performed with a narrow grip, with the hands closer together.

  3. Dumbbell Bench Press: The dumbbell bench press is performed with dumbbells instead of a barbell. It allows for a greater range of motion and can help correct muscle imbalances.

In conclusion, the bench press is an excellent exercise for building upper body strength and muscle mass. It is important to maintain proper form and technique to prevent injury and maximize results. By incorporating bench pressing into your training program, you can achieve a stronger, more muscular upper body.


The Squat


The squat is one of the most effective exercises for building lower body strength and muscle mass. It is a compound exercise that primarily targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. In this article, we will explore the benefits of squatting, proper form, and variations of the exercise. Benefits of Squatting:

  1. Increases lower body strength: The squat is a full-body exercise that targets multiple muscle groups in the lower body. It is an effective exercise for building lower body strength, including the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

  2. Builds muscle mass: Squatting is an excellent exercise for building muscle mass in the lower body. It stimulates muscle growth, making it an effective exercise for those looking to gain muscle mass.

  3. Enhances athletic performance: Squatting can improve your athletic performance by increasing your lower body strength, power, and explosiveness. It is a common exercise used in strength and conditioning programs for athletes.

  4. Improves balance and stability: Squatting requires you to maintain balance and stability, which can help improve your overall balance and stability.

Proper Squat Form:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outward.

  2. Grip the barbell with a shoulder-width grip and position it across your upper back.

  3. Keep your chest lifted and your back straight as you lower yourself down, pushing your hips back and bending your knees.

  4. Lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then push back up to the starting position.

  5. Keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the exercise.

Variations of Squatting:

  1. Front Squat: The front squat places more emphasis on the quadriceps and the core. It is performed with the barbell positioned across the front of the shoulders.

  2. Sumo Squat: The sumo squat involves a wider stance and a more upright torso position. This variation places more emphasis on the inner thigh muscles.

  3. Bulgarian Split Squat: The Bulgarian split squat is a unilateral exercise that targets one leg at a time. It is performed with one foot elevated on a bench or box.

In conclusion, the squat is an excellent exercise for building lower body strength and muscle mass. It is important to maintain proper form and technique to prevent injury and maximize results. By incorporating squatting into your training program, you can achieve a stronger, more muscular lower body.


The Military Press


The military press, also known as the shoulder press, is a classic exercise for building upper body strength and muscle mass. It primarily targets the shoulders, but also engages the triceps, upper chest, and core. In this article, we will explore the benefits of military pressing, proper form, and variations of the exercise. Benefits of Military Pressing:

  1. Increases shoulder strength: The military press is a full-body exercise that primarily targets the shoulders. It is an effective exercise for building shoulder strength, which is important for many everyday activities and sports.

  2. Builds muscle mass: Military pressing is an excellent exercise for building muscle mass in the shoulders, triceps, and upper chest. It stimulates muscle growth, making it an effective exercise for those looking to gain muscle mass.

  3. Enhances athletic performance: Military pressing can improve your athletic performance by increasing your upper body strength, power, and explosiveness. It is a common exercise used in strength and conditioning programs for athletes.

  4. Improves posture: Military pressing can help improve your posture by strengthening the muscles in your upper back and shoulders.

Proper Military Press Form:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.

  2. Lift the barbell off the rack and hold it at shoulder height with your elbows in front of your body.

  3. Keep your core tight and your back straight as you push the barbell up overhead, extending your arms fully.

  4. Lower the barbell back down to shoulder height, keeping your elbows in front of your body.

  5. Keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the exercise.

Variations of Military Pressing:

  1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press: The dumbbell shoulder press is a similar exercise that is performed with dumbbells instead of a barbell. It allows for a greater range of motion and can help correct muscle imbalances.

  2. Push Press: The push press is a variation of the military press that involves using your legs to assist in lifting the weight. It is a more explosive exercise that can help improve power and explosiveness.

  3. Behind the Neck Press: The behind the neck press is a variation of the military press that involves lowering the barbell behind your head instead of in front of your body. It places more emphasis on the triceps and can help improve shoulder mobility.

In conclusion, the military press is an excellent exercise for building upper body strength and muscle mass, particularly in the shoulders. It is important to maintain proper form and technique to prevent injury and maximize results. By incorporating military pressing into your training program, you can achieve a stronger, more muscular upper body.


The Pull-up


The pull-up is a classic exercise that has been used for decades to build upper body strength and muscle mass. It primarily targets the back, but also engages the biceps, shoulders, and core. In this article, we will explore the benefits of pull-ups, proper form, and variations of the exercise. Benefits of Pull-Ups:

  1. Increases upper body strength: The pull-up is a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups in the upper body. It is an effective exercise for building upper body strength, including the back, biceps, and shoulders.

  2. Builds muscle mass: Pull-ups are an excellent exercise for building muscle mass in the upper body. It stimulates muscle growth, making it an effective exercise for those looking to gain muscle mass.

  3. Enhances athletic performance: Pull-ups can improve your athletic performance by increasing your upper body strength, power, and explosiveness. It is a common exercise used in strength and conditioning programs for athletes.

  4. Improves grip strength: Pull-ups require you to grip the bar and hold your bodyweight, which can help improve your grip strength.

Proper Pull-Up Form:

  1. Grip the pull-up bar with your palms facing away from your body and your hands shoulder-width apart.

  2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your feet off the ground.

  3. Pull your body up towards the bar, keeping your core tight and your elbows close to your body.

  4. Continue pulling until your chin is above the bar, then lower yourself back down to the starting position.

  5. Keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the exercise.

Variations of Pull-Ups:

  1. Chin-Up: The chin-up is a similar exercise to the pull-up, but with your palms facing towards your body. It places more emphasis on the biceps.

  2. Wide-Grip Pull-Up: The wide-grip pull-up involves gripping the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. It places more emphasis on the back muscles.

  3. L-Sit Pull-Up: The L-Sit pull-up involves lifting your legs up to form an L-shape while performing the pull-up. It adds an extra challenge to the exercise by engaging the core.

In conclusion, the pull-up is an excellent exercise for building upper body strength and muscle mass, particularly in the back and biceps. It is important to maintain proper form and technique to prevent injury and maximize results. By incorporating pull-ups into your training program, you can achieve a stronger, more muscular upper body. -Raf B

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