The "Major Lifts"
"The Major Lifts"
What's really going on ....and what's the benefit?
Body-building and women's 'fitness'/health magazines have complicated strength training to the point that every man believes he needs to do at least 5 different exercises for his biceps and triceps alone, and that women need to do 10 different localized 'glute' and 'ab' exercises to 'firm' and 'tone' these areas.
Take notice: In TORQUE, you work ALL major & minor muscle groups...and you work them hard! You get all the hormonal benefits of strength training, since those come from the big-muscle exercises. No muscles missed--no time wasted!
The best muscle building exercises are the ones that use your muscles the way they're designed to work. Also, exercises that use lots of muscles in coordinated action are better than those that force muscles to work in isolation. Muscles are not designed to work in isolation. Your body has no reason to develop muscle groups out of proportion to other muscles on the body...that would make you biomechanically dysfunctional, and your body will resist that!
Perhaps the most useful exercise you can perform with weights. Once you learn to lift barbells, kettle bells, or dumb bells off the floor with proper form (protecting the back), you will be able to lift everything with good form (whether it’s a paperclip off the floor or a heavy couch). Your body has to use almost every major muscle group in a deadlift (with the exception of chest). The prime movers are the gluteals and hamstrings. Quads get involved a bit as knees are somewhat bent at the beginning of the lift. Lower back and midsection have to stay tight and work like hell to keep the spine where it should be. Your trapezius also works overtime as it pulls your shoulder blades together. Gripping muscles get a workout in addition to your biceps and triceps (muscular link between shoulders and forearms).
Always FOCUS when deadlifting. Do not let your back, even for a second, slip out of natural shape, which could include an arch in the lumbar spine (no rounded backs).
Deadlifts = the GOLDEN Exercise
Squats are used in workout programs for athletes in virtually every sport requiring lower body strength and power. Squats are both a quad-dominant exercise and an exercise that incorporates gluteal and hamstring power. A traditional squat emphasizes action at the knee joint over hip movement. Quad involvement is greatest at the bottom of the movement, when the lifter is just starting the ascent back to the starting position. Hamstring involvement is greatest when the lifter is about 1/3 of the way to the top.
Many lifters short-change themselves on the squat by not descending all the way to the point at which their upper thighs are parallel to the floor. You should always try to lower yourself to parallel, even if it means using lighter weights than you’d use if you stopped short. Work those glutes!
A pushing exercise can be anything from bench press, to shoulder press, to a dip. These pushing motions all use the same muscles, with some variations based on particular regions of individual muscle groups. Almost all of the ‘push’ muscles work on the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint). The chest’s major muscle, the pectoralis major, has upper (clavicular), middle (sternocostal), and lower (fibers originate from top of abdominal muscles). The deltoid (front shoulder) is involved in all forms of bench press, as well as overhead presses. Another visibly important pushing muscle is the tricep (3-headed muscle that straightens elbows when bent): yes, benching and pressing work all 3 heads—so, no need for tricep kick-backs.
Yes, ALL this benefit from simply PUSHING heavy objects away from the body!
If you had to choose one major exercise as the most crucial in fighting the continued disintegration of adult posture, you would be wise to choose the pull. Generations ago, physical labor involved pulling—now most people spend 8-10 hours a day sitting, driving, and/or hunching over a keyboard and mouse. Will pulling movements fix postural problems created by 8-10 hours of sitting?..probably not. What pulling exercise WILL do, however, is provide you awareness of the way the muscles in your upper back are supposed to feel when they’re pulling your shoulders back. From there, it’s up to you to remind yourself to square your shoulders.
Major muscles involved include the latissimus dorsi, the trapezius, and your biceps. The contraction of you middle traps (scapular contraction) has the most effect on your posture.