Full body exercises, also known as compound exercises, are an excellent way to get in a large amount of work quickly. They are also very effective exercises for increasing both strength and muscle mass. Although all three of these are full-body exercises, they challenge some parts of the body more than others. Implementing these into your training programme will be a great addition.
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All three of these exercises can be used to increase full body strength. In order to train for strength its important to be lifting weights at heavy weights (for you) which means at 80% of your 1rm. This sort of training will be done with low repetition ranges usually from 1-5 reps and between 3-5 sets. If you can consistently work these three exercises (not necessarily at the same time) in this rep range, you’ll surely see consistent strength gains over time. Make sure you have your technique dialed in before you start hunting strength adaptations, getting strong in poor positions will only lower your ceiling for future potential. Do the boring stuff now so you can get it done quickly and won't have to spend much more time getting rid of bad positions later.
These exercises will be very useful for hypertrophy programmes as well. That being said, the back squat is by far the most useful for hypertrophy training plans as it isolated the legs specifically where both deadlift variations can generate to much fatigue for the amount of adaptation they create, making them slightly less valuable than the back squat for hypertrophy training.
Doing high repetitions at these exercises can be an uncomfortable experience, that doesn’t diminish the effect they can have on the body. It just means that it needs to be taken into consideration when writing training programmes. Easing into high-rep back squats and deadlifts is a must otherwise it can generate very large amounts of muscle and nervous system fatigue. As with strength training, the positions need to be very good before doing challenging workouts as fatigue will just make the technique worse and worse.
Using these compound lifts in your training programme is also a great way to improve your health markers and hormone profile, especially as you age. Lifting heavy things is one of the best things you can do for your health and is becoming more and more common for the general population. If you’re looking to improve your health through resistance training, then these movements should hopefully be in your training programme once you’ve put in time learning the movement patterns. These will help increase both testosterone levels and growth hormone, making them very much worth your while if you’re looking to improve your health and vitality.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.