We all know that if you only had three exercises in your weight training arsenal, they would be the Big Three: the bench press, barbell squats, and the deadlift. But what a lot of people never think about is why that is. Granted, most people know the obvious: “Those are the lifts that turn you into a big, meaty monster.” But you will generally get blank stares if you ask why that is.
Now, of course there is no “gym nazi” saying you can only do so many exercises in your workout. That choice is yours alone. But we need to talk about why certain exercises are excellent for your muscle growth and overall conditioning. The one thing all of the above exercises (and a few others, such as the clean and jerk and running sprints) have in common is that they work several of your major muscle groups.
Multiple Muscle Groups – Key To Growth
But why is it that working numerous different muscle fibers is the main key to growth? Wouldn’t it be better to work as few muscles as possible at a time, so that they all get a chance to get stronger individually? If we were robots, that might be the case. But we’re not – we are animals. And every animal’s body must operate as a cohesive unit.
Seated curls are not a realistic preparation for most activities you will actually do in life. Standing curls are better, because they passively work more muscles (such as your hip flexors, which stabilize you). And standing rows are even better still, because they are a much more realistic simulation of what you may actually need those muscles to do.
But of course, there is always a more complex reason for everything in life. And in the case of compound exercises, the more complex reason is that compound lifts stimulate your body into producing human growth hormone (or HGH), which is critical for building the size and strength you seek.
While the process of HGH release can go into such details as certain brain waves while you sleep, it never needs to get that deep while you’re in the gym. Just remember that any exercise that gets you out of breath is causing your body to produce HGH. And what better way to get out of breath than to use a lot of your muscles at the same time?