Monday, August 9, 2010


Coach Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength and numerous other strength training related books and articles,  explains this in his article in the March 2006 CrossFit Journal, titled, The Slow Lifts.

"So, you ask, why do we squat, press, deadlift? Because these lifts work all the muscles and joints in the body, they simulate normal human movement patterns, and they produce strength appropriate to all uses of the muscles and joints. They can be trained fast or slow, done with a minimum of equipment, and form important components of the quick (i.e., Olympic) lifts. They affect the body in a systemic way, producing sufficient stress that a hormonal response is produced to facilitate recovery and adaptation. They are very hard. They produce psychological toughness when trained correctly. And absolutely no one has ever gotten brutally, ungodly strong without doing them. What about the bench press? The bench press is inferior to the (overhead) press as an overall exercise, but it does allow for the development of greater upper-body strength than the press since the position on the bench is supported. The fact that bigger weights are done on the bench is good for upper body strength, but bad in that the limiting factor is the ability of the trunk to support the weight while it is lifted, and that doesn’t get trained on the bench. So, it’s a trade-off. All standard commercial gyms have several benches, so it’s easy enough to do them, but be sure to use the press for at least half of your upper-body work."

"The squat, press, deadlift, and bench press have been used for decades by the strongest athletes on the planet. There is good reason for that. Any program that doesn’t use them is inferior to one that does, and any athlete who neglects them is doing less than what is possible in his performance, and less than what is absolutely necessary to maximize his strength."
Pretty solid reasons, right?

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