Nearly all training programs you will encounter are in some way based upon “The Big 3”—The Bench Press, Squats & Deadlifts.
These compound exercises are standard in powerlifting training and contests as a gauge of overall power & strength.
All three incorporate multiple groupings of muscles and when programmed intelligently can increase a trainee’s strength capacity fairly rapidly.
I have included all three of these exercises throughout much of my training over the years.
In the last few years my training focus has been on strength, but with a slightly higher emphasis on aesthetics.
While the “Big 3” are undoubtedly outstanding exercises, I feel there are an few caveats to add to them if you have similar aspirations of an ageless shred.
The Bench Press
With apologies to the barbell curl, this may very well be the most popular and most often performed exercise of them all.
The bench press targets the triceps, front deltoids, and chest.
Although, touted as a chest exercise, there may be better alternatives if your objective is classic aesthetics.
I believe dip variations will bring you better value in promoting muscle growth in the right places.
Wide shoulders, massive triceps & also a rock-hard, defined masculine chest.
Not to say that the bench press doesn’t have it’s place.
Performing the bench after dips or incline bench can provide a very powerful 1-2 punch in your strength & aesthetic ambitions.
Squats & Deadlifts (low dose)
I think these two exercises can complete the lower body in very good fashion.
My only adjustments in recent years is to actually increase the frequency and dramatically lower the load.
I think there is a tendency (especially with deadlifts) to increase the poundage a little too rapidly resulting in compromised form and an increased risk of injury.
These two exercises demand the recruitment of many muscle groupings that when even moderate loads are applied wisely can create outstanding results.
So, do the “Big 3” have a place in the quest for optimum aesthetics?
Sure, but consider the low-dose approach and spend your training time and energy on what will deliver not only functional strength but also a Classic physique.