Can You Build Muscle Without Squatting, Deadlifting, Or Benching?
There is a common belief that the foundation of muscular development is largely (or entirely) dependent on your ability to throw up huge amounts of weight on the “big 3” lifts.
These 3 lifts are the barbell bench press, squat, and deadlift.
This is a huge myth!
Don't get me wrong.
Those three exercises are great foundational movements and can act as a great gauge for how you are progressing in overall strength levels.
They are not the be-all-end-all of muscle growth.
There is a huge misconception that if you don’t deadlift then your back will suck, or if you don’t squat then your legs will suck, and so on and so forth.
To be honest, you can completely abandon all three of these movements and still build a great physique.
Here’s the real secret of muscle growth:
You must stretch and contract the target muscle as hard as you can, with as heavy weight as you can, while maintaining perfect form.
How you choose to do that---is up to you.
Everyone is different.
While Chad may grow a chest Hercules is jealous of with religious bench pressing---you may find that the bench does nothing to develop your chest.
It’s very possible to put up big amounts of weight on the bench (225+ lbs) and still not have a fully developed chest.
This can happen because many people will not “squeeze” their chest when they are benching.
Instead of focusing on their chest, they will focus on utilizing all of the muscles available to push up the weight.
By not focusing on their chest, the muscle strain gets distributed across their body as other muscle groups help out to lift the weight.
When this happens, you end up lifting the weight, but your chest isn’t doing the amount of work that it should be doing…
Leading to an underdeveloped chest.
Without a mind-muscle connection, less than optimal growth will always occur.
You may find that you have much more chest growth when you focus on medium-high rep incline movements, as well as dumbbell and machine flyes instead of just bench pressing.
(Side note: Incline Bench > Flat Bench)
These exercises are great because by going slowly, you can fully stretch and contract your chest muscles in a wide range of motion.
This leads to huge pumps as blood rushes into the areas that are under the heaviest muscle strain.
Getting huge pumps during your workout is a great signal that you have worked that muscle group effectively and that it is currently in the process of GROWING.
Likewise, you don’t necessarily have to do squats just to grow your legs.
By leaving your ego at the door and instead focusing on medium rep DB Bulgarian Split Squats where you concentrate on the full extension/contraction of your leg muscles throughout the movement—you may find that your legs respond better and quicker than ever before!
Not to mention heavy squats can be really rough on your knees, which other exercises such as Bulgarians or leg presses can help alleviate.
The Moral Of The Story:
While the “big 3” lifts are great for newbies, they are not the ONLY methods available for muscular development.
You can hit the exact same muscle groups via different exercises.
Different exercises that are better tailored to you and your body-type specifically.
At the end of the day what matters is being able to get a complete extension & contraction in your targeted muscle group while you are maintaining proper form.
If you are able to get that contraction better with a machine or with dumbbells than you do on the bench, then you should continue to work out using machines and dumbbells.
However if you are seeing great results with the big 3 lifts in your workout routines, then by all means keep them in there.
Just be aware that if you get injured or have plateaued, there are MANY other viable options for muscle growth that extend beyond how strong your bench, squat, and deadlift are.
It’s also important to be aware that other than switching up your exercises there are other ways to help “prime” your body for maximum muscle growth.
One such way to help maximize the amount of muscle you grow is by taking VITALITY.
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At the end of the day, it’s all about what helps you build an amazing physique in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Changing up your training routines, sticking to a strict diet, and taking Vitality will definitely help you get that body you always dreamed of.