Going Beyond The Squat, Press,
And Deadlift To Make Bigger Gains


Any lifter worth his salt spends the majority of his programming on improving strength with The Big 3: bench press, squat and deadlift. Each of these moves has tremendous value for anyone looking to get bigger, stronger, leaner or more athletic. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of your workout should be filled with less impactful movements. In fact, there exists a second trio of exercises that can greatly improve your ability to pack on lean muscle and hoist Herculean weight loads in the gym. Here’s why you should be spending more time on the pull-up, the dip and the Romanian deadlift.

THE PULL-UP

When was the last time you hit the pull-up bar? Seriously. Most guys out there can admit to spending far too much time lat-building at the lat pulldown station, setting that pin as low as possible and heaving it up and down with reckless abandon.

For a truly alpha back movement that holds tremendous benefits, however, it’s time to start focusing on getting your bodyweight up to that bar. Pull-ups not only target your lats but, depending on the grip you use, can also provide a welcome training boost to your biceps, middle back and even your core. It can also accentuate your rear delts and bolster the smaller muscles of your rotator cuffs. And controlling your bodyweight up and down is far more challenging than yanking the 250-pound stack for 10 mindless reps.

If you can pull the stack but you can’t do 10 clean pull-ups, then you have some weaknesses that need addressing. No, you don’t need to forsake the lat pulldown and its many variants but pull-ups should come first. Trust us, your lats will thank you and your v-tapered silhouette will be well worth the effort.

Get Started: Take a page out of Arnold’s playbook. Realizing he was pull-up deficient, Arnold would simply choose a number of reps and do as many sets to failure as necessary to reach that number. Once you can do five sets of 10-12 reps, add a weighted vest or a dipping belt to increase the resistance and shoot for sets of 6-8 reps to failure, followed by a single, finishing set to failure with just your bodyweight.

THE DIP

When it comes to chest training, most of our readers tell us that they do plenty to pack on size. They do bench presses, incline bench presses, decline bench presses, bench press machines, Smith-machine benches and bench presses in the rack. Well, despite the points for pressing creativity, your pecs are craving a different foundational challenge. Enter the dip.

The dip challenges your pecs through a different angle – kind of like an extreme decline bench press – enlisting your pectoral fibers in a different way. And when it comes to building size, change is good.

As with the pull-up, the dip holds boatloads of functional value. Mastering your bodyweight through space makes you more capable and proficient on most everything else you do, while still providing the overload that you seek for your growth game. And the dip is more versatile than we tend to give it credit for. By keeping your elbows tight to your body and your body straight up and down, you emphasize the triceps, giving you another max overload tool in your horseshoe toolbox. If you flare your elbows slightly and give a pronounced forward lean, you better emphasize your pecs, particularly the lower third. And of course, your front delts get plenty of extra work, just as they do on your pressing days.

Get Started: Don’t dip much? Try the Arnold approach described above. If you can do five sets of 10 reps with our own bodyweight, then add resistance. The dip does not have to be a pressing substitute but to achieve a well-balanced chest, front-load your workout with heavy dips (6-8 reps) then go straight in to your bench press variations as normal. The dip machine is not a good substitute for bodyweight or weighted dips.

THE ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

The deadlift is king, and for good reason. No other exercise recruits as much muscle or offers such rapid increases in strength for the truly devoted. And greater strength means more weight lifted on other exercises. But while the deadlift is a head-to-toe strength builder, the Romanian deadlift zeroes in on your hamstrings, with a particular emphasis on the glute-ham tie-in. Because they work the hamstrings across two joints – the hip and the knee – you get a far better return than with leg curls.

The hamstrings are a crucial, yet undervalued muscle group for most showtime lifters. You can’t see them in the mirror so it’s tougher to find inspiration to train them. But we’ll offer some here: steel-cable-strong hammies make you faster and can improve performance on a number of other lifts (like the traditional deadlift). Also, having a fortified posterior chain helps to make you more resistant to injury, a physique trait that any of us can use a little more of.

Get Started: Before hitting the lying leg curl, grab a barbell and start addressing those hamstrings with RDLs. The hamstrings tend to benefit from heavier weight. Stick to weight loads that bring about failure at 6-8 reps. Variations such as single-leg RDLs, dumbbell RDLs and staggered-stance RDLs can help with greater development.

SUPPLEMENT SUGGESTIONS

Whenever you make significant alterations to your workout, adding unfamiliar exercises to your regimen, focus and intensity are key. You want to be mentally locked in and ready to derive the most benefit from your new moves, and you want to make sure you’re doing each rep with maximum intensity, range of movement, and good form. That’s just one of the reasons why supplementing with a super-premium pre-workout formula is essential to achieving your goals.

AndroFury from BioQuest is the category leader because it addresses every factor of performance optimization and enhanced work output. Within minutes of taking AndroFury you’ll be borne up by a vitalizing surge of energy and razor-sharp focus that will have you hitting the gym floor ready to rip through a super-productive workout. This surge is driven by a complex of performance catalysts including arginine-AKG, citrulline, niacin, beta alanine, and R-lipoic acid for support of muscle pump and endurance, plus the key aminos glutamine, taurine and BCAAs for recovery. Meanwhile, key energy factors are present to facilitate super-amped physical output.

And that’s just half the story. AndroFury also contains a full-spectrum protodioscin-rich botanical super compound that supports and optimizes endogenous testosterone levels, establishing a physiological environment ideal for facilitating mass and strength increases, aggression and intensity. Make no mistake, optimized T-levels are indispensable both to performance AND results.

Now that you’ve done the hard work, you want to preserve the gains you’ve earned. That’s where a recovery agent rich in the essential aminos leucine, isoleucine, and valine comes into play. ProSource’s Mega BCAA Powder contains a precise ratio (2:1:1) of these vastly superior, premium-grade aminos, which are critical to post-workout repair and recovery, primarily because of their significant role in supporting protein synthesis. Leucine, in particular, functions as a potent, muscle-sparing, anabolic support nutrient.

CONCLUSION

Complacency is the enemy of the successful bodybuilder. In order to take your muscle-building game to a new level, you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. Try the exercises outlined above and spur new growth!


Read more about AndroFury here.

Read more about Mega BCAA here.


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The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.