T Nation

The Staple Lifts?

I have been seeing that there are some “core” lifts that people simply state are staples. So… taking that into account- let’s see if it actually will do anything for my lame ass.

Squat- both Zercher and back loaded
Dead Lift
Bench- incline/decline/flat- Wide/close/regular grip.
Lat Pulldowns

What else? I was thinking Military Press. All lifts are on a five set session with reps starting at five and going up by one each week, until I get to 10, then weight increase by 10lbs and back to 5x5…

Always followed up with 30-45 min low intensity cardio, to keep my tubby ass from getting too tubby :slight_smile:

So, what do you think- will it work to put on some good LMM gains and help keep the fat at bay?

The staple lifts are: squat, deadlift, bench press, pullup/bent row, military press. Obviously you can perform many different varieties of these with dumbells, barbells, front, back, incline…

Cardio is not necessary for keeping fat levels down, that is all about diet. Some cardio may be beneficial for heart function. I assume your goal is to increase lean body mass, so to much cardio is definately not advisable. Try doing HIIT 2 times a week on your non-lifting days.

So, I wasn’t too far off… Now, is it possible to do only those lifts- and actually get somewhere?
Granted they are compound, but is there enough focus on the minor muscles to really impact them as much as the larger groups?

[quote]advanracing62 wrote:
So, I wasn’t too far off… Now, is it possible to do only those lifts- and actually get somewhere?
Granted they are compound, but is there enough focus on the minor muscles to really impact them as much as the larger groups?[/quote]

Absolutely you can make great progress with only those. What is your primary goal? Hypertrophy? Strength?

The “big five” are commonly

Squat Variation
Deadlift Variation
Over Head Press Variation
Bench Variation
Row Variation

I would say that this “classic” list is too limited. IMHO these should be added to the “big five”.

Chin/Pullup Variation ( good catch dswithers )
Dip Variation
Ghetto Glute Ham Raise

I am also really big on some olympic lifts, besides the full squat, but that’s another story.

OP you want to know if doing nothing but “big five” ( or if you ask me “big eight” ) variations would hit your body compleatly. The answer in my xp is no. Iso is not the devil. If you want to be aesthetic. Check into the following

Medial Delts iso
Rear Delts iso
Calves iso
Arms iso

This is probably a hot topic, ( or a dead horse ) 'cause it is in RL. Still I think Iso is again, not the devil.
Focus on the “basics” though first if you are a true beginner, who wants to have an aesthetic look.

You can build an decent and if your lucky impressive physique with the five ( or eight, heh ) basics and their variations ( of which are too numerous to list ) but, you will have more of an athlete than a hardcore bodybuilder look. Either one is better than just skinny, or fat, or my fave, skinny-fat.

[quote]dswithers wrote:
The staple lifts are: squat, deadlift, bench press, pullup/bent row, military press.[/quote]
I’d just add power cleans, if you participate in anything remotely sport-like, and consider this list fairly complete.

[quote]LAMF wrote:
If you want to be aesthetic. Check into the following

Medial Delts iso
Rear Delts iso
Calves iso
Arms iso[/quote]
Geez man, why not include abs, tibialis, forearms, and traps while your at it? I don’t have anything against isolation exercises (because really, it’s stupid to “hate” a type of exercise), but if we’re looking for literally THE staple lifts (as in, the most uber-basic exercises to do and still see results), then rear delt raises and DB curls are certainly not going to top my list.

Right…because actually looking like an athlete is a horrible thing. ?!?!?

[quote]advanracing62 wrote:
Squat- both Zercher and back loaded
Dead Lift
Bench- incline/decline/flat- Wide/close/regular grip.
Lat Pulldowns
[/quote]

I wouldn’t stress much about Zerchers. I’d rather see you learn back squats and front squats first, probably even overheads before Zerchers. It depends, like dubya said, on your exact goals.

Also, on the lat pulldowns (presuming you’re not going to do/can’t yet do pull-ups), try not to use the knee hold-down pads. That will make them slightly more “pull-up-like”, since you can’t brace against anything for extra momentum or leverage.

Last thing (since we’re talking variations), on the deads, don’t forget to include or rotate conventional, sumo, and stiff-leg/Romanian.

I’m mostly just looking to get rid of the “skinny-fat” boy on the outside of me.
Figured, what the hell… work on the big five/eight, get some gains and then move to ISO as I get more fit/bigger. I’m eventually looking towards a more well built physique- not aneroxic Ambercrombie boy.
Good point on the lat. pull downs- I don’t feel comfortable enough to start pull ups at the gym yet. Not when I can only do two or three-

[quote]Colucci wrote:

I’d just add power cleans, if you participate in anything remotely sport-like, and consider this list fairly complete.

Geez man, why not include abs, tibialis, forearms, and traps while your at it? I don’t have anything against isolation exercises (because really, it’s stupid to “hate” a type of exercise), but if we’re looking for literally THE staple lifts (as in, the most uber-basic exercises to do and still see results), then rear delt raises and DB curls are certainly not going to top my list.

Right…because actually looking like an athlete is a horrible thing. ?!?!?
[/quote]

I agree with Power Cleans, these are great for sports, and they can’t hurt almost everyone else either. I also think High Pulls are great, but they are a different animal. I would add Power Cleans only if OP is competitive in a sport. Otherwise he’s better off throwing in the three compounds I added to the “classic big five.”

OP, tagged on something about doing the basics, and getting equal results in all muscles involved. This is not really possible. Someone has to say it. I’ve made my point twice now, that iso is something to look into for almost everyone, depending on goals. Of course one can get pretty large and muscular without iso, that goes without saying, Compounds are the foundation for any kind of muscularity. Iso is there to add that extra, something else to really take a muscle to an extreme, + or bring up a genetic weak link.

I didn’t suggest that looking like an athlete is anything to be ashamed of. It’s an equally admirable look to the extreme bodybuilder type if you ask me. How did you get the idea that I think looking like an athlete is horrible? The athlete ( what kind of athlete do you have in mind any way? ) look, nearly any kind of athlete look at that, is worlds apart from average or worse.

Any way, OP will most likely be thrilled with his results if he sticks to the “big five,”
variations. Chins/Pull up/Dip/GHR variations can only help him more. Iso is again, there only if he wants to really take his total body to it’s peak.

“You can build an decent and if your lucky impressive physique with the five…basics and their variations…but, you will have more of an athlete than a hardcore bodybuilder look.”
This just sounded to me like everyone should aspire to look like a bodybuilder, which we know isn’t the case.

My background is in the martial arts, so my first instinct is to look at most MMA fighters as athletes with above-average physiques. But does it really matter? It’s probably safe to say that the majority of pro athletes, almost regardless of sport, have builds that could serve as ideal goals for the casual lifter.

[quote]Any way, OP will most likely be thrilled with his results if he sticks to the “big five,”
variations. Chins/Pull up/Dip/GHR variations can only help him more. Iso is again, there only if he wants to really take his total body to it’s peak.[/quote]
At the end of the day, I think we’re on the same page. Since the original question was regarding “the staple lifts”, the answer we all seem to agree on is: “Bench, squat, deadlift, row, pull-up, overhead press…and maybe clean.” Anything beyond that is gravy, and is case-specific.

100% agreement, that not everyone should look like Cutler clones. In fact that is far from my personal aesthetic. However I know/known a few hardcore bodybuilders and it sort of softened me to their point of view.

I too have a martial arts ( Traditional Okinawan Karate ) background, and I was Varsity Captain of my HS swim team. I have a tendency to think of the guys who trained me in Karate, whom are pretty big. ( Sensei has 20" arms unflexed, unpumped, no roids, very lean ), but this site seems to be mostly about body building which is another animal. I agree though, MMA dudes are built respectably. The average trainee should be so lucky.

You’re absolutely right that at the end of the day we are on the same page.