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How good are the big 3 (bench press, deadlift and squat) compared to other exercises?

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  • How good are the big 3 (bench press, deadlift and squat) compared to other exercises?

    Is there any research showing/ranking different exercises from hypertrophy standpoint? If not, how would one test for that?

    I know that you guys say that strength is specific. That said why those 3 exercises and if you can would you replace them and with what?

  • #2
    No, there aren't any comparative hypertrophy studies that I know of that are testing muscle CSA of various muscle groups with different forms of the compound lifts. There is one study I'm thinking of that showed different hypertrophy improvements in the triceps with different exercises, as verified by MRI or CT (I forget off hand), but nothing with bench press vs close grip bench or low bar squat vs high bar (or sumo vs conventional).

    The 3 exercises are completely arbitrary. If you wanted to replace them with other stuff you'd rather get strong with or you don't care about strength in those movements, you're free to do so.
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