Dramatic improvements in functional strength, flexibility, metabolic activity, and body awareness are incidental to the safe integration of the “Big 3” motions into your training program.

During my initial new-client assessments, many often ask me if it’s appropriate for them to learn these lifts when their training objectives include weight loss, marathon training, or increased muscle tone.  The truth is that the squat, deadlift, and bench press are are among the best motions for myriad fitness goals including weight loss, increased muscle tone, marathon training, improved bone density, power production and overall strength – as long as circumstances allow them to be responsibly included in a fitness program.

Incorporating powerlifting-style training in your program is much different than training for a powerlifting competition; a competitive powerlifter trains to execute these exercises with the greatest load possible.nnWhen I work with a client, our focus is their connection to the contracting muscles, moving joints, and breathing patterns necessary to ensure a sustainable, strong and safe execution.

All of these lifts are compound motions, and not only are more than one joint moving, but all of the largest muscles in the body must work in concert to move, assist, and stabilize.  The incidental spike in metabolism sends your caloric expenditure through the roof – and not just for a few seconds, but for most of the day… hours after you’ve left the gym!  This is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and guarantees that you burn a significant amount of extra calories long after you’ve completed your last rep.  Burn more calories while at rest, just from incorporating these three exercises into your routine..?  That’s exactly right!

Injuries are often a result of improper training, ineffective instruction, and poor spotting technique.  YouTube videos and magazine articles are insufficient in detailing and explaining the many nuances of the “Big 3”.  It takes a trained professional with years of experience to effectively teach and coach these motions, so if you’re reluctant to ever attempt any of these exercises, it’s important to talk to a certified trainer and assess both your need, and your ability to safely incorporate them into your program.

Incorporating this type of training in my clients’ programming has always been a no-brainer.  It’s functional, effective, and indispensable for just about every fitness objective.  Talk to your fitness professional today about safely adding them to your program, and experience the effects of the “Big 3” for yourself!


Matthew Scarfo
Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist
Strength & Conditioning Specialist