close up of guy doing a pull up on a bar

Strength building exercises

Blog | Justin Shaw, Sports Development Coordinator

When it comes to building strength, we typically want to develop our compound lifts. Compound lifts are resistance exercises that stress more than one muscle group. To improve our strength in an exercise we want to aim to complete 3-6 reps of a compound lift. If you’re struggling to make the last 2 reps then you know you’ve chosen a weight that is heavy enough for you. We also want to give our muscles plenty of time to recover in between sets, so aim to rest for 60-90 seconds

Now, the important part… which compound lifts should I train? There are SO many different perspectives on the core compound movements for strength. Some people work off the big 3, the big 5, the big 6, but there’s literally hundreds of opinions.

So here are my top 10 exercises for building strength.

  1. Deadlift.
  2. Squat.
  3. Bulgarian split squat.
  4. Push-up.
  5. Pull up.
  6. Chin up.
  7. Row.
  8. Dips.
  9. Plank
  10. Wood Choppers.

It’s important to note that this list is what works for me. I highly recommend experimenting with the different types of compound lifts to find what works for you. Start by creating your list of 10 and spread them throughout your training week. Find out what muscles aren’t getting hit in your compound lifts and target them in isolation.

Another important thing to note is that these exercises are for strength, and strength is only one part of fitness. We also need to work on balance, coordination, mobility, stability, and endurance.

Here’s a great video explaining how compound exercises can help you reach your strength building goals!

Looking for that extra bit of motivation?

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