What Exercises Get You Strong

How do you get strong? First, you need to pick exercises that utilize the most amount of muscle during the movement. Second, you want to select exercises that allow you to move the most weight in a given movement. Third, we want to do movements that utilize the greatest effective range of motion. When using those three criteria for exercise selection we come up with the squat, deadlift, press and bench press. Its true that nothing gets you stronger than squatting. The way your body responds to heavy squatting both muscularly and hormonally is unlike anything else. A deadlift is probably the greatest test of strength. The press is an incredible exercise for upper body strength. The bench press allows you to move the most weight for upper body exercises. These four exercises should be the basis of your strength training routine.

The Importance of Strength


“Strength is the product of struggle, you must do what others don’t to achieve what others won’t.”

— Henry Rollins —


Strength is defined as the productive application of force. The ability to move external objects such as in weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman and crossfit is an essential human demand. We move things in our daily lives all the time, having this “strength” is vital to our existence as a human being. Obviously its important for power athletes to be strong because they are competing in events to see who can move the most weight or to throw an object the furthest. For the crossfitter, if you cannot move the bar in a workout/event, you cannot complete the workout or event your training/competing in. Even the endurance athlete benefits from improving their strength. Having a plan to improve one’s strength is vital for a true fitness program. Since fitness is comprised of strength and conditioning, one cannot just exercise or “wod” it up by doing heavier metcons and expect to get stronger. Having a plan to improve one’s strength is needed. This is also called a strength program. There are many strength programs out there Starting Strength, Texas Method, Westside/Conjugate Method, Cube Method, Bulgarian Style of training, etc. Every program has its pros and cons, however every successful program has a goal and is designed to meet/improve that goal. Some programs are better suited for weightlifting while others work better for the powerlifter, others are general strength programs. I know that the words “Strength Program” are sometimes viewed as taboo or in a negative context in the crossfit community. If we are trying to improve our work capacity and the 10 general physical skills, one of which being strength, we should have a plan to achieve that. While not going into great detail about programming, I find it hugely beneficial to improve our weaknesses. Strength is one of those things that improves every aspect of sport and life. Expect to see a bit more focus on that in the upcoming programming.