Fri. Dec 9th, 2022
What Are the Six Core Lifts for a Bodybuilding Program?

If you want to try a bodybuilding training program, we strongly suggest incorporating the six-core lifts into your routine. Why? Because these lifts offer the most bang for your buck when it comes to increasing strength and muscle. In addition, they increase hormones like testosterone. Also, they engage more muscle fibers than other resistance training exercises. The six core lifts also activate the hard-to-activate fast twitch muscle fiber, which makes a bodybuilder look even more muscular. You can use variations of these six-core lifts.

We recommend experimenting with different exercises and positions for the six core lifts to discover which will help you achieve your goals. In addition to the core lifts which are compound lifts you can add a few isolation lifts to address areas that lag behind due to genetics or lack of attention. Finally, we rank the core lifts for bodybuilders in order from best to worst for you. Many people perform them in this order because it’s best to perform the most difficult lifts first.

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man kneeling powder barbell deadlift Bodybuilding Core Lifts

1. Squats   

When designing a training program for a bodybuilder, it’s essential to include the six-core lifts. The squat involves most of the muscles in your lower body and is excellent for building muscle mass. This exercises involve most of the muscles of your lower body, including your quadriceps, gluteal muscles, hamstrings, and core. While there are many variations of squats, they can be broken down into two main types: front squats and back squats. Front squats focus on quadriceps development and muscle endurance. In addition, front squats are great for developing strength in the legs and building up your core strength because you need to keep your balance while performing them. Back squats focus on gluteal and hamstring muscles and overall leg strength and power.

2. Deadlift

The deadlift is one of the essential exercises in bodybuilding. It works every muscle group in your body, including your back, glutes, and legs. However, if squats are the king of all exercises, then deadlifts are the queen because they involve not just your back but also your entire core from shoulder girdle to hip flexors and quads down to your feet through hamstrings and calves. The deadlift is a triple joint movement. First you must bend your knees, second you must thrust your hips, and finally you must lock your back. The deadlift is the most athletic move of the powerlifts for bodybuilding. The only lifts that are more athletic are olympic style lifts. Thus the deadlift works many muscles, improve mobility, increase strength, and testosterone levels.

3. Bench Press

The bench press is a primary exercise used to work the pectorals. It can be done with barbells or dumbbells. The bench press has three variations: flat, incline, and decline. Each variation focuses on different parts of the chest, so if you’re looking for a specific look and feel, then there is a variation for you. Using a flat bench and keeping your feet on the ground during the lift will focus more on the middle of your chest. While using an incline bench will focus more on the upper pectorals. Using a decline bench will focus more on the lower pectorals (and triceps).

muscular man lats pull ups gym

4. Weighted Pull-ups/Chin-Ups

Pull-ups and Chin-ups are an excellent exercise for building strength in the upper body, particularly in the back. They also help strengthen the neck, shoulder, and lower back muscles. Pull-ups and Chin-ups can be done with various grips and hand positions, making them versatile and practical. They are one of the six core lifts in almost every program designed for bodybuilders. The six core lifts can help you build muscle mass over time by increasing your body’s protein synthesis capacity. This means that you’ll be able to gain more muscule when adding weight to your workout program!

5. Overhead Press

The overhead press is an exercise that targets the shoulders, triceps, and chest. It will affect your workout program in a variety of ways. First, it will help strengthen your upper body, which can help improve your performance in other exercises. Second, it will make you more flexible and improve your posture by developing your back muscles and improving flexibility. Third, increasing muscle mass and endurance will make you stronger overall.

Weighted Dips 1

6. Weighted Bar Dips

Dips work on the arms, chest, and shoulders causing the eccentric contraction of the muscles. Dips can be performed with the body straight, slightly bent forward or backward. A straight position will evenly dispute your weight and muscle tension across the triceps, pecs, and shoulders. While a slight tilt backward will focus on the triceps. Finally, a tilt forward will target the chest muscles. The dip is a bodyweight exercise but by adding weight to it makes it one of the most formidable compound lifts. You can add weight with a weighted belt, jacket, or back pack. The more weight you train a muscle with, the more it grows and builds strength in that area. Therefore, if you are training your upper body the weight dip is an exercise you want to add to your workout.

Why Should These Lifts Form The Foundation of a Bodybuilding Program?

These six core lifts are the foundation of a bodybuilding program because they help to build strength which is necessary to perform the volume necessary to build muscle mass. Each lift targets different muscles and areas of the body, so you’ll be able to build a symmetrically muscular body. For example, the squat is an excellent lower-body exercise that strengthens your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves. It also works your core as you balance on two legs during the movement. Likewise, the overhead press will work the top of your shoulders and triceps while strengthening your chest and core. Chin-ups work your biceps, back, and abs while also improving grip strength. The bench press will strengthen chest muscles along with triceps and front shoulder. While deadlift is excellent exercise for working every muscle in the body, especially if you want to build muscle mass and improve your cardio at the same time.

What Advantages Do These Lifts Offer?

The six core lifts for a bodybuilders are the squat, overhead press, chin-ups, bench press, deadlift, and bar dips. These lifts offer several advantages to people who want to train program for building muscle. First, these lifts target all the major muscle groups in the body. You can target all of these groups with one or two exercises which allows you to reach the targeted sets you need to build each muscle group (9 – 20 sets per week). Second, these lifts are compound movements that involve multiple joints and muscles at once—meaning they stimulate your body and get a better response from your body because of the numerous systems they attack at once. Thus they increase testosterone and protein synthesis. Third, these exercises improve basic function moves such as lifting, pushing, and squating. Thus the core lifts improves athletic performance and basic lift functions. Finally, these six core lifts allow you to use heavy weights, which is ideal if you’re trying to build muscle mass quickly without risking injury from overtraining or overuse injuries.

The Last Word on the Six Core Lifts for a Bodybuilding Program

It’s important to remember that training is a process, and there are no shortcuts to success. Whether you’re designing a whole routine or looking for fresh ideas, the process remains the same. Following this basic template as a starting point, you’ll better understand what your body needs to build muscle and strength. The core lifts form the foundation for every program but you must also add a few isolation movements to shore up your weaknesses. For example a person who has small arms would add bicep curls and tricep extension exercise to this program to complete their workout program. In the end, the proper training will depend on your needs and what stage of your bodybuilding journey you are at.

By Terry Clark

Terry Clark is a math professor, certified fitness trainer, bodybuilding coach, nutrition specialist, writer, and fitness enthusiast. Terry loves working out, playing with numbers, solving problems, writing, and teaching.