If the only discussion here is the OPTIMAL way to add muscle, I'd agree on doing squats, DLs, and Bench Presses.
But is that the discussion? A lot of people just hate the gym. Fine, go for walks, hikes, swim, go to the park and do pull ups, do push-ups. You NEVER have to do squats, deadlifts, or bench presses and you can be perfectly fit. (In fact, you can be extremely fit.) If you are looking for the OPTIMAL way to add msucle, then yes, they are awesome.
I do Deadlifts and bench presses because they make me strong and I LOVE the way I feel after I do them. I do squats because they make me stronger, but I dread doing them. I am strongly considering replacing squats just for that reason. I have no need in my life for things I don't enjoy doing. (And I've given them years of chances...but I've never enjoyed them.)
Abs are revealed in the kitchen but built in the gym.
Work hard, eat clean and have fun.
Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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Some people in this thread are talking about health. Some are talking about strength. And some are talking about muscle size. And these people are all poking at the invisible places that the other person isn't even arguing. There aren't even any straw men here. Just a few people who are so bad at outlining their thoughts that we're now eight levels deep in miscommunication. It's kind of hilarious, actually. You can't even agree on what you disagree on because your schools of thought are so diverse.
This.... all day long. In order to be effective, above all, you must DO the exercise. Thank you for reminding me. Most people just need to move. There 8,654,789 ways to exercise. Any that don't land you in a hospital are better than sitting on a couch. Some are more effective than others. If you actually go to Yoga 3 days a week and run 3 days a week, that's a lot better than taking on a weight training program that you hate and won't actually do.But is that the discussion? A lot of people just hate the gym. Fine, go for walks, hikes, swim, go to the park and do pull ups, do push-ups. You NEVER have to do squats, deadlifts, or bench presses and you can be perfectly fit. (In fact, you can be extremely fit.) If you are looking for the OPTIMAL way to add msucle, then yes, they are awesome.
Yeah, if you want a 6 pack, you need a lot more focus in diet and fitness.
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Nobody has to do barbell training. It's kind of a short cut, nothing more.
There are plenty of people in the gym to observe. The girls on the treadmills are skinny like how most girls want to be. The girls on the weights have more definition or else they are fat or body-built. The girls who never pick up a barbell but do either machines and chinups have more defined muscles than I do, but maybe that is only because they are thin enough to do chinups.
I can't tell another woman what is best because I don't think there is a best. I like barbells because of the reward of making progress and because it's a shortcut to strength, but they do not make a fat girl slim and they certainly are not the only way to get strong or healthy.
Female, 5'3", 48, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135.
Starting bench press: 30lbs. Current bench press: 75lbs.