When the World's Strongest Man started weight lifting he only did three movements for two months.
Tom Stoltman's brother made him master squats, deadlifts, and bench presses before anything else.
This led to the greatest gains in both his strength and physique, Stoltman told Insider.
The World's Strongest Man says only doing the same three moves for two months when he started lifting built the foundation for his record-breaking strength.
Tom Stoltman told Insider that when he first got into strength training he followed the advice of his brother Luke Stoltman, who is also a strongman and 10 years older, and only did deadlifts, squats, and bench presses for two months.
"He wouldn't let me train anything else until I got them sorted," Stoltman said.
These are the three most important exercises to master if you want to build strength, according to the two-time reigning World's Strongest Man.
It was only once Stoltman had completely mastered the techniques required for these moves and built confidence that he branched out in his training, and this approach led to impressive gains, he said.
Deadlifts, squats, and bench presses are the three tests of strength required in powerlifting competitions. They're compound movements, meaning they engage multiple muscle groups. This is why they're so effective at building muscle.
Many of the strongest and fittest athletes in the world, such as powerlifter Blaine Sumner, UK's Fittest Man and personal trainer Zack George, and five times Fittest Man on Earth Mat Fraser, rate the three exercises.
Pull-ups, lunges, and overhead presses are other examples of compound movements.
Stoltman says compound exercises led to the greatest gains
Compound movements resulted in the greatest gains for Stoltman, both in terms of strength and visible changes to his physique, he said.
"Deadlifts work your whole body, bench press works mainly chest and shoulders, and squats work mainly your legs," he said.
Heavy weight lifting also requires core engagement and stability.
Stoltman says he often sees people thinking they aren't strong enough to perform compound exercises, and instead begin weight lifting with accessory movements (such as bicep or hamstring curls), but this is a mistake, he said.
"They're too scared to do those three lifts and they go on the machines because they're comfortable, and then they wonder why they still look the same two months later," he said, adding that often it's because they haven't done any compound exercises.
And even though his friends were training specific body parts with accessory exercises instead, after two months, Stoltman had "excelled" faster than them and "started growing really quickly," he said.
He advises people get a qualified personal trainer to teach them the correct technique from the start.
"Get a PT, get those three lifts sorted with good form first, then when you're confident enough to do them on your own, start doing accessory exercises," he said.
Read the original article on Insider