The back squat, bench press and deadlift are thought of as the “gold standard.”

With that, you don’t have to do them.

You don’t need them to get strong, improve performance and change body composition.

When it comes to specific exercises, there are none that you have to do.

Whether one of these 3 exercises causes you pain, you don’t have the mobility or stability to do them or you’re cycling your exercises, there are plenty of other exercises that you can do.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do them or that they’re bad for you. I’m saying, don’t be married to certain exercises or think you can’t get the results you want, without them.

Now I’m going to show you two exercises that you can do, to replace and the squat, bench and deadlift and still produce the results that you want.


The 2 exercises that I like to use instead of the squats are: Bulgarian Split Squats and Front Squat Reverse Lunges.

I love the unilateral aspect, the ability to go heavy and the challenge to maintain good posture.

These exercises mainly work the glutes, quads and even the core.

Both these exercises are extra challenging because of the work your core has to do to stay upright.

When implementing these instead of back squats, use them as your first exercise and focus on using a weight that really pushes you.

For my athletes and myself, these 2 exercises usually have us walking funny and a little more sore the next 2 days.

Bulgarian Split Squat These are always on the top of my list, but they will light up your legs. Awesome exercise for building strength, muscle, and performance. Mainly works the quads and glutes. Start with your front foot forward and back leg on the bench, brace your core and keep your shoulders tight. As you lower down, keep your weight in your front foot and slightly lean forward, so you maintain your neutral. As you drive up, push through the your whole foot and finish by squeezing your glute. Do these 1-2 times a week, for 6-10 reps for 2-4 sets. Give these a shot and let me know how it goes. #strengthtraining #strength #fitness #training #squats #glutes #core #abs #strength #mobility #stability #rossystraining

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Barbell Front Squat Reverse Lunge These will "hurt," in a good way of course. Great for building strength, putting one muscle and performance. It is primarily a quad, Glute, and core exercise. Start with the bar in the front squat position, squeeze your glutes and brace your core. Step straight back, go down and touch your knee to the ground. When you touch your knee to the ground, slightly lean forward with your upper body but keep a neutral spine. Then, drive your front foot through the ground and pull yourself up. Finish each rep by locking out your glute. Do these 1-2 times a week, for 2-4 sets of 3-12 reps per side. You can use this as your first exercise. If so, lower the reps and up the weight. Give these a try and let me know what you think. #strengthtraining #strength #fitness #training #squats #glutes #core #abs #strength #mobility #stability #coaching #rossystraining

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The 2 exercises that I like to use instead of the bench are: Alternating Dumbbell Bench and Dumbbell Low Incline Press.

These variations can be a little easier on the shoulders, they build stability and have anti-rotation, rotary stability component built in.

With these exercises, you’re still targeting the chest, triceps and shoulders and you finish with a great training effect.

Use them in the beginning of your training session and start getting strong without the bench.

DB Low Incline Press This exercise helps build strength, put on muscle, and can be easier on the shoulders. It's a chest exercise but really works the whole upper body. Start by finding a good base with your feet, bracing your core and squeezing your glutes. Stay tight and start to lower the Dumbbells, as you bring them down, pull shoulders away from your ears and squeeze your shoulders blades together. The Dumbbells should come down to the top of your chest. When bringing them down, don't let your elbows flare. When driving up, push your feet into the ground and press. Don't let the Dumbbells drift back over your head. Do these 1-2 times a week, for 2-5 sets of 6-12 reps. Give these a try and let me know what you think. #strengthtraining #strength #fitness #training #benchpress #chest #shoulder #back #exercise #core #abs #rossystraining

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I love the deadlift but pulling from the floor, whether sumo or conventional isn’t always the best option.

If you don’t have the mobility to pull from the floor or want some variety, there are other exercises.

The two options I like instead of deadlifting are: Romanian deadlifts (RDL’s) and elevated sumo deadlifts.

These 2 exercises target the same muscles as the deadlift, the hamstrings, glutes and back and you get a great training effect.

What is also important, is the ability to continue to get stronger. These exercises will let you continue to push the weight and help you get strong and increase performance.

Here's my athlete, @will.schwartz.14 doing Elevated Sumo Deadlift. These are great if you lack the mobility to go to the floor or want to work on a weakness Awesome for building strength, power, and performance. This works the hamstrings, glutes, and upper back. Start in a comfortable but wide stance, with your toes slightly pointed out. Shift your hips back, slightly bend your knees, and keep your chest up. Grab the bar inside your legs, on the knurling, take a big breathe in, brace and pull your shoulders down towards your hips. As you start to pull, pull back, separate the floor, and show the logo on your chest. Keep the bar close to your shins and when the bar gets to your knees, start squeeze your glutes To lower, do the opposite, and that will put you back in a good starting position. Do these 1-2 times a week, for 3-5 sets of 2-6 reps. If you do these twice a week, it's best to vary the volume and intensity. Give these a try and let me know what you think! #strengthtraining #strength #training #fitness #deadlift #glutes #hamstrings #exercise #core #abs #coaching #rossystraining

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RDL's RDL's are one of my favorite accessory movements, and it's great for helping build a stronger deadlift. The RDL is also fantastic for building bigger, stronger hamstrings, glutes, and back. To start, stand tall, tighten your lats and brace your core. Then unlock and slightly bend your knees, push your hips back and keep your spine neutral. Keep the bar close to your body. Go down as far as you can remain neutral with minimum knee bend. Probably around mid-shin. On the way up, push your heels through the floor and squeeze your glutes. You can use dumbbells or a barbell, either one will be a great option. Do these 1-2 times a week, for 2-5 sets of 5-10 reps. Give it try and let me know what you think! #strengthtraining #strength #training #fitness #glutes #hamstrings #exercise #core #abs #coaching #rdls #rossystraining

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I like, “The Big 3” but it’s not the only way to train. You can use other exercises, like the 6 above, to get the same training results.

These exercises listed above are a little more friendly on the body and you can always go back when the time is appropriate.

Your goals aren’t dependent on any one exercise, unless you only want to improve these 3.

Today I listed 6 exercise options to get the same training affect but there are many more that you can use to get stronger, improve performance or change body composition.


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