What are the Weightlifting ‘Big 3’?

Trainer spotting a bench press at the JCC Los Gatos Fitness Center.

What are the Weightlifting ‘Big 3’?

The JCC Los Gatos is having a LiftFest 2022 weightlifting competition on Sunday, December 11th. In this competition, participants will show off their strengths doing the big 3; bench press, back squat, and deadlift. 

The “Big 3” are bench press, back squat, and deadlift. All three of these exercises are compound lifts, meaning they all work many muscle groups when being performed. These three exercises can lead to increased total body strength. 

Bench Press: When doing a bench press, you are targeting your chest, shoulder, and bicep muscles. Bench press also engages the core and glutes in order to ground and stabilize your movement when doing it. Bench presses can be beneficial in increasing upper body strength and improving muscular endurance. 

Back Squat: When you are doing a back squat, you are targeting the quadricep muscles and your glutes. Back squats are similar to a deadlift in the sense that both engage the rest of your body to assist in the movement. Back squats can be beneficial in strengthening the muscles in your lower body. Back squats lead to gained strength in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, which in turn help with attributes like speed and power.

Deadlift: When doing a deadlift, you are primarily targeting the glutes and hamstrings. However, other muscle groups are put to work to assist with the movement. Deadlifts are beneficial in activating and strengthening the muscles that stabilize your spine. Studies have also shown that performing deadlifts in conjunction with other resistance exercises can be an effective way to reduce or reverse age-related loss in bone mineral density.

Come enjoy the fun nature of competition amongst supportive JCC Los Gatos Fitness Center community members. All abilities and levels are welcome. Family and friends are welcome to come and cheer you on as well. Click here for more information and to sign up for LiftFest!


The Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center (APJCC) of Jewish Silicon Valley is a Jewish nonprofit community center in Los Gatos that welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds, and abilities.

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