Why Bench, Squat & Deadlift Programs Aren't Enough

Lots of high school strength training programs focus on three main lifts - the bench press, back squat and deadlift.
Certainly all three have a prominent place in building strength and muscle. There is a strong correlation to improving the weights you can lift here with increased performance in almost any team sport.
But are these exercises, and their variations, enough to produce maximum athletic development?
I'd strongly argue no.
There are a range of other things an athlete can do during workouts to raise their probability of future success and health in athletics. Here are, in my humble opinion, the biggest areas an athlete misses by only focusing on big lifts.
Limited mobility in key areas like the shoulders and hips can make you play more rigid and less athletically. It also raises your risk of injury, and shortens your stride length when sprinting (making you slower).
You don't need to stretch for hours to make gains. Determine your greatest needs and spend roughly 10 minutes per workout chipping away at it.
The bench, squat and deadlift use both limbs equally in order to allow you to move the greatest amount of weight.
Sports almost never require equal loading on both sides.
To say nothing of the fact that asymmetries in strength and mobility from one side of the body to the other is a huge risk for future injury.
Dumbbell and kettlebell loading, where each arm or leg must produce force independent of the other is more closely aligned with sport performance. Exercises like lunging, single arm rows and presses are all all hugely valuable drills for athletes.
Train to balance out strength levels on both sides equally to play better and safer.
Bench pressing without equal development of back side pulling muscles can cause shoulder problems, but it also takes away half of your effective upper body strength in athletic competition.
Squatting without focusing on depth, which almost every male high school athlete does to add more weight to the bar, negates potential hamstring and glute strength gains.
Deadlifting is best at developing strength in the back side of your body, but still leaves holes in how those muscles are actually used during sports (posterior, or back side muscles, often act more as shock absorbers than force producers).
Upper body pulling drills.
Targeted glute and hamstring drills that mimic athletic performance.
Elastic training (plyometrics) that helps you to build 'bounce'.
These are all critical to elite athletic development, and are missed by the 'Big 3' lifts.
You have to move fast to be fast. Speed & agility training takes a longer time to show results than strength or flexibility work, but to the serious athlete the benefits are more than worth the extra patience required.
In the weight room, speed-strength exercises like Olympic lifting and other similar ones develop more explosiveness in sport movements along with increasing speed.
Rotational movements like swinging bats and clubs, shooting pucks, and kicking balls demand more sport-specific drills. Lateral power is also helpful to generate more 'push' off your back leg in throwing and hitting sports.
Fast athletes play better, get more opportunities at the next level, and are prized by coaches.
Why would any athlete neglect this critical area of training?
We could continue by going into coordination-based movements for younger athletes, joint stability exercises for hyper mobile athletes and so on.
Long story short, basic programs produce basic results.
The more proven training tools you use, the better you'll play in the future.

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