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10 Strength-Building Strategies That Will Never Die

Follow these 10 rules for immediate and long-lasting muscle and strength.

Strength is the foundation of everyday acts of athleticism like hitting a 300-yard drive in golf and not-so-human feats like J.J. Watt's 5'1" box jump. Strength isn't limited to muscle size and capacity. You see, when you get stronger, you're better able to lose weight, run faster, and hit harder. Convinced you need to work on your strength? We've got 10 no-frills tips to help you make everything in your life feel just a little bit easier (and much lighter).

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1. Own the "big four."

The squat, deadlift, bench press, and shoulder press are the best strength-building exercises, period. The chinup and row are great moves too, but don't make them the focus of your workout — they can be assistance lifts to complement the bench and shoulder press, keeping your pulling muscles in balance with the pressing ones.

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2. Use barbells first.

Forget all the fad equipment. The barbell is king, the dumbbell is queen, and everything else is a court jester — it may have its place, but it's not essential. Start your workouts with barbell exercises, such as the "big four," as described above. Barbells let you load a lot of weight, and lifting heavy is the first step toward getting stronger. Once your heaviest strength exercises are out of the way, you can move on to dumbbell and bodyweight training.

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