Workout Tips

12 Moves for Building Grown-Man Strength

You can lift 1,000 pounds. Learn the best tips to become a member of strength’s exclusive club.


If you want an awesome body, you have to get strong. You need to challenge your body to build muscle. But what goal should you shoot for, and how do you know when you’re “strong?” 

When you enter the 1000 lb. Club. 

To become a member, you have to bench press, back squat and deadlift a combined 1000 lbs. or more. For example, if you have a 400-lb. deadlift, 350-lb. squat, and a 250-lb. bench, you’re in. But you must do these exercises the competition way: descend below parallel on the back squat, pause the barbell on your chest for the bench press, and lock out completely on the deadlift. Anything less is a “miss.”

“The 1000 lb. Club is your ticket into the ‘Grown Man Strength’ club,” says Chad Landers, CSCS, co-chair of USA Powerlifting in California and owner of PUSH Private Fitness in Toluca Lake, California. Being a member shows that you’ve trained extensively, you’ve slaved to improve your technique, and that you’re serious about true strength. It’s one thing to be strong in a single lift; it’s quite another to be strong in all of them. 

That’s why this club is so special. 

It’s not about a few, pretty muscles; it’s about power, strength, size and grit from head-to-toe. It’s about moving heavy-ass things and building a powerful, confident and athletic body—not about superfluously pumping your calves or biceps. 

Learn the best tips for a monster deadlift, squat, and bench press and how to put it all together with a great program. “Joining the 1000 lb. Club is hard and requires a lot of work and consistent effort over a long time,” says Landers. 

But there’s no better benchmark of total-body strength. 

The Back Squat

The back squat is the king of all exercises. 

It builds powerful legs and massive quads while strengthening your core and your back. It adds slabs of muscles to your frame, fires your nervous system, and activates so many muscles because your body must support the weight and stay rigid. The big problem, however, is that many guys think they squat heavy, but actually go down only 8 inches. 

“Take a wide enough stance that you feel you are sitting down in between your legs, not on top of them,” Landers explains. At the bottom of the back squat, you want your thighbone to be parallel to the ground or lower otherwise it’s void. “Then, as you rise, tighten your core,” he says. 

To build your squat, squat often. “Guys don’t squat enough,” says Landers. “Worse is when you completely replace the squat with the leg press rather than treating the leg press like an accessory exercise.” Instead, for variety, add other types of squats to your workout program that have carryover to the back squat—if you use the front squat, for example, you’ll hammer your quads and maintain good posture throughout the main lift. 

Try this workout on your leg day to boost your squat:

A1: Back Squat 5 x 10,5,5,3,3 (increase weight each set)

B1: Alternating Lunges 3 x 10 each side
B2: Swiss Ball Leg Curl 3 x 12-15 (or glute/ham raise 3 x 6-10)
B3: Standing Calf Raise 3 x 15-20