Metro Weekly

Getting Fit: The 4 Sides to the Base of Strength

Great Pyramids

Ponder for a moment the ancient Egyptian pyramids. Their towering shadows, the effort of the workers who built them, hoisting the building blocks into place, the engineering marvels that far surpassed what should have been feasible at the time. Some interesting facts about those pyramids. It took upwards of 50 years to build a single one; two generations of people. The blocks can range from 2.5 to 8 tons in weight.

But the most interesting fact? The blocks at the bottom are significantly larger than the blocks at the top. The limestone at the base had to be the strongest, support all the weight, and be the foundation of the entire pyramid — just like your body, a strong base of strength and support.

Previously, I reviewed two beginner weight lifting programs, both designed to help build this base of strength. But why should you?

I should first clarify what a base of strength is. This is not about getting to a 225 pound bench press or 135 pound press before switching to dumbbells for growth. It’s not about requiring a belt for extra support when you’re throwing around enormous numbers on the squat and deadlift. Rather, it’s about learning the basic movements that will translate into every other exercise you do at the gym.

The base of strength can be divided into four main categories. In order to move into intermediate and advanced weightlifting and bodybuilding programs, having this base fully developed is essential.

Side one is the Upper Body Pressing:

  • Bench Press and Overhead Press

    Chest, Deltoids and Triceps

The second side of your base is the Lower Body Pressing:

  • Squats and more Squats
    Quads, Calves and Interior Adductors

Lower Body pulling comprises your third length of base:

  • Deadlifts

    Glutes, Hamstrings and Lower Back (also known as the posterior chain)

And rounding out the base is the Upper Body Pulling:

  • Rows and Power Cleans

    Biceps, Back and Rear Deltoids

All four sides, worked together, form your pyramid base. From there you build and build. And you keep building until you have a physique that matches the greatness of the Giza Pyramids.

Join our e-mail list.

Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at