It is important to use proper form when squatting, as incorrect form can lead to injury.
When completing any of the three traditional lifts, the squat, bench or the deadlift, make sure that you start out with a light weight and always use a spotter.
The squat targets the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, and requires you to stabilize your core. Implementing squats into your leg routine can strengthens your legs, increases flexibility, and strengthens the muscles around your knees.
To begin, set the bar in the rack at about mid-chest level. Then position your feet shoulder width apart, directly under the bar. Place the bar evenly above your upper back muscles at the base of your neck.
By lifting the elbow up, you can create a shelf for the bar to rest on so that it is not resting directly on your spine.
Step forward and then begin the movement downwards with your weight on your heels and sink your hips by moving them backwards as if you were going to sit in a chair.
Keep your chest up and look forward to maintain a straight back. Once your hips are parallel with the ground, drive your heels downward and extend your hips and knees to return to the starting position. To avoid a knee injury, do not sink forward by moving your knees in front of your toes.
The deadlift is a total body lift with emphasis on the lower back and hamstrings.
To begin, stand centered over the bar, with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart.
Grab the bar with an over-under grip so your arms are vertical to the floor. Sink your hips downward, and bend through your knees until your shins touch the bar. Begin to pull upwards, keeping the bar close to your body and your weight on your heels for the duration of the lift.
Keep your chest centered over the bar, and maintain a straight back through the entire lift. Bring the bar up past your knees to your thighs, and drive your hips forward to complete the lift.
Once you are at the top of the movement, lower the bar by pushing your hips back first, and then bend your knees once the bar reaches knee level.
The Bench Press is an upper body lift that targets your pectorals and triceps. To begin the lift, place your feet firmly on the ground and lie flat on the weight bench with your shoulders centered on the pad.
Try to space your grip so that when the bar touches your chest, your forearms are perpendicular to the ground. Squeezing the bar, and keeping your upper-back tight and your chest up, unrack the weight and bring the barbell down to the peak of your chest.
Lower the bar until your elbows are parallel to the floor. Press the bar in a straight line above your chest, not towards your face. Keep the bar above your elbows during the whole lift.