By John Annillo, C.S.C.S. Men's Fitness
Remember the very first time you hit the gym to try to bulk up and get in better shape?
No doubt, within the first five minutes, you made a beeline for the bench press—a station that calls out to newbies with the promise of a big barrel chest and powerful arms.
Then, after looking around the room at more experienced lifters, you decided to take a stab and the infamous squat. Sure, it was a little tough, and you weren't able to pile on the weight (not yet anyway) but at least it was a move that seemed straightforward enough. Finally, you moved on to the deadlift, and exercise that's tough on the back...but one that left you with a satisfying feeling of soreness the next day.
Although that's where most of us tend to start, as we become more exeprienced and better aquainted with the weight room, there's a tendancy to shift away from the basics in favor of more complicated, muscle group-specific moves. But there are a few good reasons to take a step back and revisit these classic exercises: If you base your workout routine around these core moves, eat clean and throw some sprints in the mix, you're be rewarded with higher testosterone levels, a fired-up metabolism and muscles that flare.
To get going, start with some basics: Get some heavy weight in your hands, challenge yourself, keep challenging yourself and get ready for your new and improved body.
At Training for Warriors, we have a saying, “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Our clients, no matter what population (unless they have a limiting injury) start off their routines with one of these three big lifts:
Before you begin: test your max to see what your starting numbers are.
Frequency: Go heavy with each of the big 3 once a week. Giving tour muscles a lot of time recover will help you avoid doing damage to your joints/muscles.
Rest: In-between heavy sets take about a 3-5 minute rest.
Reps: 4-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Tempo: Always be explosive on the hardest part of the lift
Muscles Worked: Full Body
Remember: Always warm-up, use good form, use a spotter & know your limits
Squeeze the bar. pull the bar apart with your hands. This will get your elbows into better position, keep your body locked in tight, and get your supporting muscles ready to fire.
Keep your elbows closer to your body. Incorporates more of your triceps vs. your weaker shoulder muscles.
Get a wider grip on the bar. Decreases the path which the bar has to travel
Use a leg drive. Bringing your feet back and arching your back will decrease the path which the bar has to travel.
Take off your shoes
Your elbows should be directly outside of your knees
Push your knees outward (toward your elbows), which will help activating your strong glute muscles.
Strengthen your grip
Focus on being fast as you go for that first lift off of the ground. Think 0-100mph as soon as you move (with good form).
Tight upper back. Keep your shoulder blades pinched together to give a stronger base for the bar to sit on.
Your body follows your head. Keep your eyes forward and head up.
Push from your heels. This will activate more of your posterior chain.
Activate your glutes. Avoid letting your knees buckle in as you rise from the squat