Getting the main compound lifts correct provides the basis for all of your future training sessions. Adopting the correct form and technique and not lifting heavier than what’s possible will see you progress regularly in the gym. Remember, when it comes to lifting, patience is a virtue. Here’s how you can master the 3 most important lifts: the bench press, the deadlift, and the squat.


The correct attire

First, before you enter the gym, have the correct gym attire and accessories ready to help you along your way. Have you got the correct shoes? Have you got the correct supporting and assistance accessories, such as weight belts, lifting straps, knee straps and chalk? Always be prepared for when you set foot in the gym.


Form, form and FORM

The main thing you should do before going heavy on any lift is to master the correct form for the lift 110%. If you can’t maintain the correct form, then the weight is too heavy, and you need stop and knock down the weight. Having the correct form will allow you to execute the lift properly and activate the correct muscles. As your muscles adapt to the movement, you will be able to increase the weights each week and master the lifts.


The Deadlift

With the deadlift, you should start very light and with the help of an experienced lifter or personal trainer as this is a very difficult move to master. Keeping your back and posture straight is the fundamental principle of the deadlift, and if you struggle, use a belt to help assist you. Ensure your foot positioning is just past shoulder width apart. Don’t lift the bar with your upper body. The deadlift does not start from the hips or back; it starts from the knees extending as you push the feet down.


The Bench Press

The bench press is a full body compound move. Proper bench-pressing form starts by lying on a Bench with your feet on the floor. Un-rack the bar with the assistance from a spotter with straight arms. Lower it to your mid-chest. Press it back up until you’ve locked your elbows. Keep your butt on the bench. Start off very light as it’s very demanding of your triceps. Isolate your triceps after benching to improve strength.


The Squat

Begin by practicing bodyweight squats. Standing with your feet hip-width apart push your butt back and down like you are sitting down in a chair. Keep your knees over your ankles, as you lower and don’t let your knees extend over the middle of your foot or past your toes. Engage your core to protect your lower back. Use the help of a spotter or personal trainer when you can for optimum results.


With any lift, always start light until you are 100% comfortable with the form you need to adopt and always get the help from a spotter.


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Betsy Smith

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