The Five Essentials...
The 5 Essential Lifts
Trying to get back into the gym? Or maybe you've already been working out for a while and are wondering why you aren't seeing results. Well, you're in luck, we're here to help. There are five essential lifts that you can add to any workout plan that will almost guarantee results. With proper dieting and these five core essential lifts, you'll be on your way to a better physique in no time!
Everybody knows they shouldn't skip leg day... With proper form, you will see great strength gains if you squat on a regular basis. The main muscles targeted when performing a squat are the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. However, squatting is also very beneficial for your core muscles, as well. Definitely don't skip out on squats.
While this lift will mainly target your lower back, deadlifts are one of the only workouts that activate and target almost every muscle in the body one way or another. There are many variations of deadlifts. Some of which are more back intensive, while others are more focused on the legs, mainly the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. The most important thing to remember is keep your core tight and to not round your back, as this can lead to injury. Use light weights until you get comfortable with your technique, and then slowly increase the weight.
- Bench Press
One of the most important workouts of any chest workout routine is the bench press. Whether you are using a barbell or dumbbells, the bench press is an amazing way to target not only your chest, but your shoulders, triceps, and forearms as well. Ideally we would like to start out with a flat bench and a barbell, dumbells typically require more control and require alot more work from your stabilizer muscles. To get an idea of where to grip the bar during a barbell bench press, lay down flat on the bench, and pretend you have a barbell in your hands. Lower your hands until the bar would be at your chest, ideally you want your arms to be at a 45 degree angle from your torso. Once your elbows are in that position, your forearms should be pointed straight up at the ceiling. This is the grip you want to start at. Load the bar up with a comfortable weight and practice until you have mastered your form before adding more weight. Once you feel comfortable with benching on a flat bench, feel free to start introducing incline, decline, wide-grip, close-grip, and other variants to target specific parts of your chest.
- Military Press
A standing military press (using a barbell) will mainly target your shoulders, but will also hit your triceps and core as well. For better isolation you can use dumbbells, but either way make sure to keep your core tight throughout the range of motion. As with any new lift, start with light weight and add weight once you feel comfortable with the movement.
- Barbell Row
Having a strong back is very important to strength training, muscle building, and overall health. Your back is important for many things including stability, and the bent over barbell row is one of the best ways to strengthen this area. When performing a barbell row, brace your core muscles before lifting the weight off the rack. Then, lean forward and push your butt back to help keep the weight as close to over your feet as possible. When performing any kind of row, you want to focus more on moving the weight with your back, rather than your biceps. A common cue that most people use to ensure they're targeting their back, is to pull from your elbows. Imagine your hands and forearms as nothing more than hooks. Their only job is to hold on to the bar. Pull from your elbows and try not to use your biceps as much as possible. Squeeze your back once you've reached full contraction, then slowly lower the weight back down. It is important that you control the weight and not jerk it, as this can lead to injury.
So, what are you waiting for?
Once again, if your diet is on point, and you're making it to the gym at least 4 times a week, adding these five essential lifts will make sure your getting the gains you deserve!