Tips for Doing Squats, Deadlifts, and the Bench Press

When you decide to start exercising, you may encounter some problems due to a lack of experience. This lack of experience can cause severe pain or injury, but with some practical advice, you can avoid these risks. 
Tips for Doing Squats, Deadlifts, and the Bench Press

Last update: 03 July, 2018

Squats, deadlifts, and the bench press. Three basic exercises on which you should base your training. This involves a significant number of muscle groups and requires you to lift weights.

Mainly because of their characteristics, these are excellent exercises you can use to gain strength and increase muscle mass.

Give squats, deadlifts, and the bench press the time and focus they deserve in your bodybuilding and fitness workouts, since they will give you more strength among other things.

In this article, we will give you a series of tips to perform squats, deadlifts, and the bench press correctly, using specific techniques to achieve the best results.

Squats, deadlifts, and the bench press: The squat technique

Woman doing squats outdoors

Some things you might want to gather in order to do squats effectively: a squat cage, a bar, and plate weights. 

To begin the exercise, make sure you keep your back straight, separate your legs to the width of your shoulders, and rest the bar on your shoulders.

The movement consists of bending your knees until your buttocks are at knee level. 

At no point should your knee angle exceed 90 degrees as this can risk problems related to hyper flexion, due to excessive work on the joint. You should not come up short in the bend, since that would mean performing only a half squat.

If you are able to perfect that 90 degree angle, you have made a complete squat; as long as you are able to keep your back straight at all times. A small trick to achieve this is to keep looking straight ahead.

As for the position of  your feet, it is best to separate them at shoulder-width while keeping them facing forward.

If you increase the width of separation, the pressure of the squat will focus more on your quadriceps. On the other hand, if your feet do not continue facing forward, (that is, they are facing diagonally outwards) the work of your quadriceps is reduced.

What, then, is the most important thing to remember? Find a position for your feet which you feel as comfortable as possible in and one that allows you to maintain the correct back position. Especially if the bar is particularly heavy.

Deadlift Technique

Out of squats, deadlifts, and the bench press, the deadlift is, without doubt, the most technical exercise you can perform in a weight room. Additionally, the potential amount of weight you are able to lift with this activity is very high.

The flip side is that it is also one of the exercises in which you are at the greatest risk of injury if you do not pay special attention to the correct technique.

While performing the deadlift, it can be said that there are two points at which you must stop to evaluate your technique to see if you are performing the exercise properly.

Undoubtedly, your back must remain completely straight and you must avoid bending it throughout the entire repetition.

With this in mind, the first thing you must do before you even grab the bar to begin the exercise, is to pull your shoulder blades back – in the same way that you would when doing a bench press – and to contract your whole core in order to make sure your body is completely tight from the waist up.

The second most important thing is to make sure your body remains in a vertical position. Lift it up.

How do you do this? You must keep the bar glued to your body the entire time.

At first, the bar will be touching your shins and should keep touching your legs as you go up, until you are almost fully upright.

These small details serve as a basis to polish your technique for any type of deadlift. However, each activity has its peculiarities and, therefore, requires some adjustment at one or more points.

Bench Press Technique

Bench press

Undoubtedly, the bench press is the exercise most widely performed in gyms around the world, as you can see on any day when you go the gym and the machine is occupied the entire afternoon.

Of course, the bench press is the exercise on which you should base any pectoral routine – evidently the muscle we like to train the most.

Additionally, if you are in the correct position, you can lift a lot of weight with this movement without the risk of suffering uncomfortable shoulder injuries.

What should your main objective be while improving your bench press technique? Look for maximum stability throughout the exercise by keeping an eye on a couple of main areas.

First, both feet must be resting completely on the ground, since positioning them on tiptoe or up on the bench reduces balance and stability.

Along the same lines, your buttocks should also be resting completely on the bench. It is possible that your back may arch a little when you do the lift and, if your legs insufficiently open, your buttocks might move from the bench when your body tightens.

This makes it vitally important for you to control the opening of your legs so that, when your body tightens, the buttocks do not move from the bench.

The most important area of your body to keep in mind are your shoulder blades. This is where most of the tension in your body is generated, especially at the beginning of the movement, since it is the shoulders that pose the greatest risk of injury in this exercise. The solution in order to avoid these uncomfortable injuries is simple: pull your shoulder blades back.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.