GO HEAVY OR GO HOME! 6 MOVES TO LIFT HEAVY WEIGHT
Are you ready to hit the weights but not quite sure where to start? Here are some tips that will help get those ripped muscles you have always wanted! Make sure you check with your doctor before starting any new work out.
If you are in good health and do not have any injuries that prevent you from squatting (knees, back, hips) it is safe to squat heavy. The primary muscles used in a squat are quadriceps and hamstrings. Squat with your heels directly under your shoulders, your heels should always be shoulder-width apart when squatting. Also, try and squat with a wider stance, place your heels shoulder-width apart and turn your toes out about 30 degrees. Your stance needs to not be too narrow or too wide. If you try to squat too wide, you risk injuring your groin, don't do it!
Safety always comes first when pressing heavy weights. With proper technique and a good spotter if needed, bench pressing will increase your shoulder strength. The bench press is a core exercise to help you develop upper body strength. You can't develop the same upper body strength with any other exercise. You are not only working your chest, but your front shoulders, triceps, and back. Remember when bench pressing to widen your grip, arch your back, retract your shoulder blades, always keep your feet on the floor, and drive with you heels. Here are the steps to a perfect bench press:
- Step 1: Grip. Determine your proper hand spacing on the bar. Your forearms should be as close to vertical at the bottom of the rep.
- Step 2: Lock Down. With weight on the bar, lay back on the bench and plant your feet on the floor. Place your palms on the back of the bar, then rotate the bar so your palms are directly under the bar. This will put your shoulders in the strongest and most stable position.
- Step 3: Remove the bar, tighten up your torso, and lower the bar to the bottom of your sternum. Lightly touch the weight to your chest. DO NOT bounce the weight off your chest. This can cause injury.
- Step 4: Begin to press up. Drive with you legs. YES, your leg power can actually help you bench press more weight!
- Step 5: Raise the bar. Exhale; keep your feet firmly on the floor, trying not to shift your weight.
- Step 6: Finish. Power the weight through lockout.
By following these steps, you will have just completed the perfect rep! Now do it again.
This exercise works almost every muscle and focuses on hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, most back muscles, and forearms. Heavy deadlifts are a safe option if you have a solid technique and no issues with your knees, hips, or back. To start your deadlift here are the steps:
- Step 1: Walk up to the bar and stand with your mid-foot underneath the bar at a hip-width stance, put your toes out about 15 degrees.
- Step 2: Grab the bar shoulder-width apart with your arms vertical just outside of your legs.
- Step 3: Bend your knees, allow your shins to touch the bar and keep the bar over your mid-foot.
- Step 4: Lift your chest and straighten your back, do this without moving the bar, dropping your hips, or tightening your shoulder blades.
- Step 5: Pull up the bar, take a breath, hold it and stand up. Do not shrug or lean back at the top of the rep.
Your deadlift is complete after you have locked your hip and knees. Push your hips back and slowly return the weight back to the floor. Remember to bend your legs once the bar reaches your knees.
Rest up and do your next rep!
CLEAN AND JERK:
The clean and jerk is comprised of lifting a barbell from the floor, all the way above the head. This type of lift requires great technique and expertise. However, if done properly, it can be safe and perfect for heavy weight.
Similar to the clean and jerk, the snatch is performed by lifting the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion. This is a great exercise if you have proper form and mobility.
A great outdoors exercise; sled drags are a very safe way to pull a lot of weight and are one of the most effective quad builders. They are great for active recovery, flexibility and mobility, and strengthening common weak areas such as the hamstrings, upper back, hips, and glutes. Some gyms have sleds, if not you can find a big tire, a piece of plywood, rope, and some big sandbags or rocks to use as weight and make your own! Here are some pulls for both the lower body and upper body to help get you started.
Pull the sled with the straps attached to a weightlifting belt or harness. Start to walk forward, taking long strides while keeping your body upright. This pull will work your hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
Put the strap around your ankles. Take strong steps forward. This will work your hips, lower abs, and hamstrings.
Put the strap around the front of your belt and walk backwards. This will work your quads and hips.
Walk forward with the strap behind you and place your arms in a pressing motion like you would on a bench.
Walk backward while keeping the strap in your hand in front of you. Step back and row the sled towards you while pulling your shoulders back.
You can also do rear and front raises by using the strap like it was a pulley. Rear and front raises are great for shoulder health and strength.