First up is the bench press. This move works on a lot of the muscles in the upper body, specifically the chest, and is probably the first move anyone thinks of when they think of 'lifting weights'. Once you have picked a weight that suits you, the first step in this move is to lie down on the bench and to grab the bar at an equal distance from the center with each hand. For most people, this is around shoulder width. Make sure to get a nice firm grip with each hand so you feel in control. Then plant your feet into the ground and squeeze your glutes in order to tighten your hips. This should help create tension in your entire body.
The next step is to drive your chest upwards and pull your shoulder blades down into the bench. This position is crucial for putting tension from the weight on your chest rather than your shoulders. Then Unrack the bar and move it directly over your chest while maintaining the previous position. Once you have done that, in a relatively slow and controlled manner, move the weight downwards to your chest. Your arms should be at about a 45-degree angle from your body, and your wrists and elbows should stay aligned, close to perpendicular to the floor. After the weight has reached your chest, do your best to keep your entire body tight, and push the weight back up as fast as you can. Do however many reps you were planning, and then safely rack the weight. If you follow this guide step by step, then congratulations, you've done a perfect set of bench press!
Next up is the squat. This is the ultimate movement for your legs, especially the quads, and is the best exercise all around for the lower half of your body. Squats tend to be the most strenuous exercise of them all, and as such, should be performed perfectly to prevent any injuries. Start by setting up your weight, and then stand underneath the center of the bar and place your hands apart at an even distance, again with a solid, firm grip. Then bring your chest upwards (also known as making a big chest) and tighten your core. Once you are ready, lift up the weight from the rack and take one step backwards with each foot, settling them at around shoulder width apart with your toes pointing forward. Once you feel in control, keep your chest up, stay as tall as you can, and begin to lower yourself while hinging your hips back slightly. When you reach the bottom, reverse the process and make your way back up. Once again, do your reps, and then safely place the bar back on the rack. That is how to do a weighted squat!
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