Some common exercises performed at the gym include deadlifts, squats and bench presses. For all these exercises and their variations, be sure to monitor and use the proper form in order to avoid injury. Start off with a lighter weight or bodyweight and gradually work up in weight once you become more comfortable with the movement.
DEADLIFTS are a compound exercise used to work multiple lower body muscle groups, particularly the glutes, hamstrings, quads and core. Some different ways to perform this exercise include:
This is known as the most common and traditional way to perform a deadlift. Starting with the barbell on the floor in front of you, bend your knees and send your hips backwards while grabbing the bar with an overhand grip. Drive through your heels, engage your glutes and bring the bar back up to starting position.
In this variation, stand with a wider stance with your feet pointing outwards. This time the barbell is placed between your legs and your hands are holding onto the bar with an overhand grip. Lift the barbell by pushing your knees outwards and continue to drive through your heels. This variation emphasises the focus on your quadriceps and inner thighs.
This variation focuses most on the hamstring and glutes. Keep your feet hip-width and hold the barbell with an overhand grip in front of your thighs. Hinge at your hips while keeping your back straight and lower the barbell until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Once you feel the stretch, squeeze your glutes and straighten out your hips while returning to the starting position
This is very similar to Romanian deadlifts, however instead of bending your legs, keep them completely straight throughout the movement. Again, keep your feet hip-width apart and hold the barbell in front of your thighs. Lower the barbell as far as you can without rounding your back or bending your knees, and then lift back up using your glutes and hamstrings.
This variation requires a specific trap bar which allows you to lift the weight with a neutral grip rather than overhand grip. This allows you to lift heavier weights and reduce the strain on your lower back. Position yourself indie the trap bar, grip the handles and lift the weight by driving through your heels.
SQUATS are one of the most effective exercises for building lower body strength and developing a strong core. Some different ways to perform this exercise include:
This is the most common and basic form of squatting making it perfect for beginners. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed slightly outwards. Squat by pushing your hips back and bend your knees, ensuring that you keep your chest up and weight back onto your heels. Go down as far as you can before pushing up through your heels and returning to the starting position.
Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing slightly outwards. Squat down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Keep your chest up and weight on your heels as you go down as far as you can before pushing up through the heels to return to the starting position.
Place the barbell at shoulder height on a squat rack. Unrack the bar and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outwards. Be sure to keep your chest up and weight on your heels when you squat down and push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Similar to bodyweight squats, however in this variation you’ll be holding the barbell in front of your chest, resting on top of your shoulders. Squat down by pushing your hips back and ensure your chest is up with your weight resting on your heels.
Set yourself up in a lunge position with one foot in front of the other, about 2-3 feet apart. Keep your chest up, core engaged and relax your shoulders. Lower your back knee to the ground while keeping your front knee above your ankle. Push through your front foot to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
The BENCH PRESS is a very popular exercise used to target your chest, shoulders and triceps. There are many ways to use it in order to target these upper body muscle groups such as:
Lay flat on a bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. When lowering the bar down to your chest, keep your elbows close to your body and push back up to the starting position.
Similar to the barbell bench press however, instead of using a barbell, hold a dumbbell in each hand and lower them at the same time. Remember to keep your elbows close to your body.
By keeping the grip closer together (shoulder-width or closer) when lowering the bar to your chest, this focuses the tension onto the triceps rather than the chest.
Not only does this variation target the chest, but it focuses specifically on the upper chest. By laying down on an incline bench and keeping a wide grip on the bar, this will allow the tension to be focussed on the upper muscles of the chest.