A Guide to our Workout Room
For those new to lifting weights, or people that have only done cardio based classes, I wanted to give a primer to how to use my two favorite pieces of equipment as I find a lot of my clients are unsure of how to get the most out squat racks and bench presses. I spend a lot of time explaining how to use each area, so this will be the guide I point my new clients to.
Getting right into the meat first, I love the squat rack. There was a poll I read once that asked body builders which piece of equipment they would want if they could only have one while stranded on a desert island and they chose a squat rack. It’s a versatile piece of equipment as you can do a lot of different exercises, from squats, to presses, to holding the bar in between arm curls.
I found a great set of instructions and pictures here on how to perform a squat using the squat rack
- Place the bar on the rack below shoulder level. When the bar is loaded, step under it and place it on the back of your shoulders (just below the neck).
- Grip with both hands at either side. Lift the bar off the rack by pushing towards the ceiling with your legs and straighten your body.
- Step back from the power rack and position your legs shoulder width apart, toes pointing slightly outwards. Keep your head up and maintain a straight back and tight core.
- Lower the bar by bending at the knees and hips maintaining a straight posture with your head up. Continue squatting down until parallel.
- Finally, raise the bar by pushing through the floor with the heels of your feet, straightening your legs again and returning to the starting position.
One of the most used piece of equipment, but another one that people get a little nervous before using for the first time, plus it’s usually very intimidating as the Bench is always in the middle of the room where it’s very visible to everyone working out.
One thing to remember is to always add plates to each side 1 at a time, you never want to add 3 plates to one side as it will be unbalanced and could easily tip over.
To do a proper flat bench press always make sure you have a spotter at the ready, then you will push up to unrack the bar from the machine so your arms are straight above your chest, feet firmly planted on the floor. When you bring the bar down to your chest keep your elbows toward your side. A lot of people tend to flare their elbows out but this, over the long haul, will give your elbows and shoulders a lot of problems. Bring the bar down to your chest, and then push up. Make sure you don’t lock out your elbows and bring it back down again.