Why are these exercises important?

People say many things these days like, “Health is wealth,” and, “My body is my temple” and both are true. However, I prefer to describe our body as a pyramid. A pyramid may only be as tall as it’s base is wide, and that’s what this is, your base. Almost every physical action is a form of strength. Endurance, balance, explosive, hypertrophy (muscle size) are all forms of strength. The king of strength is maximal strength. Now, why is maximal strength important? Because you can increase strength endurance and not increase any other form of strength and the same can be said for all forms of strength with the exception of maximal strength. The best way to explain this is with an event that actually happened and you can even find footage of this on the internet. Brian Shaw, the world’s strongest man, competed against multiple CrossFit competitors in a 30 rep clean and press race with 135. These individuals trained specifically for these types of events while Shaw focuses on maximal strength, with almost 0 endurance training and very little Olympic lifting. Who do you think won? If you said the CrossFit guys then you were wrong. Shaw destroyed them because his overall strength made 135 look like he was picking up his underwear while the competitors actually had to strain a bit to move the weight. Long story short as your maximal strength rises so do all forms of strength. So are you ready to build your base? Are you ready to start making real progress towards your goals? Then turn the page.

For further instruction email Freedomfitnessjosh@gmail.com with the title “Keys to the Big 3”

Squat

Why is it important to squat? Is it bad for your knees? Is it bad for your back? To answer the second and third plainly, no, not when done properly. Now as for why it’s beneficial: enhanced athletic performance, increased metabolism, high calorie demand, total body strength and muscle.

1) Pull the bar through like you’re trying to bend it over your back to engage your lats and brace your core, similarly to when you cough or sneeze.

2) Keep your head and spine in a neutral position by tucking your chin while looking up with your eyes. DO NOT over arch or round your back, both will lead to back pain if not severe spinal issues down the road.

3) Root yourself to the floor by twisting your feet and pushing the floor from you,this will help keep your knees from collapsing in by activating your hips thus saving you from knee pain and knee injuries. DO NOT just stand up, this will cause your hips to rise without the bar leaving you in a bent over and vulnerable position.

START FORM > END FORM (Front/Side View)

Bad Form: Knees collapsing in, back rounded, weight on toes, knees exceedingly forward.

BENCH

Why should I bench? Is it bad for my shoulders, elbow, and wrists? Once again there is a theme here, no, not if done correctly. The benefits are numerous and include total upper body strength with and emphasis on pushing power, upper body muscularity (this includes toning).

1) Plant your feet on the ground and push them into the ground hard while keeping your butt on the bench, this is your base and it’s VERY important. Pull your shoulder blade down and back causing an arch in your back, think of making your chest as big as possible. This will engage your lats and also put the shoulders in a safe position to avoid injury.

2) Put your hands evenly on the bar, hand position will be dictated by your build and muscularity. Grip the bar hard so that you can punch through, to help avoid wrist pain or injury, and twist your hands out to help engage lats further.

3) As you perform the movement bring the bar to the bottom of your chest, sometimes called the keyhole, where people easily have the wind knocked out of them. When you begin coming up think of breaking the bar in two and pushing them toward opposite walls. At no point should your elbows be outside your hands during this movement.

   Bad Form (3 pictures below): Loose grip, limp wrists, elbows flared out, no arch in back, shoulders shrugged up towards ear, the bar is high on the chest, not able to touch the chest, feet aren’t planted (no base).

Good Form (4 bottom pictures)

DEADLIFT

Now I’m sure by now you have caught on, that all of these lifts are not dangerous when performed properly and deadlift is no exception. You will be hard-pressed to find an exercise that can be more beneficial than the deadlift as it takes every bit of muscle you have to perform is properly. As a result of this, the benefits are boundless and include Posterior chain development (more commonly known for including the booty), total body strength, muscularity, increased metabolism, caloric demand, and mental toughness.

1) Have feet beneath your hips and make your arms as long as possible. Having your hands wider than they naturally hang actually INCREASES the range of motion while putting you in a more compromised position.

2) Grab the bar and pull the slack out of the bar by pulling your shoulders towards your hips, you should hear a small clang, take a big breath and brace your core. Drop your hips into position and have most of your body behind the bar.

3) Try and keep the hips as close to the bar as possible and drag the bar up to your shins and thighs. The spine should stay neutral, don’t overextended or round your back over as this will lead to back pain and most likely serious injuries down the road.

Good Form

Bad Form: Hands and feet too wide, slack still in the bar, hips started way too high, bar isn’t close to body, rounded back, soft stomach, arms aren’t as long as possible, leaning back at the top.