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‘New Year, New You.’

These words endlessly resound in your mind as you approach the front desk, asking the nice girl behind the counter if you could please get a year’s worth of membership. Upon finalising your membership, she asks you if you’ve been to this gym before, to which you respond with a sheepish “no.” She gets out from behind her desk and gives you a tour. “Here are the treadmills, the elliptical trainers; the free weights; the pin-loaded machines…” she says as she walks you through the musky building. “And that’s it. Do you have any questions?” You give the gym one quick glance; you see people of all ages, races, and body types lifting heavy objects up, and putting them back down again, for sets of ten. You’ve only ever used a treadmill before, and its monotony has often left you feeling disappointed with your lack of progress and consistency. You regain eye contact with the girl and respond –

“How do I lift weights?”

 

Squats

1.      Setup. Ensure the barbell is set on a rack slightly above shoulder level. Once done, step under the bar, allowing it to rest on your upper back (below the neck). Hold onto the bar with both of your hands at each side. Raise your chest.

2.      Unrack the barbell. Position your feet to roughly shoulder-width, with the toes pointed slightly out. Straighten your legs to unrack the barbell. Step back with straight legs, keep your head up, and preserve a straight back. Lock your hips and knees. This will be your starting position.

3.      Squat. Breathe in, and begin to squat down. Bend your knees and sit back with your hips. Keep your lower back neutral, and your head up. Continue going down until your hamstrings are on your calves.

4.      Squat back up. Exhale as you start to raise the bar. Push the floor with the heels of your feet as you begin to straighten your legs and bring your hips upward and forward. Lock your hips and knees at the top.

5.      Repeat for the necessary amount of repetitions.

 

Bench Press

1.      Setup. Lie on a flat bench. Lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades (bringing them back and down). Maintain a medium-width grip on the barbell (put your pinky finger inside the ring marks). Hold the barbell in your palms with a full grip, ensuring that your wrists are straight.

2.      Unrack the barbell. Whilst exhaling, unrack the barbell by straightening your arms. Move the bar over your shoulders and keep your arms and elbows locked. This will be your starting position.

3.      Lower the bar. While inhaling, bring the barbell slowly down until it touches the middle of your chest. Keep your forearms vertical, and hold your breath at the bottom.

4.      Press. Exhaling, push the bar from your chest back to above your shoulders. Lock your arms and elbows, and squeeze your chest muscles at the top of the motion.

5.      Repeat for the necessary amount of repetitions.

Deadlift

1.      Setup. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and underneath the bar. Toes pointed out slightly.

2.      Grab the bar. Keep your arms vertical, and grab the bar just outside your legs. Use an overhand or an overhand/underhand grip for heavier sets.

3.      Bend your knees. Keep doing so until your shins make contact with the barbell.

4.      Lift your chest, and straighten your back. This will be your starting position.

5.      Pull. Hold the barbell against your legs, and pull while standing up. Drive through the heels to pull the weight upward. After the bar passes your knees, pull your shoulder blades back, and drive the hip forward towards the bar.

6.      Lower the bar by bending your hips, and direct it towards the floor.

7.      Repeat for the necessary amount of repetitions.

Overhead press

1.      Setup. Have the bar rest on your front shoulders. Using a narrow overhand grip, keep your wrists straight and your forearms vertical. Lock your knees and hips. Lift up your chest. This will be your starting position.

2.      Press. While exhaling, press the barbell directly above your head in a vertical line. Lock out your elbows and arms.

3.      Lower the barbell back to the starting position while you inhale.

4.      Repeat for the necessary amount of repetitions.

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