Whether you're a newbie to the gym, a retired cardio bunny or a former athlete who lifted years ago, there are basics about strength training that cross all boundaries.
There are three major compound lifts that are essential to any training program and can be perfected with practice and patience. Let me introduce you to the bench press, squat and deadlift.
**For demonstrations of these exercises just type them into google and there will be highly detailed videos and demonstrations on exactly how to perform these exercises**
Also known as the three power lifts, the bench press, squat and deadlift are excellent compound movement exercise. Compound exercises are named as such because they incorporate nearly every muscle in your body to execute.
Doing exercises such as a seated bicep curl would be an example of an isolated exercise, opposite of compound, as it really only works the bicep muscle(s). Isolation exercises are just as important but we will touch on those later.
The deadlift is a great exercise that really works the back, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. There are many variations of this lift, such as conventional or Romanian. Depending on which you do, you will notice different muscle groups being engaged.
Squats work similar muscles to the deadlift. You can do squats with the bar on your back or holding the bar across the front of your shoulders. Either way, make sure you squat with great depth and maintain control and good posture.
The bench press is a great exercise for the upper body, working the chest, triceps, and shoulders.
There are other exercises you should know when stepping foot onto a weight floor. Some of these exercises are:
Push Ups- You can do variations of these if you're not quite there with doing "real" pushups. Try kneeling pushups or doing them against a wall.
Sit Ups- Done properly, sit-ups are awesome for your core (abs and obliques) and your lower back as well. Try them on the flat ground and on a decline bench.
Lunges- Work your quads, hamstrings, and butt all in one with this exercise. Lunges can be done stationary (in place), walking, or even on a treadmill. Just be sure your knee never crosses over your toes when lunging to keep proper form in check.
Leg Press- This is an awesome exercise for many reasons, one being that you can work different muscle groups in your legs just by switching up your foot stance. For more hamstring work, put your feet high and wide and press on your heels. Put your feet low and narrow and suddenly you're working your glutes. Play around with variations.
Ask anyone what they believe to be the basic strength training exercises and chances are you'll get a variety of answers. After building your foundation do an experiment and then stick with what works best for you. Always remember to warm up and cool down, and include stretches. Practice proper form and you'll see your maxes go up on a regular basis with these exercises!