Jul 4th, 2014
Category: strength training
Get your setup right for any standing or seated exercise, and you will improve your strength and lifts. It’s that simple. Here’s how:
- Make sure that your feet are properly planted, firmly and positioned right. Think of your feet being cemented to the floor. Your weight needs to be evenly placed on both feet. They also need to be a little wider than shoulder width apart in most cases. To ensure balance don’t lift heels, or roll your foot. Watch other people in the gym for their foot placement, and watch the effects on their lifts. Now experiment as your feet being just an inch to narrow or an inch too wide can make a huge difference in good is the set.
- Your knees should never be locked out. They need to firm but flexible. Like shock absorbers. You should be able to maintain your position without having to fight to keep your balance.
- Keep your hips in a neutral position, not tilted either forward or backward. It’s essential for stability. Forward tilted hips is a posture problem that affects almost anyone who sits a lot, while a backward tilt commonly referred to as “flat back,” the hamstrings and glutes are tight, pulling the back of the hips down, while the abdominals are pulling the front of the hips up.
- A lot of your strength comes from your lower back so make sure that your back is arched and that you lock it down nice and tight.
- Your chest should be up high and shoulders back while your head should be facing forward to maintain correct alignment.Your chin should be up and your eyes facing forward.
- Do a “mental check off” making sure each of these points are positioned correctly before you even begin a set. Visualise your perfect lift, and then do it.
Make sure you do this for every exercise during every workout—even your warm up sets. These things may seem basic, but so many people develop bad habits in one part of the body and then they lifting heavy without building a solid foundation and muscle balance. You cannot hone and perfectly execute advanced heavy lifts unless your foundation is solid.
It’s harder to correct muscle imbalances from bad habits than building the correct foundation. Get your setup right for each exercise, and listen to your body as you execute the set. You’ll be surprised by what you learn.
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