Barbell Basics

Front Squat

• Stance should be shoulder width apart.
• Full extension at hips and knees
• Bar “racked” on the shoulders (create a shelf with the shoulders for the bar to sit on), hands outside shoulders, loose fingertip grip
• Elbows high, arms parallel to the ground.
• Keep your weight on your heels with lumbar curve maintained and chest up
• Keep your elbows high, arms should stay parallel to the ground throughout the whole movement
• Butt travels back and down
• Bottom of squat is below parallel (hip crease is below the top of the kneecap)
• Knees track parallel to feet
• Return to full extension at the hips and knees to complete the move
• Head position remains neutral

Dead Lift

• Stance should be shoulder width apart
• Keep your weight in your heels, back arched/lumbar curve locked in
• Shoulders in front of the bar
• Bar should be in contact with the shins with arms locked straight
• Take a symmetrical grip outside the knees, just wide enough to not
interfere with knees
• Drive through the heels
• Extend legs while hips and shoulders rise at the same rate
• Once the bar passes the knees, the hip opens to extension
• Bar maintains contact with the legs the entire time
• On return to the floor, push hips back and shoulders forward slightly,
delay the knee bend
• Once bar descends below the knees and the torso angle is set, return
the bar down to the setup position

Sumo Deadlift High Pull
• Stance is wider than shoulder width, but not so wide that the knees roll
inside the feet
• Keep your weight in your heels
• Back arched/lumbar curve locked in
• Shoulders slightly in front of the bar
• Bar in contact with the shins with arms locked straight
• Symmetrical grip inside the knees
• Accelerate through the heels from the ground to full extension of the
hips and legs
• Shrug, with straight arms
• Arms follow through by pulling bar to the chin with elbows high
and outside
• Return the bar down fluidly in the reverse sequence: arms, then traps,
then hips, then knees

Push Press

• Start with a hip-width stance
• Hands just outside the shoulders
• Bar in front, resting on the “rack” or “shelf”
created by the shoulders
• Elbows down and in front of bar, lower than in
the front squat
• Keep your midsection tight
• Closed grip, with thumbs around the bar
• The cue for the action is “Dip, drive, press”
• Dip: perform a shallow dip (flexion) of the hips,
where the knees push forward slightly, the butt
goes back, and the chest stays upright
• Drive: extend the hip rapidly and fully
• Press: press the bar to overhead, with
locked arms


• Stand shoulder-width apart with the bar on front rack
• Hands should be just outside the shoulders, full grip on the bar
• Elbows in front of the bar
• Hips descend down and back, below parallel to the floor
• Lumbar curve maintained
• Keep your knees in line with your toes
• Elbows stay off the knees
• Hips and legs extend rapidly, then press upwards
• Keep your heels down
• Complete a full hip, knee and arm extension

NFM Staff
Author: NFM Staff

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