Train Better, Not Harder: A Modern Guide to Weightlifting

With more people around the world beginning to take an active role in their health, many are pursuing weightlifting as a way to keep themselves in shape. As a result, there are now a wide variety of articles and guides available on the subject of weightlifting.

However, many of these guides come from older sources which are out-of-date or have been disproved by modern science. This article will serve as an up-to-date overview for those who want to get started with weightlifting, but don't want to waste their time with poor or incomplete information. You'll learn how to lift efficiently for maximum muscle growth, how to utilize correct form for many widely used exercises, and (more generally) how to stay fit and healthy as a newcomer to the gym.


Compound Lifts

To begin, the majority of modern weightlifting literature points to the necessity of including compound lifts in your training program. Exercises like these are meant to work several muscles at once (some of them even work your entire body), rather than an isolated muscle group - this makes compound lift training more efficient, safer, and more enjoyable way as well. An added benefit is the significant improvement in testosterone production as a result of whole-body activation; this further improves the rate at which your muscles grow, allowing for a sort of runaway effect.

Generally speaking, the best compound lifts to incorporate in your training programme are the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press.

The Squat

Squats are an essential exercise for building strength, power, and explosiveness, making it a key component of any well-rounded fitness routine.

The squat is essentially a full-body workout in which the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, heart and lungs all get their fair share of work. To do it correctly, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (or greater), and your toes pointing between fifteen to thirty degrees outwards. Keep your chest lifted, shoulders back, and chin neutral. Squeeze the glutes to descend into the squat position while pushing through the heel of your feet into the ground for balance.

The main indicators of a correct squat are that you have a straight back or at least a neutral spine posture, that you're not rocking forward or backward during the lift (this indicates instability), and that you're not coming down too far and compromising your form. Generally, a ninety-degree angle between your lower and upper legs is a good indicator of a strong, deep squat.

Squats mostly improve your back, core, and abs, as well as your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They also build up the muscles in your upper back and help to create a strong spinal column when done correctly. Integrating the squat into your daily or weekly exercise routine will improve nearly every metric of health, and make you faster, stronger, and less liable to injure yourself on other exercises.


The Deadlift

In addition to the squat, the deadlift is one of the most important exercises for the development of strength and general fitness. It's highly efficient, incorporating nearly every muscle group in the body - and correctly executing it will improve your back health, your core stability, and the definition of your back, arms, and neck.

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