Tag: Gym

20 Gym Etiquette Rules Everyone Needs To Know

Gym Etiquette Rules Everyone Needs To Know

Gym etiquette. It is a must-have for all gym-goers. Whether you workout anywhere from 24-Hour Fitness to your local CrossFit or an Old-School Powerlifting Gym, these are the things you need to know. Simply follow these basic gym etiquette rules, or risk getting kicked out and losing your gym membership. Or worse, becoming the local gym idiot! 

If you disagree with any of these gym etiquette rules or have some to add, comment below! 

Also, if you have any funny gym fail stories to tell, please leave them here.


What is Gym Etiquette?

Gym etiquette is how you conduct yourself in a gym style environment. Whether others are around or not, it is important you conduct yourself in a respectful manner. For this to occur, gyms have their own set of gym rules. However, there is more to it than just following the rules set in place for you to keep your membership.

In the following, we will go over all the proper gym etiquette you need in order to avoid becoming the local gym idiot.

Note: Every gym has their own set of rules and guidelines to follow. So make sure to check in with them to avoid the Lunk Alarm or any unnecessary fees.


Top 5 Gym Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #1: Pay your dues!

This is by far Gym Etiquette Rule #1! Both financially and respectfully, you need to pay your dues. Nobody likes a cheapskate or a cocky amateur that think they know it all. Nobody cares how many magazines you’ve read, celebrities you’ve met, or videos you’ve watched. Stay up to date on your fees and learn from those with more experience, even if they are younger than you.

Overall, just don’t be an A$$! Be kind, humble and respectful to everyone at all training levels. Make sure to encourage others and make friends.

Remember, there is ALWAYS someone bigger, stronger, and better looking than you. Failure to comply to this standard Gym Etiquette Rule #1 can easily result in the termination of your gym membership! Or you getting physically thrown out of the gym by 1+ angry gym members!

Gym Etiquette Rule #2: RE-RACK YOUR WEIGHTS!!!

The most disrespectful, discourteous, and infuriating thing you can do in a gym is leave your weights out, or put them away wrong. Whether it be dumbbells, plates, kettlebells, or other gym equipment, put everything back the way it is supposed to be. Even if that is not how you found it!

We are pretty sure your mom doesn’t follow you around at the gym, so you are gonna have to take some responsibility and clean up after yourself. Otherwise, you will lose the respect of everyone around you and become the real gym idiot that everyone hates!

Gym Etiquette Rule #3: ALWAYS ask, don’t just assume.

When you assume things you simply make an “a$$” our of “u” and “me”. If anyone is nearby, or could possibly be using something, always ask before you take it. Even if you need to wait a minute to see if anyone comes back to it.

Taking things is just rude, even if you “didn’t know”. If you ask, you always know.

Remember, everyone shares everything at the gym, the same as it is in kindergarten. If you want something, then check around before taking it. Then there are no unnecessary arguments or angry looks.

Gym Etiquette Rule #4: Don’t hog the equipment.

When it comes to using the equipment, get in and get out. Don’t sit there on a machine or bench scrolling through Instagram for 5 minutes between every set. People are always waiting from a distance.

Be courteous of other people’s time, and follow social media on your own time. And if you have 5+ sets to do, you better not just be standing around at the squat rack talking to your gym bros. Always be working, or getting ready for the next set.

If you are doing a superset, be quick about it and never use more than 2-3 machines or stations at once, unless the gym is empty. Everyone has stuff to do too.

Gym Etiquette Rule #5: Respect personal space!

Look, but don’t touch. Big arms, ripped abs, and huge legs are all admirable. However, just because we like when people notice, doesn’t mean that you have the right to come up and touch what we have built.

If you want to feel, ASK! No acceptions! Whether you are young and hot or old and creepy, stay out of our personal space unless invited in.


Top 10 Gym Etiquette Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #6: Don’t smell.

Whether you smell good or bad, the gym is not the place to give it away. You should come in not smelling like anything, good or bad. Bad smells only get worse, and good smells are too fragrant for others around you not to be distracted. It is fine if you start to stink after you have been sweating for a while but come in fresh, not freaky.

Also, if you smell like you just came out of a hotbox of smoke in your car, people are going to hate you. Whether you think you don’t smell like smoke or not, you do, and everyone knows it. It is your right to do as you wish, however, everyone at the gym is sharing air. If you ruin their air, you can expect a lot of dirty looks and even a canceled gym membership.

Gym Etiquette Rule #7: NO SINGING!

It is not Karaoke night! And we don’t care if it is your favorite song. Save your croaky voice for passing the time in traffic. When you’re in the gym, focus on your work.

P.S. If you can sing while working out, then you are not really working very hard. Just sayin’.

Gym Etiquette Rule #8: Scream as much as you want, but have a reason!

Being loud when getting psyched up and working hard is fine. However, if you do it for no reason, then you are just being a gym idiot.

To keep it simple, if you are doing something cool, then you are fine. If not, then stay quiet.

Gym Etiquette Rule #9: Wipe down your equipment. No excuses.

This is a mojor health risk if you forget, so don’t! Besides, “I forgot” is not a reasonable excuse for anyone old enough to workout in a gym.

Whether you sweat a lot or not, it is your courteous duty that you wipe down your equipment EVERY SINGLE TIME after you are finished using it. DON’T FORGET!

Gym Etiquette Rule #10: Don’t hit on other members!

The gym is a great place to hook up…before and after your workout though! It is NEVER a good idea to interrupt someone else’s workout. Especially if you are interested in more than a friendship!

Interact, but do not interrupt. If there is a connection, talk after. If not, they’re not interested. It is a HUGE turn off to interrupt someone’s workout. So be patient and take action when it is the appropriate time.


Top 20 Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #11: Ask before you give help!

First, it is not social hour at your local country club, so keep your pointless talk to yourself. If you can’t say what you are going to say in under a minute, then save it for later. People go to the gym to better themselves and are all on a time crunch. Be respectful of their time and save the chat about the weather for the inevitable awkward silences in your life. 

Secondly, NEVER walk up to someone to give them tips about how they “should” be doing things. That is extremely disrespectful, as it shows you think they have no idea what they are doing. If you have a suggestion, then ask if they would like to hear it. Don’t just start spewing out advice that they may not even want. Usually if they want advice, they’ll ask.

Gym Etiquette Rule #12: Wear appropriate gym attire!

It is not a strip club (male or female). So fully cover up all inappropriate areas. Ladies, side boob and see-through are too much, but a reasonable sports bra and short shorts are fine. Men, a speedo is for the pool, and your package is not made to be scrunched up into spandex.

Also, it’s not the 70s. Be comfortable, but not distracting. Taking your shirt off is fine, but don’t be loud about it. Public Indecency is a crime.

Of course, don’t track in dirt and mud from outside. If your shoes are dirty, take them off before you walk around.

Gym Etiquette Rule #13: No lockerroom nudity!

Cover yourself up in the locker room (and on the floor, obviously). There is always that one old guy in the locker room that is way too confident in his own skin, and there’s nothing we can do about that. Just don’t be that guy or gal! Keep it covered, and keep it appropriate.

Also, remember it is not social hour in there either.

Gym Etiquette Rule #14: No PDA (Public Display of Affection)!

We know that couples that workout together, stay together. However, the gym is not the place to show off your everlasting love and affection for each other. Nobody wants to see, hear, or have to workout around your makeout sessions every 2 minutes. So, stay on task, so you can get home sooner, and do what you need to do there.

Gym Etiquette Rule #15: Don’t stand in the way!

Whether you are in the walkway, at the water fountain or in front of the dumbbell rack, don’t be in the way. Make sure there is always plenty of space for people to move around you and get to what they need.

This also includes standing between benches, in or near squat racks or machines, and walking slow. Keep out of the way and no one will mind.

Gym Etiquette Rule #16: Glance, but don’t stare.

We get it. We’re hot, but that doesn’t mean we want everyone staring. Don’t be the creepy guy or gal that stares down every hotty in the gym. Everyone likes to be noticed for their hard work but don’t overdo it. Admire, and compliment if necessary, then look away.

Gym Etiquette Rule #17: Don’t laugh at anyone that is trying!

It is always okay to laugh with someone, but it is NEVER okay to laugh at someone, when at the gym. Yes, gym fails and gym fail stories are popular and funny. However, most of those people just don’t know what they are doing. So think of how you would want someone to help you if you were them. Then go from there.

Gym Etiquette Rule #18: Don’t be a gym idiot!

Don’t use bands, chains, or other equipment you don’t understand unless you know what you are doing! If you want to know why read these funny gym fail stories. If you need help, just ask.

Also, if you need a spotter, then get one. You shouldn’t make others around you concerned for your safety to where they feel the need to keep an eye on you like a child.

It is okay to ask for help, but not okay to put yourself and others at risk. Be smart, and be safe. 

If you need a help on how to get started, get one of our strength programs or learn more about the Mathias Method Strength System!

Gym Etiquette Rule #19: Don’t keep asking for free advice.

If you need a personal trainer, then get one! And pay them. You shouldn’t go around bothering other people’s workouts for every little thing. You need to figure some things out on your own and if you need a lot of help, then pay someone to help you.

It is okay to ask for tips, but not for every exercise that you do. Even in the gym, nothing is really free. Respect other people’s time and value.

Gym Etiquette Rule #20: No sleeping, eating or lounging!

The gym floor is not a lounge, so don’t use it as one. If your gym doesn’t have a place to sit and hang out, then there is probably a reason. As in, they don’t want you to hang out there forever.

Eat, sleep and wait in your car, not on the unused machines or benches. You are just going to be in the way. 


Important Reminders

It is also important to mention that things like curling in the squat rack or just using equipment for the wrong purpose are obvious no no’s. Just don’t do it.

Things like how you lift and the music you listen too are not on this list, because those things generally do not affect others.

Overall, these are the basic gym etiquette rules everyone needs to follow. However, make sure to check in with your gym’s rules so that you never get the Lunk Alarm set off on you, or have to pay fines for things you didn’t know.

Remember, if you disagree with any of these, or have some to add, comment below!

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How To Do Rack Pulls

Block Pulls (Rack Pulls)

Sumo Deadlift Block Pulls 2

Block pulls are a deadlift variation in which you lift the weight from a raised position in order to decrease the range of motion and focus on the lockout of the deadlift.

This decreased range of motion utilizing the strongest part of the deadlift movement allows for you to overload the deadlift when using weights over your normal maximum.

To gain the most benefit from block pulls, be sure to only use a slightly decreased range of motion so that the pull always begins below your knees, allowing you to still train the most difficult leverage point in the lift.

Setting Up The Blocks

Place blocks or plates, evenly stacked, underneath the bar loaded plates to raise the starting position. Ensure that the blocks are stable and will not move or break during the exercise.

You may also use a power rack in which the bar itself rests against the side railings to decrease the range of motion.

*Make sure that the range of motion is not decreased so much that the bar starts over your knees.


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Everything you need to know about the Deadlift!

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How To Do Block Pulls (Rack Pulls)

Purpose:

  • Overload the Deadlift
  • Teach Hip Hinge Mechanics
  • Build Full-Body Strength
  • Build Hip Hinge Strength
  • Build Core Stabilization Strength

Prime Movers:

  1. Glutes (Hips)
  2. Hamstring Complex (Legs)
  3. Quadriceps (Legs)

Variations:


The Set-Up:

Your set-up is all about creating tension in the right places without wasting energy. You need to maintain that same tightness during the entire lift. If you lose tightness, then you lose strength.

Set Your Feet:

Set your feet shoulder width or closer, to where the bar is directly over your mid-foot, and turn them out slightly (10-30 degrees).

You can use a conventional or sumo stance.

Grab The Ground:

Suction cup your feet to the ground by spreading your toes as wide as you can, then grasping the floor with your entire foot. Your entire foot (heel, the ball of your foot, and outer edge) should stay locked into the ground.

Then, while clenching your toes into the ground like eagle claws, create torque by externally rotate your feet, as if they were to spin in place, throughout the entire motion.

This movement should flex your entire lower body from your glutes down through your entire legs so that everything is tight, and nothing is loose or relaxed.

Maintain this external rotation torque throughout the lift.

Note: By grabbing the ground with your foot you are simply creating a strong arch in your foot, not rolling your ankle. Your feet should not move out of place or come up at all during these motions. Just create a rotational pressure to stabilize your joints, while your entire foot is locked into the ground.

Brace Your Core:

Suck in as much air as you can and hold it in, attempting to create as much intra-abdominal pressure as you can, to stabilize your spine. Then press your lips closed to hold the air in while flexing all of the musculature surrounding your entire torso, and forcing the air deep down into your abdomen. This is known as the Valsalva Maneuver.

If you are wearing a lifting belt, then brace out against the belt as you do this.


Preparation:

Bend At The Hips:

While staying tight and maintaining a neutral spine, bend mainly at the hips until you can grab the bar.

Grab The Bar:

(Conventional) Set your hands about 3 inches outside of your shins on either side, so that you have enough room to push your knees out and not run into your arms.

(Sumo) Set your hands directly under your shoulders.

After finding your preferred width, evenly set according to the power rings, spread your fingers as wide as you can as if to engulf as much of the bar in your hand as possible.

Then grasp the bar tightly with your thumbs wrapped, trying to crush the bar in your hands to take control of the weight.

This is your control point, SO TAKE CONTROL!!! Make the weight feel small while you become invincible with your crushing grip!

Then create an external rotation torque by pointing your elbows behind you.

Note: Use a double overhand-grip as often as you can, and only switch to over-under or hook grip when the weight gets too heavy to hold otherwise.

Re-brace:

While keeping your entire body tight, again suck in as much air as you can and press it down deep into your abdomen increasing the intra-abdominal pressure. Hold this tightness throughout the lift.

Get Set:

Fully extend your knees to reset the tension to your hips, and then push them forward as you sit your hips back until the bar touches your shins. Use the bar as leverage to maintain balance.

Maintaining a constant external rotation torque in your feet and push your knees out hard as you do this.

While keeping a neutral spine, force your head back, with your eyes straight ahead. Imagine pulling your chin straight back, and never tilt your head up.

Maintain a neutral head position (straight spine) throughout the entire lift with eyes straight ahead.

Create Tension:

Pull the bar back into your legs as you position your hips back and down, chest high and back flat. This is called “pulling the slack out of the bar.”

In this position, your entire body should be tight and ready to pull with the weight tight up against your shins.

Your lats should be tight, arms are straight, elbows pointed back behind you, and shoulders over or behind the bar.

Tuck Your Shoulders:

Keep your shoulders back and down throughout the lift.


The Deadlift:

Press Into The Ground:

Simultaneously press your feet into the ground, drive your hips forward and pull your shoulders back as you extend your knees and hips together until lockout.

The entire lift should be one smooth motion.

Maintain Control:

Stay tight as you lower the bar, with perfect form, sliding against your legs all the way down. This will build strength and improve form.

If you are doing multiple reps, pause on the box/rack for 1-2 seconds, without bouncing the bar or losing tightness, then pull again.

If you set-up properly your body should do most of the movement for you. All you have to do is stay tight and lift.


Key Points:

  • Stay tight throughout the entire set-up and lift.
  • Grab the ground with your feet.
  • Pull the bar into you.
  • Torque your knees out throughout the full range of motion.
  • Drive your feet into the ground and hips forward.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and head position.

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Everything you need to know about the Deadlift!

Includes a 12 Week Deadlift Program, Workouts, common Deadlift mistakes and how to fix them, and so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!


How To Close-Grip Bench Press

Close-Grip Bench Press

315 lb bench press

The Closegrip Bench Press is a variation of the standard Bench Press in which your hands are placed closer than your normal grip. This will place more stress on your triceps in an attempt to build them up stronger.

By training the Closegrip Bench Press you increase the strength potential of your other pressing lifts.

Due to the decreased shoulder abduction angle used by the closer grip, this variation is safer for your shoulders when done properly; aka less stress will be placed on shoulder extension.

Hand Placement

To be considered a closegrip, the hands need to be placed closer than your standard grip. This may be as little as one inch.

The closer the grip, the greater the stress placed upon your triceps. However, only grip as close as you can while maintaining a neutral wrist position, and never closer than shoulder width.

 


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Everything you need to know about building a BIG Bench!

Includes a 12 Week Bench Press Program, Workouts, common Bench Press mistakes and how to fix them, and so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!


How To Closegrip Bench Press

Purpose:

  • Build Triceps and Upper Body Strength

Prime Movers:

  1. Triceps (Arms)
  2. Anterior Deltoids (Shoulders)
  3. Pectoralis Major (Chest)

Variations:

  • Paused
  • Board Press
  • Floor Press
  • Specialty Bars
  • Accommodating Resistance

The Set-Up:

The set-up is all about getting your body into the strongest position to lift the most amount of weight, safely and efficiently.

Basically, it is all about tightness. You have to create tension in the right places without wasting energy and maintain it during the entire lift. If you lose tightness, then you lose strength.

Take your time and make it perfect. If anything is off, then reset and do it again.

Lay Flat on the Bench

Start by lying down completely flat, with your feet set on the end of the bench.

Set Your Hands

After finding your preferred width, evenly set according to the power rings, spread your fingers as wide as you can as if to engulf as much of the bar in your hand as possible.

Then grasp the bar tightly with your thumbs wrapped, trying to crush the bar in your hands to take control of the weight, while keeping your wrists straight.

This is your control point, SO TAKE CONTROL!!! Make the weight feel small while you become invincible with your crushing grip!

Note: Every barbell is different. NEVER base your grip on the knurling of the bar. ALWAYS base your grip off of the Power Rings in the knurling, even if you are like me and have your grip about 1 inch inside the rings. Though some cheaper barbells have their power rings in closer than competition barbells, it is still a much better way to base your grip. If all else fails, just close your eyes and grab the bar where it is comfortable and adjust from there as needed.

Set Your Shoulders

Press your feet down into the bench to raise your hips high, then pull your shoulders up off the bench while creating an external rotation torque with your hands, also known as bending the bar. Pull your shoulder blades back, together, and down towards your hips.

Next, firmly press your upper trapezius down into the bench, while keeping your shoulders tucked. Your eyes should be in line with the bar.

This is all meant to create an arch in your chest, not your lower back. Keep your chest high, and shoulders together during the entire lift.

Set Your Hips

While maintaining tension, and an arch in your chest, set your hips down on the bench, to where your chest is as high as you can get it.

Set Your Feet

With your hips in place, set one foot at a time down on the floor, while pressing down and out to maintain tension throughout your entire body. Think as if you are trying to slide your toes to the front of your shoe while pressing down hard into the ground.

Make sure your feet are set in a place where your knees are below your hips and your hips can stay on the bench, even when you push down harder. If you are having difficulty with this you need to work on your hip flexor mobility. You can do that by following my How To Warm-Up Guide or checking out my Mobility Exercises.

Lock It All In

To maintain tension throughout your entire body as you lift, brace your core, press your knees out hard to engage your glutes and keep your feet pressed into the ground.

After you are set-up absolutely NOTHING should move during the entire lift other than your arms. No opening and closing of hands, no foot wiggles, no movement at all. If you do get out of place, start all over until you get it right.


The Unrack:

Brace Your Core:

Suck in as much air as you can and hold it in, attempting to create as much intra-abdominal pressure as you can, to stabilize your spine. Then press your lips closed to hold the air in while flexing all of the musculature surrounding your entire torso, and forcing the air deep down into your abdomen. This is known as the Valsalva Maneuver.

Hold this air in tight as you lift only breathing as needed between reps.

Pull The Bar Out

While maintaining full body tightness and an external rotation torque on the bar, lock your arms to lift the bar only slightly over the bench hooks and pull the bar out until it is over your shoulders. Again, arms should be locked with your chest high and shoulders back and down.

Make sure that you get your lats tight as you pull the bar out as well, to help you stabilize the entire lift, allowing you to lift more.

Note: No matter the weight, it is best to do this with a spotter handing you the bar to maintain proper shoulder position. Do not shrug your shoulders forward to lift the weight out.


The Bench Press:

The bench press is as simple as pulling the weight down to your chest to create back tightness, then pressing yourself down into the bench as you extend your arms to lockout.

Make sure that you keep your elbows tucked during the entire lift to better engage the triceps.

Pull The Bar Down Down

While keeping your wrist straight and chest as high as possible, initiate the downward motion by pulling the bar down onto your chest, with your elbows tucked intowards your sides, and engaging your lats.

Pause On Your Chest

Touch the bar to your chest and pause, without it bouncing. Your elbows should be slightinly in front of the bar and range from a 0-30 degree angle from your sides.

Find the best position for you, and if you have shoulder or torso mobility problems you should try to improve them before every training session. You can do this with my How To Warm-Up Guide.

Press Into The Bench

Press your traps down into the bench, while keeping your chest as high as possible, as you press the bar up and back over your shoulders where the lift began.

The more you press down into the bench, the stronger your press will be!


Key Points:

  • Crush the bar in your hands and keep your wrists straight.
  • Chest high with your shoulders tucked back and down.
  • Keep your hips down on the bench with your knees lower than your hips for more pressing power.
  • Press your feet into the ground with no wiggles.
  • Keep your entire body tight so only your arms move during the entire lift.
  • Control the entire range of motion.
  • Tuck your elbows during the entire lift to focus on the triceps.

Always use spotters during your lifts for safety. 


how to bench press more weight bookGet our “How To Bench Press” Guide!

Everything you need to know about building a BIG Bench!

Includes a 12 Week Bench Press Program, Workouts, common Bench Press mistakes and how to fix them, and so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!


How To Military Press

Military Press:

225 military shoulder press

The Military Press is one of the most functional movements the human body can perform. Our bodies were designed to be able to both press and pull (pull-ups) overhead.

By improving your overhead pressing technique you can learn to better stabilize your shoulders during movement and build core stabilization strength, which will carry over to improving numerous other exercises.

By having a strong overhead pressing ability your shoulders will be much more stable and be better protected from injury. Though it is a weaker movement compared to the Bench Press, it is still a highly valuable lift that must be utilized to build complete upper body strength.

Normally, the intensity will be low-moderate while the volume will be moderate-high. This is meant to build shoulder strength more often than testing it, which can be harmful if not done correctly.


Purpose:

  • Teach Overhead Pressing Mechanics
  • Test Shoulder Strength and Stability
  • Build Shoulder Strength and Stability

Prime Movers:

  1. Triceps (Arms)
  2. Deltoids (Shoulders)
  3. Trapezius (Back)

Variations:

  • Grip Width
  • Push-Press
  • The Jerk
  • Behind the Head

How To Military Press

Set-Up:

  • Hands- Place your hands near shoulder width (somewhere within a range that your thumbs can touch your shoulders if extended) and wrap your thumbs around the bar. Create an external rotation torque to better position your elbows.
  • Feet- Set your feet directly under the bar, about shoulder width or slightly wider.
  • Bar- Set the bar so it rests on your collar bones and deltoids.
  • Elbows- While maintaining an external rotation torque and keeping the bar in the middle of your palms, set your elbows out in front of the bar near a 10-30 degree angle.

Unrack:

  • Breathe- Suck in as much air as you can, and attempt to create as much intra-abdominal pressure as you can, to stabilize your spine, by pressing your lips closed, flexing all of the musculature surrounding your entire torso, and forcing the air deep down into your abdomen. This is known as the Valsalva Maneuver.
  • Lift-Off- Simultaneously extend your knees and hips to lift the bar just over the hooks.
  • Walk-Out- Slide your feet back about 6-12 inches one foot at a time, and set them in a shoulder width or slightly wider stance.

Set:

  • Feet- Claw and twist your feet into the ground to create an external rotation torque.
  • Hips- Flex your glutes to stabilize your hips.
  • Breathe- While keeping your entire body tight, again suck in as much air as you can and press it down deep into your abdomen increasing the intra-abdominal pressure. Hold this tightness throughout the lift.

Press:

  • Head– While maintaining a neutral spine, pull your head back behind the bar.
  • Press- Press the bar overhead while allowing your elbows to flare out to the sides. As the bar passes in front of your face ensure that your elbows are directly underneath the bar through the rest of the press.
  • Lock-Out- To finish the motion push your head through so that your arms are next to your ears, or slightly behind, and the bar is directly over your mid-foot. The bar should be in line with your spine.
  • Return- To return safely, reverse the motion by pulling your head back, externally rotating your elbows in front of you and allowing the bar to be lowered with control back onto your collar bones and deltoids.

Things to Remember:

  • Hands- Eternally rotate at the base position while maintaining neutral wrists throughout.
  • Bar- The bar should rest on your collar bones and front deltoids at the base position.
  • Elbows- Stay in front of the bar at the base and flare out as you press.
  • Head- Neutral head position throughout. Pull back as you press and then push through, under the bar, to finish.
  • Stay Tight- Flex your glutes and brace your core throughout.

 

how to bench press more weight bookGet our “How To Bench Press” Guide!

Everything you need to know about building a BIG Bench!

Includes a 12 Week Bench Press Program, Workouts, common Bench Press mistakes and how to fix them, and so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!


How To Box Squat Properly: The Complete Guide

How To Box Squat

The Complete Guide on How to Box Squat properly for strength and power!

Not what you’re looking for? Learn How To Squat or view All Exercise Descriptions!

The Box Squat is one of the most commonly used variations to the Squat. It utilizes a box to teach squat technique, decrease the stress of heavy squatting and build strength at specific depths.

The box breaks the squat into 3 parts so that you can focus on perfecting each part of the lift separately.

  1. By descending under control onto the box you will learn to better control the descent of a squat.
  2. The pause on the box allows you to ensure that your body stays tight at the bottom of the squat and builds strength at that specific depth.
  3. To come off the box you must use more force than normal by exploding up with your hips and legs in unison building explosive strength.

The box squat is simply the best way to perfect your squat form while building strength, other than performing more squats.

Your deload weeks are a great time to work on your box squat and advanced lifters can use it for their main lift on Base Work sessions to take off some stress from the intense weights.

The Box:

Use a box that is strong enough to withstand the weight you are going to put onto it during your squat. Also, make sure that the box is not going to wobble or slide when you sit onto it.

The box height can vary based on your goals and mobility. If you lack the mobility to sit onto a parallel box with proper form, then start at a height about 1 inch below where you can maintain form and lower the box height 1 inch every 2-3 weeks as your mobility improves. This will help build strength in the new positions your body obtains through increased mobility.

A higher box height will allow for an overload from the parallel box and a lower box height will under load the parallel box squat.

Make sure you set the box back far enough that you will not trip over it, but close enough so that you can sit on it without falling backward off balance.


how to squat 500 lbs book

Get our “How To Squat” Guide!

Everything you need to know about the King of All Exercises!

Includes a 12 Week Squat Program, Workouts, common Squat mistakes and how to fix them! Plus, so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!


Proper Box Squat Technique

Purpose:

  • Test Full Body Strength
  • Test Leg Strength
  • Build Leg and Core Strength

Prime Movers:

  1. Quadriceps (Legs),
  2. Hamstrings (Legs),
  3. Glutes (Hips)

Variations:

  • Stance,
  • Bar Placement,
  • Pauses,
  • Box Squat,
  • Accommodating Resistance,
  • Specialty Bars,
  • Assistive Gear,
  • etc.

The Set-Up:

Your squat set-up is all about creating tension in the right places without wasting energy. You need to maintain that same tightness during your entire squat. If you lose tightness then you lose strength.

Grab The Bar:

Grasp bar firmly, with thumbs wrapped, as close to your shoulders as you can while maintaining a relatively neutral wrist position, that allows you to still pull the bar into your body.

If you grab too wide, then you will lose back tightness and risk falling out of position. If you grab too close, then you can stress your wrists and will be pushing the bar off your back rather than creating tightness from it.

Find the best position for you, and if you have shoulder or wrist mobility problems you should try to improve them before every training session. You can do this with my How To Warm-Up Properly For Strength Training Guide.

Set Your Feet Directly Under The Bar:

Set your feet directly under the bar in your squat stance so that the bar is directly over your midfoot.

If you set your feet behind the bar, then you will waste valuable energy as you have to pull the weight out of the rack from in front of your center of gravity.

You want to be able to stand straight up with the weight and not be out of position.

Set The Bar On Your Back:

Squat down and place the bar in the strongest position for you on your upper back, anywhere between the base of your neck and middle of rear deltoids (shoulder muscle).

Note: A higher bar position will emphasize greater knee flexion and less torso lean, while a lower bar position will emphasize more torso lean and less knee flexion.


The Unrack:

Brace Your Core:

Suck in as much air as you can and hold it in, attempting to create as much intra-abdominal pressure as you can, to stabilize your spine. Then press your lips closed to hold the air in while flexing all of the musculature surrounding your entire torso, and forcing the air deep down into your abdomen. This is known as the Valsalva Maneuver.

Hold this tightness throughout your entire set-up.

Pull The Bar Into You:

Pull your elbows down and in towards your hips throughout the movement, as if you are going to bend the bar over your back. This keeps that bar locked in and it should never, ever slide out of place, if done properly. 

Push Your Head Back Into The Bar:

While keeping a neutral spine, force your head back into the bar, with your eyes straight ahead. Imagine pulling your chin straight back, and never tilt your head up.

Maintain a neutral head position (straight spine) throughout the entire lift with eyes straight ahead.

Stand Straight Up With The Weight:

Flex your glutes hard as you simultaneously, extend your knees and hips to lift the bar straight up, just over the rack hooks. Stay tight while you do this.

Walk It Out:

Slide one foot at a time back 3-4 inches, or just enough to clear the rack hooks, so you are standing in your squat stance.

The farther you move the more likely you are to be out of position and waste energy. The bar should move straight up and down when you squat, so you do not need to move back very far.


The Squat:

Foot Position:

Toes should point somewhere between 10-45 degrees out depending on your stance width and mobility. Try different positions and see what works best for you.

If your heels come up as you squat or you have trouble getting to depth, then try either turning your toes out more or widening your stance, until you improve your ankle mobility.

Grab The Ground:

Suction cup your feet to the ground by spreading your toes as wide as you can, then grasping the floor with your entire foot. Your entire foot (heel, the ball of your foot, and outer edge) should stay locked into the ground.

Then, while clenching your toes into the ground like eagle claws, create torque by externally rotate your feet, as if they were to spin in place, throughout the entire motion.

This movement should flex your entire lower body from your glutes down through your entire legs so that everything is tight, and nothing is loose or relaxed.

Maintain this external rotation torque throughout the lift.

Note: By grabbing the ground with your foot you are simply creating a strong arch in your foot, not rolling your ankle. Your feet should not move out of place or come up at all during these motions. Just create a rotational pressure to stabilize your joints, while your entire foot is locked into the ground.

Re-Brace Your Core:

While keeping your entire body tight, again suck in as much air as you can and press it down deep into your abdomen increasing the intra-abdominal pressure. Hold this tightness throughout the entire lift.

Bend At The Hip:

Initiate the motion by bending at the waist, pushing your hips back slightly, maintaining a neutral spine as if doing a 3-inch bow. This is a slight motion just to open the hips.

The weight should stay over your midfoot, with no back arching.

Push Your Knees Out:

Push your knees out laterally to open your hips throughout the lift. This better engages your hips and makes for a stronger squat.

Your knees should travel in line with your toes during the entire lift. If they cave in at all then you need to work on your glute strength AND adductor mobility (being able to do the splits better to open up your hips).

Control Your Squat Onto The Box:

While maintaining a neutral spine, open your hips and descend back and down bending your knees and hips simultaneously until your hips set softly on the box. DO NOT DROP ONTO THE BOX! Control the entire movement!

While maintaining tightness in your legs and torso, pause on the box for at least 1-2 seconds before forcefully press back up into the bar as you ascend.

Press your knees out and curling your heels into the ground, extending your hip and knees together.

Keep your head neutral and knees out over your foot.


Key Points:

  • Stay tight throughout the entire set-up and squat.
  • Pull the bar into you.
  • Grab the ground with your feet.
  • Torque your knees out throughout the full range of motion.
  • Control your squat, sitting on the box softly.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and head position.
  • Drive back up into the bar to stand.

Always use spotters during your squats for safety.


how to squat 500 lbs book Get our “How To Squat” Guide!

Everything you need to know about the King of All Exercises!

Includes a 12 Week Squat Program, Workouts, common Squat mistakes and how to fix them! Plus, so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!