How to Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift

This post is a synopsis of Episode 224 of The Lifetime Athlete Podcast. It was entitled The Big Three Lifts. This discussion was a Mail Bag episode in response to a number of recent inquiries.

Every Lifetime Athlete is familiar with these exercises as well as the squat, horizontal press, and hinge patterns they represent. Training these movements can help us to improve conditioning, performance, health…and longevity if we do it right. Here’s what I discussed.

  • These exercises are the core elements of the sport of powerlifting, and have also been used in bodybuilding and athletic preparation for many decades.
  • Powerlifting is a sport, and if you are a participant, there are rules and standards regarding technique in these three exercises.
  • Lifetime Athletes have at their disposal a plethora of options/variations in these patterns.
  • The “Squinge” is a hinge-ey squat. A bias toward extension and compression can result in early hip ascension and a “good morning” style squat.
  • The squinge can show up in a person who has movement restriction or a history of injury. It may or may not be a concern depending upon context.
  • A “squatty squat” is a more vertical orientation of the squat which looks more piston-like, maintaining the stack of ribcage and pelvis more like a cylinder than a banana (extreme back arch). Front-loading and heel elevation can assist this pattern.
  • Squatting for mobility can be different from squatting for max load or explosiveness.
  • Benching can be performed in powerlifting style or with more focus on the horizontal stack. 
  • Appreciating shoulder girdle mechanics can reduce or eliminate shoulder clicking, crunching, or discomfort when bench pressing.
  • The “Squed” is a “squatty deadlift” or “squedlift.” When a strict hinge isn’t required and a straight bar isn’t used, a hybrid (and very functional) motion results. Trap bars, heavy dumbbells on blocks, kettlebells, or thick resistance bands can facilitate this pattern.
  • Any movement pattern can be modified to best fit an individual’s goals, anatomy, and injury history.
  • Functional exercise is simply that which enhances your function at whatever you do. I’ll do a separate diatribe on this in the future. 

Think outside the box. Build a bigger box. Hell, there really is no box. Cheers!

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