Fitness Articles

The 4 Moves You Need in Order to Own the Weight Room in 2016

Let’s do this.

THE EDITORS OF WOMEN’S HEALTH

We know the post-holiday season can feel a bit, well, post-apocalyptic. The presents and parties are over, and aw crap, here come theresolutions! But wait—don’t go running for the nearest fallout shelter (a.k.a. bed).

You told us in a recent survey that you want to own the weight room but don’t feel 100 percent confident in your skills. Look, you’ve got the basics down. But our fitness editors zeroed in on the crucial points to nail four key moves. Look, learn, and tone up! (No Morse code needed.)

MOVE ONE: Barbell Lunge

ILLUSTRATION BY JOEL KIMMEL

1. You may be tempted to keep your feet wide. But narrowing your stance can actually stabilize you.
2. Move your hips straight down. Shifting them forward can increase stress on your joints.
3. Push through your entire foot, not your toes, to stand back up.

MOVE TWO: Dumbbell Row

ILLUSTRATION BY JOEL KIMMEL

1. Before you start, pull your shoulders back instead of scrunching them up. Focus on creating as much space as you can between your shoulders and ears.
2. Start each rep by first squeezing your shoulder blades together, then bending your elbows.
3. Stick your chest out as you row the weights to prevent rounding your lower back, which won’t fully engage your shoulders.

MOVE THREE: Barbell Squat

ILLUSTRATION BY JOEL KIMMEL

1. Focus on a mark just above eye level; looking down can cause you to lean forward and hurt your lower back.
2. Think sit back first. Think bend your knees second.
3. Imagine your heels are glued to the floor the entire time; this will ease pressure on your knees.

MOVE FOUR: Straight-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

ILLUSTRATION BY JOEL KIMMEL

1. Push your hips back as you lower your torso, which will help keep your back flat.
2. Imagine you’re shaving your legs with the weights as you stand, to prevent straining your lower back.
3. When lifting the weights up, think squeeze (your glutes) and thrust (your hips forward), not pull (with your lower back).

 

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