Standing with the bar in front, squat down to take a grip of the bar outside shoulder width. You can grip one hand under and one over, which a lot of people find easier to do. If you choose this method then remember to swap the hands each set. The other option is to go both hands over, which is more challenging on forearm strength.
The start position should be very similar to that of the end position of a squat, with the tibias (shin bones) and spine at the same angle, so make sure the chest is up and the scapulae (shoulder blades) are retracted. From this start position, initiate the movement through the knees and drive up through the heels, keeping the bar as close to the shins and torso as possible, the idea being that you stand up straight as quickly as possible.
To change the emphasis of the exercise simply alter the foot position. Take the legs to a wide stance and externally rotate the hips so that the feet are at 45° – this will focus more on the legs and less on the back. Remember to drive the hips through as you push upward through the feet.
If you are struggling to keep a straight spine at the start of the movement due to a lack of mobility, a way around this is to lift the start position of the bar by putting some risers, or similar, under the plates. This will allow you to lift from a strong start position and, as your mobility increases, you can then start to take the risers away.
Lumbar (lower) spine not being straight, leading to possible disc injuries. Thoracic (mid) spine not being straight, again leading to possible disc injuries and shoulder impingements.
Allowing the bar to come away from the body, leading to an increased load through the lumbar spine, again leading to possible disc injuries.
Erector spinae (muscles supporting the spine), glutes (buttocks), quads (thigh muscles), calves, adductors (inner thigh muscles) and hamstrings.
Adam Daniel is a personal trainer and ViPR™ master trainer, delivering and developing programmes around behaviour change and coaching skills.
This feature was first printed in the October/November 2011 issue of Fitpro Network magazine.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Fitness Professionals Ltd or Virtual Magazine. Consult a qualified health or fitness professional before making changes to your diet or exercise.