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Strength Exercises



Purpose: To develop the quadriceps, thigh adductors, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. When done correctly, full squats will build up the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that surround the knee. These spinal erectors are developed to a large degree by contracting isometrically to keep the torso erect.

Start Position:

1. The bar should be placed on the racks at the height of the chest.

2. Position hands on the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width.

3. Position bar comfortably on the shoulders in one of two positions.

4. Across the top of the shoulders at the base of the neck.

5. One inch below the top of the shoulders across the traps.

6. Pull the shoulder blades together tightly.

7. Step under the bar, feet parallel, and knees slightly bent.

8. Hips are in vertical alignment with the shoulders.

9. Lift bar out of rack by extending the knees.

10. Step backwards using a few steps as possible.

11. Position feet so they are parallel, with toes pointed out slightly.

12. The heels should be slightly wider that the hips.


1. Focus eyes directly ahead on the wall with head slightly up.

2. Take a deep breath and hold it.

3. Slowly lower the bar under control by bending at the hips and knees.

4. Keep the knees pointed out in alignment with the feet.

5. The instant the thighs are parallel to the ground explode out of the bottom position.

6. Keep the back flat and shoulder blades drawn together.

7. Keep your weight back on our heels.

8. Do not throw the head back.

9. Exhale your breath as you near the completion of the lift.

10. Complete the squat by fully extending the knees and hips.

Key Points:

1. Make sure the bar is in a good solid position on the shoulders by pulling the shoulder blades together tightly.

2. The closer you position your hands together on the bar, the tighter the shoulder blades can be pulled together.

3. Athletes with narrow hips should use a narrow stance.  Athletes with wide hips should use a wide stance.

4. Control is the most important factor.  Do not try to bounce out of the bottom.  When an athlete tries to recover to an upright position after bouncing out of the bottom, he will raise his hips too quickly causing the back to round out.  This takes the stress off the legs and puts it on the lower back.  It is imperative to descend slowly and under control.

5. Keep the shoulder blades together. If the shoulder blades relax, the lower back will round out.

6. Pick out a spot on the wall in front of you. Keep the eyes focused on the spot throughout the performance of the squat. This will help control the bar by keeping the body in a stable position. If the eyes are looking all over the place, the lifter has a greater chance of losing his balance.

7. Squat inside the rack. Otherwise, use two or three spotters.

8. Flex the knees and hips.


Bench Press

Purpose: This exercise will develop the pectoral muscles, with some development of the anterior deltoids and triceps.

Start Position:

1. Place feet flat on the ground.

2. Back is slightly arched as buttocks are set on the bench.

3. Pull the shoulder blades inward as you push the chest upward.

4. Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width.

5. Position yourself so the bar is lined up with the top of your head.

6. Take the bar from the rack with the aid of a spotter.

7. Position the bar over chest.


1. Take a deep breath and hold your chest high.

2. Lower the bar slowly and under control.

3. Allow the bar to just touch the chest at about nipple level.

4. Drive the bar explosively off the chest.

5. The movement of the bar should be up and slightly back.

6. Exhale as you lock the bar out to full arm length.

Key Points:

1. Grip the bar so that when it touches the chest, the elbow joint should be at approximately a 90-degree angle.

2. The spotter and lifter must work together in developing a coordinated effort when guiding the bar into a lifting position and getting it racked. The spotter should also have his hands under the bar and constantly be alert.

3. It is a good idea to have the thumbs wrapped around the bar.


Jammer Press

Purpose: This exercise will develop the chest, shoulders and triceps. The muscles of the shoulder girdle are called into play as stabilizers.

Start Position:

1. Grasp the handles with hands as close as possible.

2. Position the shoulder directly behind the hands as close as possible.

3. Place the elbows at the side of the torso.

4. Position the feet flat shoulder-width apart on the ground in one of three positions: back, mid, or forward.


1. Press the handles by extending the arms.

2. Keep the hips, knees, and ankles flexed.

Key Points:

1. Do not allow the shoulders to be positioned higher than the hands.

2. If the feet are placed back the chest becomes the prime mover similar to an incline press. If the feet are placed in mid position the Jammer Press is more like a bench press.  When the feet are forward, the shoulders are called upon as the prime movers like a shoulder press.


Lat Pulldown

Purpose: To develop the muscles for the upper back.

Start Position:

1. Sit on stool and anchor thighs under pads.

2. Place hands using an overhand grip wider than shoulder-width.

3. Allow the weight to pull upward on the shoulders and upper back.


1. Pull the bar down to the base of the neck.

2. Return the bar to the starting position with control and repeat.

Key Points:

1. When returning the bar to the starting position, make sure to fully extend the arms so that a stretch is felt in the upper back.

2. Keep the back erect. Do not start the movement of the bar downward by leaning backwards with the torso. This exercise should be done in a slow controlled manner.


Barbell Curl

Purpose: To develop the biceps.

Start Position:

1. Use an underhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width.

2. Position feet shoulder-width apart.

3. Hold at arm's length.


1. Pull the bar slowly to the shoulders by bending at the elbows.

2. Lower the bar in a controlled manner to the starting position.

3. Keep the elbows positioned at the sides throughout the movement.

Key Points:

1. This exercise can be done with a barbell or dumb bells.


Tricep Extension

Purpose: To develop the triceps.

Start Position:

1. Grip the bar with an overhand grip, four to six inches apart.


1. Lower the bar to the back of the neck by flexing at the elbows.

2. Raise the bar by extending the arms to starting position.

Key Points:

1. Keep the elbows in same position throughout movement by keeping upper arm perpendicular to the ground.

2. Do the exercise slowly and under control.

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