BOOST YOUR BIG THREE
Tweak your technique in the bench press, deadlift and back squat for near-instant gains
01 Find your width
A narrow grip on the bar when benching works your triceps harder, while going wide can increase your injury risk. Work out your most efficient grip width by measuring the distance between the sticking-out bits on your collarbone and multiplying it by 1.5.
02 Take three steps
“Don’t shuffle the bar out of the rack when you squat,” says Skorpion fitness coach James Adamson. “The best lifters take it out in three steps: back, back, slightly to the side.” Any more wastes energy you could be using to get the weight back up.
03 Use pre-tension
During the deadlift, take the strain on the bar for a second or two before you pull. You should be aiming to create tension in your lats, hamstrings and glutes before you actually move.
04 Stay solid
In the squat and deadlift, intraabdominal pressure – the feeling you get when you brace for a punch in the stomach – is key. “Take a big breath and hold it through a big lift,” says Adamson. “You’ll create a more stable base for lifting.”
05 Think pockets
Efficient deadlifting means keeping your shoulder blades aligned and protecting your lower back. “Pull your shoulder blades down and back, towards your back pockets,” says Adamson. “It’ll stop you hunching – and let you lift more weight.”
06 Curve your press
Amateur benchers press the bar straight up, then back. Pros press back and up. That was the conclusion of Thomas McLaughlin, who compared nationallyranked powerlifters with novices, and found that the very best save the “straight up” bit for the end.