Squats and overhead press are the popular exercises using power racks or squat racks. Today I will show you detail how to perform squats and overhead press with power racks or squat racks.
How To Perform the Overhead Press
The deltoid muscles of the shoulder attach to the upper arm and pull it upward and overhead. There are different exercises to work the deltoids from different angles. The overhead press is a great mass builder for the shoulders, while also working the triceps. When done safely and correctly it can be a great overall shoulder developer.
The overhead press can be performed from a standing or seated position, and with either dumbbells or a barbell. The safest way to do this exercise is in a power rack, with the safety bars set at chest level. This allows for easy “dumping” of the bar if you get stuck on the lift. Also for safety reasons, it is best to press the bar in front of the body, not behind the head.
Overhead Presses Using a Squat/Power Rack
When performing an overhead press with a barbell in a power rack, you can actually set the bar right on the safety bars. Load the weight on to the bar, remembering that form is more important than weight to start out. Position your hands at slightly wider than shoulder width on the bar and walk forward and bend your knees so the bar is at shoulder level. Stand up with the weight resting on the upper chest and shoulders. You are now ready to start the lift.
It is important to keep the back straight during the lift, whether standing or seated. Excessive arch or rounding of the back can cause strain on the lower back. Pick a point on the wall straight ahead and keep your eyes on that spot. Avoid looking up at the weight. Press the weight slowly and smoothly up to the point that the elbows are locked out. Slowly return the weight back down to shoulder level. Never bounce the weight at the bottom or snap the weight to lock out at the top. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Performing the lift while seated is exactly the same except you do not stand with the weight to start. The dumbbell variation is also the same except that the weight is supported independently and the dumbbells are brought up and together over the head. This allows for a slightly larger range of motion. No matter which method you use, keep the back straight, eyes focused straight ahead, and lift in a smooth, controlled manner and you will see those deltoids grow to cannon balls.
How to Perform Squats
The squat is the king of all exercises. It is a multi-joint, compound exercise that uses many of the largest muscles in the body. This is important whether you want to lose body fat or build muscle. There is no substitute for squats if you want to build massive quadriceps. Safety is the key when performing squats, because there is potential for injury in any of the joints involved in the lift.
There are areas of varying opinion when performing the squat. The first is whether or not to wear a lifting belt. The belt holds pressure against the spine, and keeps the abdominals and spinal erectors tight to support the spine. If you can maintain good form and keep the muscles tight yourself you will get more benefit from lifting without the belt.
However, a back injury will seriously set you back so that must be taken into consideration. Another commonly debated area is stance width and foot position. Some people swear by the wide stance and toes pointed outward, while others like a narrower stance with toes forward. To start, it is best to go with a shoulder width stance with toes pointed out slightly, then you can adjust it slightly as you become more experienced.
Barbell Squats Using a Power Rack
Okay, so the squat is performed in a squat, or power rack. Start by setting the bar at chest height. Add the appropriate weight to each side of the bar (making sure it is even.) And, if using a power rack, set the safety bars at an inch or so below the bottom position of the lift. Now you are set up to perform the lift. Standing in the rack, reach your arms out and grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder width, then step forward and under the bar.
Position the bar so that it rests securely on the back, across the rear deltoids and trapezius muscle. Do not rest the bar too high because it will cause pain in the neck and put pressure on the vertebrae, and don’t set it too low because it will strain the shoulders and push the body forward. Once the weight is positioned properly, stand up and take a step back away from the rack, making sure the feet are even and there is enough room to perform the lift without hitting the front of the rack.
Now that you have the weight on your back you are ready to perform the squat. Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall to keep your eyes focused on. Slowly begin your descent by first breaking at the hips/waist slightly, then bending the knees, keeping the back straight and eyes on the same spot on the wall, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor (your knees will be at 90 degrees)
During the descent phase, your body will lean forward, but try to minimize the forward lean and always keep your back straight. Once you reach the bottom position, forcefully contract the legs and hips and stand back up to the starting position, keeping the eyes focused on the same spot on the wall throughout the lift. You then repeat this motion for the number of repetitions required.