How to learn the basic exercises in a safe way
- Use a Smith machine
While we were recording the latest episode of The Fit Gamer Podcast earlier this evening we started to talk about how you could perform safe exercises by using a ”Smith machine”. After a while it became apparent that it is actually a solid solution for most basic exercises.
What do I mean by basic exercises?
Squats, Deadlifts and Benchpresses is activating a lot of muscles. In order to grow muscles on the respective areas, those exercises are the ”go-to-exercises”. Other exercises are mostly isolation exercises.
When performing an isolation exercise you are (supposed to at least) using only one or a few muscles. The idea is to hit a very specific muscle in order to polish on your physique. The basic exercises are freaking amazing for building solid strength.
But if you want certain muscles to ”pop”, you will need to perform some exercises that targets those.
Let's take arms as an example. Benchpress is a basic exercise, it targets the chest area. It is a pushing exercise. When pushing the bar away from your body. You are using the triceps. That is pretty much 2/3 of your upper arm. So the basic exercise will activate a big portion of your arms as well as chest and shoulders. Not only that, in order to be able to lift heavy in the benchpress, you will need to use your back and abs too.
Bicep curls on the other hand. Unless you are cheating a lot, swinging the weights up. You will pretty much just use the bicep. One muscle that is 1/3 of your upper arm. If you are short on time. Do you perform bicep curls or do you hit the benchpress? Simple answer.
If you want growth, go for the basic exercises!
Don't understand what I mean by Smith machine? It might be called something else where you are living. Take a look at the picture below. The bar is stuck in place and can only move up and down.
Image from fitnessbolaget.com
Let's take a look at the 3 big basic exercises.
You can use this to be able to learn squats with less risk of falling down with the weight on top of you. Caution, there are safety measures on this machine. If you don't use them, you will still get the damn weights on top of you. You can place ”stops” on a level that you choose that will prevent the weights from going too deep etc.
Deadlifts are another exercise that is possible to do in this machine. I feel like this is the exercise that will benefit the least from the Smith machines safety measures. At least you won't fall backwards with the weights on top of you.
The third basic exercise will really benefit from the Smith machine. If you fail your benchpresses, in this machine you can either put a ”stop” at a safe distance from your chest or you can just twist the bar and hooks will lock onto pins that holds the bar in place.
Trying to learn these exercises is associated with risks
With these basic exercises, the big problem is the safety. Without having a good understanding and a good execution. You might get injured. Pretty badly as well. That is why the Smith machine is perfect. If you have never performed these exercises before, your body have no idea which muscles are used. Perhaps some of them are too weak? By using the Smith machine and start with light weights. You can increase the weights and see how much you can lift – in a controlled and safe environment.