5 Lifts All Men Should Be Doing At The Gym

Image by: Adrien Valenzuela
By Will Rand

Five foundational lifts spawned in the hellish workouts of Olympians in the 19th century and are at the crux of today’s athletes, bodybuilders and body sculpting fanatics and their training programs. Incorporating Olympic lifts into your daily training has numerous advantages even if you aren’t the most advanced gym rat.

An Olympic regimen will sculpt your entire body, fix your posture, boost your testosterone, and allow you to float over your competition with the style and grace of an Olympian. Start with three sets of ten repetitions without any weight to practice the motions of these ferocious five lifts:

Note: When you go through the motions of an Olympic lift, your back should always be straight, your chest should stick out as if your intimidating an enemy, and your butt should stick out as if your showing it off (BCB technique).

Front Squat

Starting position: Stand straight with your feet one shoulder-width apart and the bar in your hands at rest. Use an overhand grip one shoulder-width apart. Lift the bar upward in a shrugging motion and as close to the body as possible, bending your elbows and turning them under the bar as it nears your collar bone. The final position should have the back of your hands touching the top of your deltoids, and elbows pointed directly in front of you.

Image by: Jon Tunnell

Motion: Inhale, then go ahead and do a squat as the bar rests on your collarbone. Don’t let the elbows sag, or go lower than the height of the bar. Come up from the squat into the starting position. Exhale, and remember your keeping the BCB technique throughout the entire motion for every lift.

Overhead Squat

Starting position: Get into the front squat starting position with an overhand grip of two shoulder-widths. Raise the bar directly above your head as if you’re doing a military press and hold it at the top. Draw it slightly behind your head. Extend your elbows as much as possible. Imagine your arms up and in a perfect Y shape as if you’re singing along to YMCA.

Image by: Jon Tunnell

Motion: While maintaining the Y do a full squat to 90 degrees and extend your elbows. Avoid any bending of the elbows for the entire motion. Come up from the squat into the starting position.

Jump Overhead Squat

Starting Position: Get into the overhead squat position.

Motion: Go down into the squat still holding the Y shape, when your knees reach the 90 degree angle shoot straight up into the air with an explosive jump. Land instantly into a squat to lessen the impact on your knees. Come up to the starting position.


Starting position: Stand over the bar, the bar should be below your knees on the floor, and bend your knees to 70 degrees like a squat. Grip the bar with an overhand grip at least one shoulder-width apart.

Image by: Jon Tunnell

Motion: Pull the bar upward, first past your knees, then along your body by extending your hips. As the bar goes along your body straighten your knees. Right before the bar reaches your collar bone you’re going to get your elbows under the bar as quickly as possible with a quick jump and into the front squat position.

Jump Shrug

Starting position: Get into the clean starting position.

Motion: Raise the bar to the hip area, then shoot straight up into the air while the bar remains near the hips. Jump into the shoulder shrug with the bar at your hips. At the highest point of the jump your shoulders should shrug as if they’re going to touch your ears. Then on the way down, smoothly go into the clean starting position, but in reverse.