Lifting Cues

Cues for Back Squat, Conventional Deadlift, Bench Press, and Overhead Press

PDF version: Simple Cues



  • Look forward, head in line with torso
  • Keep chest high
  • Bar should be positioned below the bone at the top of your shoulder blades and on your back muscles
  • Pinch shoulder blades together (makes for better padding for the bar to sit on)
  • Feet are shoulder width or slightly wider than shoulder width apart

Phase 2: Squatting down

  • Push Butt back
  • Push knees out
  • Bend until thighs are slightly below parrellel to the floor
  • Keep shoulders over hips
  • Chest remains up (do not let it fall toward the floor)
  • Eyes forward or slightly looking up (Do not look down-can lose control and postioning)
  • Keep weight on heels
  • Knees stay in line with toes (do not let knees pass beyond toes)

Phase 3: Coming up from squat

  • Keep weight on heels
  • Drive up with hips
  • Toes should remain forward or slightly out
  • Squeeze glutes at top and lock out the weight
  • Re-rack
  • Successful squat


  • Stand at bar, feet slightly further than shoulder width apart, toes slightly turned out
  • Bar should be up against shins
  • Bend down and place hands right outside of the knees (overhand or mixed grip); arms are vertical to floor
  • Shoulders should be behind the bar (more so middle delt in line with bar)
  • Raise hips until you feel tension in the hamstring (approx. 45 deg angel from knee to hip and hip to head)
  • Tip: act like you are breaking the bar in half to activate lat muscles), shoulder blades and slightly pinched back.
  • Head is neutral, look slightly in front of you
  • Back should be arched to form prevent rounding of the back (tighten low back and erector muscles)
  • Note: Pain should not be felt in Low back…. Incorrect form if pinch is felt (holding the muscle contraction when keeping tight can cause muscle fatigue which is ok)

Phase 1:  Lifting the bar

  • Drive up through heels using hips/ legs (arms just hold on to the bar)
  • Head is in line with spine, chin up, looking straight ahead
  • Lift your chest (shoulder blades pinched slightly, but not squeezed as much like in the squat)
  • Back is erect with slight arch (NO ROUNDING)
  • Keep bar close to body,, next to shins, rolling over the knees and thighs until hip and knees are locked

Phase 2: Lowering the bar

  • Push hips back first and then bend your knees once the bar reaches knee level, keeping bar close to body until it is fully placed on floor


Phase 1: Set-up

  • Lay on Bench and place head in position where eyes match with the bar
  • 3 points of contact on bench: Head, shoulder blades, and hips
  • Feet are on floor
  • Slight arch in the back to maintain natural spine curvature
  • Hands are placed wider than shoulder width apart and even on the bar (use bar rings and guidelines)

Phase 2: Lowering the bar

  • Unrack bar, bar should be in line with mid pecs (nipple line)
  • Shoulder blades and pressed down and back, Lats are engaged
  • Inhale as bar is lowered to chest inflating rib cage
  • Elbows will be slightly angled down away from shoulders (not out to the side)

Phase 3: Pressing the bar

  • Once bar has made contact, use an explosive move to press bar back, drive heels in to the floor
  • Do not let butt/hips come off bench
  • Bar should be raised evenly on both sides
  • Exhale at the top end of the lift



  • Stand with feet hip-shoulder width apart
  • Weight heavy on the heels
  • Squeeze glutes to avoid arching your back further than its natural arch.
  • Chest is up and expanded
  • Grip bar with the base of the palms, directly over the forearm
  • Elbows should be slightly in front of the barbell
  • Wrist are in line with forearms
  • Look forward with head natural
  • Grip bar so that forearms are vertical
  • Bar should be at about clavicle level

Phase 1: Execution on the overhead press

  • Bar is to be pressed straight up
  • Tuck chin back and press bar straight up and overhead to full extension; return head to neutral and bring torso forward once bar clears face
  • Lock elbows out
  • Squeeze shoulder blades while extending arms overhead until full extension is reached
  • Keep upper back, glutes, and abs tight
  • Straight line going from the bar, down through shoulder blades, and middle of feet

Phase 2: Lowering the bar

  • Lower the bar with control to starting position