I've been reading T-Nation for months now and I figured its time to finally register.
My situation is this.
I'm 6'2", about 230lbs, and way too much of that is fat. I've lost about 25lbs and put on some noticable muscle over the last six months through jogging, improved diet, and a decent but pretty basic weight room routine.
My primary goal here is fat loss, but since I'm still very much a newbie to lifting, I would hope that I can still make strength gains while dropping pounds.
I currently do a pretty straightforward Push/Pull/Legs split workout 3-4 times a week. It's basically:
DB Incline Press
DB Shoulder Press
Lat. DB Raises
(Assisted) Dips -- can't really do unassisted dips too well.
High Row (using the hammer strength machine.. I know, I know, machines bad.)
Lat Pulldown/Assisted Pullups
Post. Delt Raises
Alt Dumbbell Curl
One-leg DB calf raises
So, here's my questions. I've read alot on this site, and I have a pretty good idea what people might suggest I change about the routine -- that I should add the other two big compound exercises (Squats and Deads) to it.
My problem is this. Unlike the above exercises, I really don't have an idea how to safely squat. My knees always pop like rice crispies and sometimes hurt for a while whenever I try. This makes me really nervous about loading up any real amount of weight unless I know my form is good. Same for deadlifts or anything else that involves back movement -- heard so many horror stories that I'm kind of psyched out about involving the back too much unless I know my technique is good.
My gym is 24hr fitness, and not a particularily good one of theirs either. There's only 1 bench press in the whole place available for example, for the love of god! I think I see someone actually squatting maybe only a few times a month while I'm there -- so learning the form from others isn't really in the cards too much.
What do you guys recommend? Any particular techniques from people who have been in my boat that might help?
For that matter, any other comments/critiques/whatever about all this?