Starting position: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your toes pointed forward or slightly outward. Position your feet so that the bar is resting over the balls of your feet. Squat down to firmly grasp the bar with your hands just outside of the knees. Your thumbs are wrapped around the bar with the palm of one hand facing you and the palm of the other hand facing away from you. Move the bar to 1" in front of your shins.
Brace your abdominals to stabilize your spine and keep the back in a normal-to-flat position. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Keep your chest lifted and your head in line with your spine or chin slightly raised. Your heels should be on the floor, and your shoulders over or slightly in front of the bar. Your gaze should be facing forward or slightly upward.
Keep the abdominals engaged. Straighten your hips and knees at the same time, coming to a full standing position to lift the bar. Think about pushing the floor away from you with your feet. Keep the bar close to your body as it moves upward. Once you have come to a full standing position, the bar rests against the front of your thighs. Your elbows are straight, arms extended and shoulders are pulling down and back.
Check your grip to make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides, touching your torso. The bar should rest on the front of your thighs with your wrists held straight without any bending (neutral).
Upward Phase: Exhale and slowly shrug your shoulders upward. Do not allow any shoulder rotation. Keep the elbows straight. Do not allow the back to arch or the wrists to bend.
Downward Phase: Inhale. In a slow and controlled manner, lower the barbell back to your starting position. Keep the torso erect, elbows straight, and wrists in neutral.
When your set is complete, carefully lower the bar back to the floor by shifting your hips back and down, hinging at the knees. As you lower your hips the knees bend and will start to shift forward slowly. Try to prevent your knees from traveling too far forward past the toes. Keep the abdominals/core muscles engaged and try to keep your back flat (do not tuck the tail or arch the low back). Lower the hips and shoulders together, keeping your shoulder blades pulling down and back. Think about holding a pencil between your shoulder blades throughout both phases of the movement.
Technique is very important in this lift. The tendency is to arch the low back during the upward phase, increasing the loading upon your spine. Use a mirror for feedback, squeeze your abdominal muscles and glutes to help prevent excessive arching.