Movement Patterns for Strength Training

Movement Patterns for Strength Training

Whether you are an aspiring bodybuilder or want to improve overall fitness, there are six basic movement patterns we all use that makes understanding strength training simple. It is these foundational movement patterns that are the backbone to all strength exercises.

A few weeks back, a member of our club was talking about how they knew the importance of strength training, they knew about the benefits that came with it, but they were unsure of what they were supposed to do. They said they would come to the fitness center with the intention to strength train but would end up on a cardio machine for 30 to 60 minutes.

As a trainer who loves to strength train, I want to help our members understand that strength training is important for everybody and does not have to be as complex but yet more clear. We are going to bring strength training back to the basics. Let’s talk about the what, why, and how of the six basic movements.

6 Basic Movement Patterns for Strength Training

1. Squat

What: The squat is a compound, full body exercises that primarily trains your quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, and glutes.

Why: You should train the squat because every time you sit down or stand up from a chair, you are performing a squat.

How: Assisted Squat, Bodyweight Squat, Goblet Squat

2. Hip Hinge

What: The hip hinge is the ability to bend at the hips while maintaining a neutral/straight spine.

Why: Nearly 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime, and most cases are not caused by a serious condition. This means the low back pain you may have been experiencing could be prevented. Let me ask you this. Are you picking up your child with a rounded back, or are you bending at the hips with a neutral spine lifting your child up? Hopefully, it’s the latter. Learning how to properly perform and strengthening the hip hinge will not only save your back but keep you healthier.

How: Wall hinge, Cable Pull through, Kettlebell deadlift.

3. Single Leg Exercises

What: Single leg exercises are the ability to perform an exercise on one leg. Unlike the squat and hip hinge, single leg exercises require more stability through the foot, ankle, knee, and hips.

Why: Most people tend to have a dominate right or left side where they tend to shift their weight to while standing or take that first step with. Over time, this can lead to one leg becoming stronger than the other. You should train single leg exercises because it will help even out any imbalances between your right and left legs. Also, it will help improve your general strength and balance. Lastly, it will help prepare your body for the next time you decide to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

How: Lunges, Step ups, Split Squats

4. Push (Upper Body)

What: A push movement is the ability to move an object away from your body.

Why: You should train the push movement because you will be preparing your body for when you have to push that couch across the room, or when you have to push your stroller carrying your child.

How: Push Up, Dumbbell Chest Press, Shoulder Press

5. Pull (Upper Body)

What: A pull movement is the ability to bring an object towards your body.

Why: You should train the pull movement because you want to prepare your body for when you have pull that couch across the room, open a door, or when you start your lawn mower.

How: Pull Up, Dumbbell row, or cable row.

6. Loaded Carry

What: A loaded carry is a very simple movement. All it consists of is picking up a weight and walking with it while maintaining perfect posture.

Why: You want to perform loaded carries because you want to prepare your body when you’re holding your child in your arms, or when you try to carry all your groceries in one trip.

How: Farmer Carry, Suitcase Carry, Waiter Carry

These six foundational movement patterns are the basis to any good strength training program. Developing perfect movement patterns and challenging them through various strength training is the most effective way to develop strength, build muscle, and prevent injuries. The next time you come into the club, start thinking in terms of strengthening these six movements.

By training these movements, your body will not only be stronger but will look stronger too. Those activities you do day in and day out may just seem a little bit easier. If you have and questions or concerns about creating your own strength training program. They will be able to help guide you on your journey to a stronger body that moves better!

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Eric Wahl Personal Trainer at Elite Sports Club - Brookfield

Written by Eric Wahl, CPT Elite Sports Club – Brookfield Personal Trainer

Eric graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a B.S. in Kinesiology and began working at Elite in 2015 as an intern. He is now an American Council of Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer and is CPR/AED certified through American Heart Association. Eric is also TRX certified and specializes in Sport Specific Training, Total Body Strength Training, Circuit/Interval Training, and Functional Personal Training. Eric enjoys being outdoors camping, fishing, canoeing along with participating and watching many sports. He is a huge Packers and Badgers fan!