Strength training is an important part of any fitness regime, and the key to building full body strength lies in understanding the seven foundational movement patterns & how to train them. These seven movements—squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, rotate, and carry—are essential for developing a strong body that can perform optimally in everyday life. Let’s explore each of these movements in more depth.
Lower Body Movement Patterns:
1. Squat Movement Pattern: The squat is one of the most fundamental and important movement patterns for full body strength. This exercise strengthens all the major muscles in the lower body, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips, calves, and core. Squats can be done with or without weights—start with just your body weight and gradually increase resistance as you get stronger. Common squat exercises include box squats, goblet squats, back squats, & Bulgarian split squats.
2. Hinge Movement Pattern: The hinge movement pattern is similar to the squat but focuses more on hip extension rather than knee flexion, like picking something up off of the floor. This exercise targets the glutes as well as other muscles in the posterior chain (lower back, spinal erectors, hamstrings, calves). It also works your core muscles since they need to be engaged for stabilization during hip extension exercises. You can start with simple hinge exercises like deadlifts & dumbbell RDL’s.
3. Lunge Movement Pattern: Lunging is another important movement pattern that has many applications both inside and outside of the gym. It involves stepping forward, backwards, or even laterally with one leg while keeping the other leg planted firmly on the ground behind you and then pushing back up to standing position with both feet together again. Lunging works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and core muscles all at once – making it an excellent exercise for building full body strength. It can also help to improve flexibility, stability, balance, and coordination when done correctly. Common Lunge exercises include forward lunge, backwards lunge, & lateral lunge.
Upper Body Movement Patterns:
4. Push Movement Pattern: The push movement pattern is used for pushing movements such as pressing or pushing away from something. This movement pattern works several muscle groups including chest, shoulders, triceps, forearms, & even your core muscles (abs & obliques). Pushing exercises can be categorized into two different groups: Horizontal & vertical. Push-ups & the bench press are great examples of a horizontal pushing patterns, whereas overhead dumbbell presses & handstand push-ups are great vertical pushing patterns.
5. Pull Movement Pattern: The pull movement pattern involves pulling yourself towards an object or an object towards you. These movement patterns engaged multiple muscle groups including the lats (back), biceps (arms), traps (upper back). Interestingly, the core muscles are also involved in stabilization during pulling motions! Like the pushing movement pattern, pulling movements can be broken down into two categories, horizontal & vertical. Inverted rows & seated rows are great examples of horizontal pulling patterns, whereas pull-ups & chin-ups are great vertical pulling patterns.
6. Rotation Movement Pattern: The movement pattern is unique & different from the others because of the plane that in works in. Rotating exercises work in the transverse plane & involves twisting at the core. Rotation is involved in many movements seen in sports, such as throwing a ball, swinging a racket, bat, or club, kicking a ball, changing directions & many others. These exercises help strengthen abdominal & oblique muscles while engaging stabilizing muscles like those found in hips & even the shoulders too. Rotation exercises are also great for teaching the body how to dissociate the upper body & lower body as well. Cable Wood Choppers, Russian Twists, or medicine ball throws will help you develop rotation strength & power.
7. Carry Movement Pattern: The carrying movement is often a foundational movement pattern that gets overlooked. We all carry things throughout our day. Backpack to school, briefcase to work, groceries into the house, etc. Although carrying patterns can be loaded like the activities listed above, carrying is more broadly associated with locomotion of the body as well. Carrying our body through space with smoothness as we perform daily activities is an important movement pattern we must master! Examples of great carrying exercises include walking, farmer’s carry, & even overhead carries.
The 7 foundational movement patterns outlined above should be included in any complete fitness program if you want to get strong from head-to-toe faster than ever before. Incorporating these movements will help build balanced strength across all muscle groups – enabling better performance not only in physical activities but in everyday life tasks as well. Start building full body strength today by implementing these 7 foundational movement patterns into your regular workout routine!
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