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Becoming a Better Mover: Training Movements over Muscles

Properly planning your training days to ensure you are hitting all of the different muscle groups (without creating imbalances) can be a tall order. With endless combinations of programming variables and schools of thought regarding training, it can be very difficult to decide what exercises to include in your training program. However, breaking the body into segments and having a plan to incorporate major movements over the course of a week makes programming much less intimidating.

Focus on these major movement patterns:

  • Hinge
  • Squat
  • Single-Leg
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Carry

Now that we have established the major movement patterns, the next step is exercise selection. Picking the right exercises is key to achieving lasting results. Here are some of my favorites for each:

Hinge: Deadlift, RDL, Good Morning, Kettlebell Swing, Snatch and Clean variations

Squat: Back Squat, Front Squat, Goblet Squat, Zercher Squat, Anderson Squat

SingleLeg: Walking Lunge, Split Squat, Reverse Lunge, Bulgarian Split Squat, Pistol progressions

Push: Push-Up, Dip, Bench Press variations, Overhead Press, Jerk, Single-Arm Press

Pull: Pull-Up, Chin-Up, Ring Row, Bent-Over Row, Seated Row, Single-Arm Row

Carry: Farmer Walk, Single-Arm Carry, Overhead Carry, Yoke/Sandbag/Odd-Objects

Whether designating one day for each movement pattern, grouping upper body and lower body days, or combining several movements in a circuit, these patterns should be staples in your training program. Including them all ensures that you are pushing and pulling (horizontally and vertically) with the upper body, bending and extending the lower body, as well as carrying heavy objects.

Here are some examples of how to include each movement pattern in your training:

Option 1

Upper Body Day 1: Horizontal Push/Vertical Pull

Lower Body Day 1: Squat/Carry

Upper Body Day 2: Vertical Push/Horizontal Pull

Lower Body Day 2: Hinge/Single-Leg

Option 2

Day 1: Squat

Day 2: Push (Horizontal & Vertical)

Day 3: Hinge

Day 4: Pull (Horizontal & Vertical)

Day 5: Single-Leg/Carry

Option 3

Upper/Lower Day 1- Push/Extend (Squat)

Upper/Lower Day 2- Pull/Bend (Hinge)

Isolation work, tempo training, isometric holds, and other training protocols certainly have their place. However, the skill transfer achieved through focused work on becoming stronger, more capable, and more comfortable with these major movements is unparalleled.

If you would like to take out the guesswork, reach out to me or another NBS Trainer about Custom Programming or Personal Training. We are all on the road to getting stronger, healthier, and more capable. We’re here to help.

Make it a great week!

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