A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SIMPLE MOVEMENT
Our bodies are made to move in simple ways. Our upright posture is designed for endurance activities; long, forward-facing toes and long legs are ideal for forward locomotion; a wide and expansive rib cage allows for efficient breathing; the ability to regulate temperature through sweating adds to endurance capacity, and mobile shoulder and hip joints allow us to efficiently transfer force and manipulate bodyweight.
MODEL FOR PURPOSE-BUILT TRAINING
There is frequently a mismatch between body design and program design when it comes to training. We’ve forgotten that nature has already created the most effective training system. We gradually mastered important motor development milestones from the moment we were born, including learning to stabilize our bodies, manipulate objects, and eventually locomotion. Certain movement patterns formed part of our movement repertoire along the way, and they continue to help us as we get older. SQUATTING, BENDING, STEPPING, PUSHING, PULLING, TWISTING, and WALKING/RUNNING provide us with natural strength, mobility, and control while also maintaining our bodies’ physical balance. As children, practically every day consisted of a variety of basic movements; nevertheless, the modern adult lifestyle has resulted in a progressive loss in the frequency and skill of simple movement.
With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at the 7 KEY MOVEMENT PATTERNS, and how you can easily incorporate them into your workouts.
1. DEEP SQUAT
Arguably, the most important human movement. In its simplest form, it starts with the bodyweight squat. When you learn to bottom out with body weight, you can start to add load, for example, the front squat (barbell). Further challenge yourself by using kettlebells, med balls, and core bags.
Developmentally, the step allowed us to bring the body more upright, ready for standing. As an exercise, begin with bodyweight lunges, or BOX STEPS. Adding load will further build strength and challenge stability and balance. You can also add locomotion to the mix with walking lunges. Don’t forget to play around with different loads, such as med balls, core bags, and dumbbells.
This is the prerequisite movement to lifting and carrying, and one of the best postural exercises you can ever do. As a starting point, learn to hinge the hips – which involves tilting the pelvis slightly and setting the hips/core. Once you have mastered this, you can begin to include the classic barbell deadlift. If barbells aren’t your thing, you can use DUMBBELLS, kettlebells, core bags, and even med balls – all of which will add variety to your bends/lifts.
This upper body pattern begins with the humble PUSH-UP. Master good technique on your knees, before moving to the full push-up position. Further variations included lifting one leg or raising the feet on a box. For added core engagement, try standing CHEST PRESSES on the Kinesis cable machine; for speed and power, try med ball wall slams.
The SIMPLE PULL UP is often just beyond reach. Last beginners. But don’t worry, you can build up to this by starting with rows on the TRX or Trapeze bar – this will get you used to pull your bodyweight towards an object. If you like free weights, add barbell/DB/KB/core bag rows to your workouts.
The ability to rotate our spines provides a direction for movement and is important for maintaining balance and control. Prolonged sitting and overuse of the core muscles can significantly reduce spinal mobility, so it’s important to include simple spinal mobility in your training. Include gentle spinal rotations in your warm-up and cool-down; add chopping movements to your main workout, such as med ball twists, cable wood chops; and incorporate twisting yoga poses into your cool-down routine.
These patterns can include anything that moves you from A to B, including walking, running, jumping, crawling, rolling, and even HANDSTAND walking! Aim to include at least one of these movements in every workout. By regularly including these simple movement patterns in your workouts, you will not only simplify your training – you will also build high levels of natural, balanced strength and mobility.