Weight training is awesome! It can help anyone with their fitness related goals. It has so many benefits like strength gain, muscle gain, and fat loss. If you want to make the most of your weight training program, you have to include the right movements. One of my favorite strength coaches, Dan John believes that all weigh training programs should include some fundamental movements. If you’re not doing these movements, you’re missing out.
Squat: The squat is one of the most fundamental human movements. You learn to squat when you’re a toddler and in some cultures people squat to use the bathroom. There are several squat variations available but my preferred method is the back squat. The back squat will make your legs strong as hell. Unlike the leg press and leg curl, the back squat hits several leg muscles including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Hinge: Hinge exercises focus on the horizontal thrusting of your hips. These movements are great for building your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. Some examples of hinging exercises are kettlebell swings and the barbell glute bridge. The best hip hinge exercise in my opinion is the Deadlift because it builds great overall strength and stimulates the most muscle. Incorporating high quality hinging exercises in your program will help you from lower back pain. The key is having proper technique.
Push: Pushing exercises like the bench press and overhead press are a great way to build your upper body especially the the chests, triceps, and shoulders. Bench press variations are great for chest and tricep development. Overhead and military presses will target your upper back and shoulders. You can do standing shoulder presses to engage your core.
Pull: Pulling exercises like the bent over row and pull-up will build your back muscles. They’re a good balance to pushing exercises. Doing one without the other will lead to shoulder pain and bad posture. My go to pull exercise is the weighted chin-up. It builds my upper back muscles and my biceps.
Loaded Carry: Loaded Carries might have the biggest carryover to real life. Essentially, you’re grabbing weights and walking with it for a distance or time period. Their are many variations to the loaded carry but my go to is the Farmers Walk.
I originally used these as a fat burning exercise by carrying dumbbells for long durations but now I use it as a strength builder. For strength I carry heavy weights for short distances. Loaded carries can help you with just about any fitness goal.
Unilateral Movement: I believe every workout routine needs some unilateral movements. Unilateral movements are exercises that involve you working a single limb. These are great for fixing muscular imbalances since you’ll be working on one leg or arm at a time. The more balanced you are on each side, the better you can perform and the lower your risk of injuries. In addition to injury prevention, unilateral movements help with injury recovery.
All of the movements I mentioned have a couple things in common. They’re all compound movements which use multiple muscle groups and they’re all highly functional. You can apply any of these movements to some aspect of your personal life.