Now that you restored your ranges of motion, what’s the next step?
In our last piece, we covered your very first step when getting back in the game -- restore the ranges of motion you lost.
After your ranges of motion are cleaned up and your body can absorb and adapt to stress, the next step is to create a solid baseline.
There are 7 things the body can do, which are called "primal movement patterns" -- push, pull, hinge, squat, lunge, twist and gait. You must establish proficiency in these areas, then progress to adding weight to these movements.
Why are they important?
They’re part of your daily life! Getting up, going to work, walking up the stairs, picking up a child, carrying groceries -- even going to the bathroom! -- all utilize these patterns.
Working on these with weight not only provides longevity and health, but it also makes your everyday life easier.
Push involves exerting force with your arms away from your body.
You can push horizontally or vertically. The horizontal push mainly works the chest and rear musculature of the arms.
The primary way to start incorporating horizontal push into your workout: push-ups. You can start out by trying an elevated push-up and progress towards the floor.
If you're ready to add weight to your horizontal push, give the bench press a try!
Remember to keep your shoulders centered and down (not elevated or rolled forward) so that you're not putting stress on them.
How you use push in real life: pushing yourself up off the ground, moving furniture, putting groceries away.
Pull involves exerting force with your arms towards your body.
Pull can be done horizontally or vertically as well. A horizontal pull would be any kind of row. A great one to try is a bent over dumbbell row.
A vertical pull could be a pull-up or chin up, but these won't happen right away as its more difficult. A good way to get started here is to give a lat machine a try.
Both the horizontal and vertical row mainly use the muscles of the mid- and upper-back, and fronts of the arms.
How you pull in real life: starting the lawn mower, opening a drawer, dragging something across the floor.
Hinge involves bending at the hips and exerting force to straighten the body.
Hinge is a great movement pattern because it works the entire "posterior chain:" hamstrings, glutes and lower-back.
Hinge is best incorporated in the deadlift and its many variations.
Weight can be added by holding barbells or dumbbells in your hands.
How you hinge in real life: Bending down to pick up anything off the floor (child, bag of groceries, etc), and if you're a man in...the, um...bedroom.
Squat involves a bend in the hip and knees and exerting force to straighten both.
A squat is probably the most common way to work the lower body. It primarily works the musculature of the front and bag of the leg, the quads and hamstrings, respectively, as well as the glutes.
You can begin squatting with a "goblet squat," which involves holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of you. As you progress, you can start working with a barbell and perform back squats and front squats.
How you squat in real life: getting in and out of a chair.
Lunge involves a bend in the hip and knee -- on only one side -- and exerting force to straighten both.
Lunge might be more difficult for you to master than squat because it isolates one side at a time. The very same musculature is worked as in the squat, but the unilateral nature of the exercise creates a greatly increased demand for balance.
Try starting with a "reverse lunge." You can then add weight by holding dumbbells or kettlebells at your side(s).
How you use lunge in real life: walking up stairs, any lifting with a staggered stance, stepping over something.
Twisting involves exerting force to rotate or resist rotation of the torso.
Twisting is important because it trains your body to keep your spine straight -- while either moving the torso OR resisting movement of the torso.
Medicine ball tosses against the wall are a great way to start, as are "Paloff presses," which encompass rotation and anti-rotation dynamics, respectively.
How you twist in real life: reaching across your body for something, dancing, throwing a ball.
Gait is human locomotion: walking and running.
Walking or running can be easily incorporated as the "cardio" portion of your fitness regimen -- but you must make sure your mechanics are sound, which can be done with a gait analysis from a qualified physical therapist.
But there's more ways to train gait than by simply walking or running: "loaded carries", which is basically walking while carrying weights, are an excellent way to train this vital movement pattern.
How you use gait in real life: running for the train, walking in the park, carrying an object.
How do you get started?
Pick 2-3 days of training per week and train 2-3 of the patterns each time.
Perform 3-4 sets of each exercise with a weight (sometimes just bodyweight) that permits you to complete 8-12 repetitions per set.
Here is a sample weekly training program to help you get started:
1a. Goblet Squat. 1b. Half Kneeling Pallof Press.
2a. Dumbbell Bench Press. 2b. Tall Kneeling (both knees down), neutral grip (palms facing each other) Lat pulldown.
3a. Farmer Carry. 3b. Medicine ball slam.
1a. Kettlebell Deadlift. 1b. Deadbug.
2a. Chest supported row. 2b. Split Squat.
3a. Half kneeling Overhead press. 3b. Half kneeling Chops.
Use the primal movement patterns as a framework to create a healthier and stronger body.
Practice these movements, hone in on your newly found ranges of motion, and load these patterns with weight to improve your quality of life, look better, and keep you doing the things you love!
Coming Up Next: “You Have the Basics Down, Now Customize It To You”