The five most important resistance movements

If you follow the Instagram "gurus" or people like Jillian Michaels and other celebrity "trainers" you see people doing thousands of different moves in the gym.

The glossy magazines as well lead you to believe that fitness, specifically resistance training, is very complex and you need to do special moves and crazy stupid human tricks to get results.

This just isn't true.

Today I am going to share with you what the important movements are, why they are important, and how to incorporate them into your fitness lifestyle.

Let's keep it simple.

To create better functional fitness within the skin of your body you need to add resistance to the following basic human movements:

  1. Pressing.

  2. Pushing.

  3. Pulling.

  4. Hindging.

  5. Squatting.

It's that simple.

To create variety there are different ways to do each move but at the end of the day as long as you consistently add resistance to each body movement over time, you will get functionally stronger. By adding speed and repetitions you build metabolic conditioning and your body becomes the well oiled machine that it should be.

The moves that I mentioned about are the essential movements that your body makes on a daily basis.

Remember the real reason that we workout isn't to look good. That often happens but it's simply a side effect.

We workout with function in mind.

If we workout for aesthetics we don't end up with good insides.

When we workout with a focus on the function (the inside) we end up fit, strong and healthy inside and out.

That's the REAL goal.

This lesson are vital for you if you truly want to build a body that works right and looks fantastic.

I don't like the term "leg day" or "chest day" or any of the other body part days.

I think it's silly to work a part of your body.

I believe in working different movements. When you do movements to accomplish a task you train to body to WORK in real life.

Having big quads is cool and looks good but what does that do for you?

Don't get me wrong. Having the movement focus will make you look good. The difference is that you will also function well.

Yes, you can have both.

The first three movements that I want to share with you today are pressing, pushing and pulling.

Pressing. We press a resistance over our heads. This can be a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells or a medicine ball or virtually anything that has mass.

Our bodies were designed to push things over our heads. We can do this as a strict press (without legs) or a push press / push jerk which uses our legs. Either way builds upper body and core strength.

Pushing. We push resistance away from our body. While many at the gym prefer a machine or a bench press I call push-ups my exercise of choice.

We push away from our body and we press above our body.

Pulling. We also pull towards our bodies. My favorite move is the pull up.

A pull-up is actually not pulling resistance into our body but it's using our own bodies for resistance. When is doubt always use your own body weight as resistance!

Here some example of moves that I think are beneficial to working each of the movements.

Pressing: handstand push-ups, DB shoulder press, push press / jerk, thrusters and wall ball.

Pushing: burpees, push-ups, bench press, DB chest press, ring dips and med ball throws.

Pulling: pull-ups, muscle ups, ring rows, cleans, med ball over shoulder and snatches.

I prefer to do dynamic multi-joint movements over less complex strict movements. For every 10 times I do kipping pull-ups I might do strict pull-ups. I do burpees more than push-ups.

The higher the heart rate the better.

I virtually NEVER do a single joint exercise. Unless you are trying to place unnatural muscle on your frame a bicep curl or triceps press is basically useless.

Next I am going to focus on the hip hinge and the squat. I am also going to tie everything together so you understand the how and the why behind my training philosophy.

As I spoke about earlier I'm not a fan of focusing on a body part.

Human movements can use specific body parts but the functional movements use many body parts and enhance results to what you want those results to be.

To me there are no more important movements than hinging at the hips and squatting.

Hinging at the hip is how you properly pick up something off the floor. It's also the way that people often hurt themselves.

Sadly there are some bad misconceptions about hip hinging. People think because you CAN get hurt doing this you shouldn't do this because you WILL get hurt.

This is just wrong. People get hurt BECAUSE they tend to ignore this movement pattern and thus get super week and unstable.

I'm talking specifically about the deadlift.

Deadlifting is the ultimate hip hinging exercise. Actually there aren't really many ways to do this specifically so deadlifting is the ultimate.

Everybody should deadlift at least once per week. Start light and use good form but this is a necessary move for whole body wellness.

Squatting. We squat everyday. Yep. EVERY day.

Some days more than others but we squat just about every day. You can add resistance to a squat in many ways but the important thing is to maintain good form and to do squats in a variety of ways.

Do regular squats but make sure to do lower and high rep counts and higher and lower weights as well as loading it in different ways.

The biggest muscles in your body are engaged when you hinge at your hip and when you squat.

You might as well use these movements as often as you can. You will build strength, metabolic conditioning, and stability.

This means a more fit you.

Stop focussing in on making a muscle stronger or a body part bigger or more tone.

Do the five moves that I detailed in these three entries as much as you can. Add variance but keep it simple.

Get tired and out of breath each and everyday and your health and fitness will expand exponentially from the inside out.

Isn't that what we truly want?

It is what we need if we want to live a fit life. Get to work!

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