First of all, a disclaimer: Everyone is different and needs individualized training programs.
HOWEVER, the ONE thing that everyone’s training program should have is: Proper Movement Patterns!
Every exercise out there is based off of these movements. Before you choose which exercises to do or how many sets or reps to perform, or how many times you should train per, or anything else really- You must learn proper movement patterns. If you don’t, you’re not going to get much benefit even from the best program AND there is a high risk of injury.
What exactly are proper movement patterns?
These are the moves that are your body naturally prefers. The way a human body is supposed to move since birth. These moves keep your body healthy, fit, and pain free.
Gait: This is your regular walk. Do you know which muscle help humans be bipedal (walk on 2 legs) vs quadrupedal (4 legs)? It’s the gluteus. Your butt muscles help you stay upright and walk like a human. How many of you use your butt muscles to walk? Pay attention to your hips next time! Your gait should be proper before you start running, jogging or sprinting.
Exercise that will help you improve your Gait: Monster Walks
Squat: This is the sitting position. Look at how this baby is sitting without any effort at all. As humans get older, they lose that mobility and strength- mainly from sitting in chairs all day. You don’t have to be as perfect at this baby, but you have to be able to squat properly before attempting to squat with weights. Ideally, you should go low enough that your hips and knees are parallel and your knees are not caving inwards.
Exercise that will help you improve your Squat: A squat with a ball on your back
Bend (Hip hinge): What do you look like when you bend over to pick something up? Is your back straight or is it curved like the skeleton on the right? Because of that curved back, people get back problems. Ideally, your back looks like the skeleton on the left any time you bend.
Exercise that will help you improve your Hinge: Banded hip hinge
Lunge: Lunges also mimic everyday movements where one leg moves and bends while the other stays stationary. You lunge any time you use one leg at a time such as going up the stairs or lunging to tie your shoelace. Lunges utilise both squat and hinge principles as well as balance and stability.
Exercise that will help you improve your Lunge: Lunge
Push: Any time you push yourself off the ground or put something on a high shelf, you are using the push muscles. Ideally your scapula is stable so you are not wobbling around while performing any of these motions. Your scapular is stable if it’s retracted which happens when you squeeze your shoulder blades together (diagram below).
Exercise that will help you improve your Push: Push-up on Knees
Pull: When you pull a door open- what muscles do you use? Your arms? The correct pulling movement should be initiating by your back muscles. Specifically by stabilising your scapula and then pulling. Your scapular is stable if it’s retracted which happens when you squeeze your shoulder blades together (diagram above).
Exercise that will help you improve your Pull: Inverted Row
Twist: Any time you rotate at your torso, you are using the twist movement- reaching across your body, throwing a paper ball in the garbage, or even running, you are utilizing this movement. Essentially linking your upper body to your lower body, training the movement before you can load it with weight.
Everything else your body does stems from these 7 movements- all exercises are based on these 7 movements. Once you build enough awareness of your body’s natural movements as these get easier, you can add resistance. And yes all of these exercises will make you look great as well. You’ll improve your posture and strengthen your body overall, while preparing yourself to handle heavier weights.