We all squat when we sit and get up off the toilet or a chair. In many countries people still work and play from theÂ squatÂ position. Squatting is a natural movement that takes the hands to the floor. Squatting involves using the Buttocks (Glutes), the Thighs (Quads), the back of the Thighs (Hamstrings), the Core muscles both front and back. There is a huge amount of muscle activation during the squat. For fat loss or just developing pure brute strength you cannot beat the squat.
Whenever you walk up some stairs you are lunging. Lunging is like an exaggeration of the gait pattern. During sports you lunge all the time, watch a tennis player and see how they lunge for the ball as they run backwards and forwards. Lunging is a bit more tricky than Squatting because there are more balance requirements and you tend to overload one leg more than the other. All this makes lunging very demanding both physically and neurologically. Again the lunge is a great tool for fat loss and highly underused. For more sports specific strength then you canâ€™t beatÂ omnidirectional lunges.
Have you ever picked up a box from the floor? This is the deadlift pattern. It is highly dependent on the back of the body (posterior chain). What I donâ€™t mean here is just the back, rather the Buttocks (Glutes), Back of the Thighs (Hamstrings), and also the Spinal Erectors. Basically the hips do the work and the rest serve just to stabilse.Â DeadliftsÂ are a real strongmanâ€™s exercises. Great for overall strength, muscle development, and improving posture. It is one of the great full body pulling movements. If you only had to do one exercise then this is the one!
We can divide the push into 2 separate categories: Horizontal and Vertical. So aÂ Push UpÂ would be a horizontal push and an overhead press would be Vertical. Most pushing exercises require strong core stability. The only time you wonâ€™t really use your core is if you are lying on a bench. So to get more â€œBang for your Buckâ€ donâ€™t lye down when exercising! Most men spend too much time pushing, trying to develop a good looking chest. Too many pushing exercises can make drastic postural changes to the body. Ensure you match ever pushing exercise with a Pulling exercise!
Â 5. Pull
Again like Push you can divide these exercise into: Horizontal and Vertical. A horizontal Pull would be a row and a vertical Pull would be a Chin Up. Most people donâ€™t do enough Pulling exercises. Pulling is crucial to neutralise all the time we spend sitting in a forward slouched position. Pulling will help get the shoulders back and improve posture and ultimately better breathing. AlthoughÂ Pulling based exercisesÂ can be more difficult to achieve without equipment they must be pat of any program.
I could have also addedÂ One Legged exercisesÂ to this list but I think these fall under the 5 movements above. For example you can Squat with one leg and Deadlift with one leg. One Legged exercises are merely a way of progressing on from the the above movement patterns.Â Rotational exercisesÂ could have been added too but as with One Legged exercises I see these as a progression on from the above 5. We generally rotate anyway with most movement but you could exaggerate this with a One Armed Push or Pull, or a Lunge with Rotation etc.
Do you struggle with any of these movements? Love to know below…