When it comes to performing a full-body workout, are we really hitting every necessary moves? There’s a slight chance that in our search for creating the most effective workout in the shortest amount of time, effectiveness at times gets sacrificed for efficiency.

The benefits of incorporating full-body workouts can range from time saved to fat loss to greater recovery. Yet, while you think your workout may be fully hitting everything required to be functionally fit, you may be inadvertently omitting certain key movements.

You may not notice any problems in the short term, but neglecting certain functional fitness elements — pushing, pulling, hingeing, and a variety of other everyday movements — can eventually lead to muscle  imbalances, which can lead to an inconsistency in strength, poor posture, muscle breakdown and even injury.

It sounds complex, but fixing your full-body routine is as easy as seven exercises that target seven different and key movements, says Blake Holman, CPT, FNS, SPS, personal training manager at New York City’s Equinox.

“Clients who neglect certain movement patterns almost always get injured,” Holman says. “This could be something minor like a strain or more severe and lead to a chronic injury over the years. In bodybuilding, this will lead to being asymmetrical and is detrimental to placing well.”

The magnificent 7 movements

At first glance, remembering to incorporate seven different patterns into a workout may sound challenging in the programming, but once you take a look at what Holman is referring to, you’ll quickly realize that each pattern is a basic movement we do on a daily basis, but probably take for granted.

When building a workout, Holman says to focus on these seven basic movement patterns.

  • Push: A pushing movement is what it says it is, pushing a weight or your body away from tktk. There are two primary types of pushing movements: horizontal press and vertical press (think overhead presses).
  • Pull: A pulling movement is the opposite of a pushing movement. Instead of pushing away from the body you are pulling toward yourself. There are also two primary types being a vertical and horizontal pull.
  • Squat: A squat is a movement where both feet are on the ground evenly about shoulder-width apart. It’s something we do everyday in our lives, like using the toilet. Bend your legs to lower your body down while keeping your chest high and back straight.
  • Hinge: A hinge is a bending movement where weight is placed on your midfoot to heel, hips are pressed back and the spine is kept in a neutral position, as you bend over and lift something off of the ground, like a bag of groceries.
  • Lunge: A lunge is a single leg exercise that requires one leg stepping forward and bending down to the ground while maintaining your chest high and back straight and keeping the back leg stationary.
  • Gait: A gait is a walk, jog, or sprint. Crawling, climbing, even jump also qualify as a gait.
  • Twist: This movement is any movement using the transverse plane or a twisting motion. There are two primary types being rotational and anti-rotational. Rotational movements require actually using a twisting motion across the body and anti-rotational exercises are when you are preventing the rotation of the body.

If you’re having trouble putting together a program of your own, Holman suggests contacting a licensed trainer who can help guide you into compiling a complete workout.

“A professional will ensure that you’re going to include these patterns with correct form,” Holman says. “A good program will help ensure progress is made toward your goals.”

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A Workout Quick Hit

Holman offers two seven-exercise templates for full-body fitness. “These two workouts below ensure we are using these movement patterns along with some variation and guaranteeing we are using the vertical and horizontal planes of motion,” he says.

These workouts are easy to follow and can be done in roughly 30 minutes (rest as you feel fit) and will hit every pattern. Holman says they’re great for a well-balanced and functional physique.

“My programming is results driven based on scientific principles,” Holman says. “It’s helped not only transform the physiques of clients, but it’s also improved their health and well being.”

 Full-Body Functional Physique Workout 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Bench Press (push) 3 8-10
Barbell Bentover Row (pull) 3 8-10
Barbell Squat (squat) 3 8-10
Hex-bar Deadlift (hinge) 3 8-10
Dumbbell Lunge (lunge) 3 8-10
Kettlebell Farmer’s Carry (gait) 3 8-10
Cable Wood Chop (twist) 3 8-10
 Full-Body Functional Physique Workout 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Overhead Press (push) 3 8-10
Wide-grip Pullup (pull) 3 8-10
Goblet Squat (squat) 3 8-10
Dumbbell Stiff-leg Deadlift (hinge) 3 8-10
Kettlebell Stepup (lunge) 3 8-10
Bear Crawl (gait) 3 8-10
Lateral Medicine Ball Throw — standing laterally to wall (twist) 3 8-10
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