The 7 Movements You Need in Your Workouts

Performing full-body workouts like these 2 or 3 times a week will shape your body and leave you feeling strong and fit.

You see fit people at the gym and you think to yourself, "I want to look like that!"

Actually getting to the gym is only the first part of getting fit. After a long day at work or school, getting to the gym can be hard to do consistently. If you make it to the gym, you have to figure out what in the world you're going to do while you're there! It can be a confusing process. You typically have two choices: get on a treadmill or grab a pair of dumbbells and mimic the meathead next to you.

Going through a program might seem difficult or even intimidating. But if you break it down into seven fundamental movements, it's pretty simple to put together. This strategy takes a joint-by-joint approach, focusing on hip-dominant, knee-dominant, horizontal pushing, horizontal pulling, vertical pushing, vertical pulling and core movements; and these are further divided into anti-extension, anti-lateral flexion, anti-rotation and rotary stability.

Training these seven movements will make you the strongest-looking and most functional fit person you can be. Here is a breakdown of movements and their corresponding exercises:

Hip-Dominant

  • Deadlift, Single-Leg Deadlift, Lunges, Single-Leg Squat, Hip Bridge

Knee-Dominant

  • Squat, Split-Squat, Lateral Squat, Lunges, Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat, Single-Leg Squat, Step-Ups

Horizontal Push

  • Flat Bench, Dumbbell Flat Bench, Push-Ups

Horizontal Pull

  • Dumbbell Row, Cable Row, TRX Row

Vertical Push

  • Dumbbell Press, Overhead Kettlebell Press

Vertical Pull

  • Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups, Lat Pulldowns, X-Pulldowns

Core Anti-Extension

  • Front Plank, Ab Wheel Rollout

Core Anti-Lateral Flexion

  • Side Plank, Suitcase Carries

Core Anti-Rotation

  • Anti-Rotation Press, Side Plank

Core Rotary Stability

  • Chops, Lifts, Crawling

Now that you know the basic movements, here are two sample plans that put it all together, one for beginners, one for advanced athletes.

Foundational Movement Beginner Training Plan

  • Self-myofascial release: Foam Roll full body x 5 min.
  • 10 minutes of movement prep: Hip Flexor-Spiderman with Rotation, Hamstring-Inchworm, Core Activator-Elbow Plank Dynamic-Flings/Seal Jacks, Dynamic-Butt Kicks, Dynamic-High Knees

Tri-Set 1

  • Hip Hinge: Kettlebell Deadlift – 2-4x8-15
  • Horizontal Pull: TRX Row – 2-4x8-15
  • Anti-Extension: Elbow Plank – 2-4x:30 sec.

Tri-Set 2

  • Knee Bend: Goblet Squat - 2-4x8-15
  • Horizontal Push: Push-Up - 2-4x8-15
  • Anti-Rotation: Side Plank - 2-4x:20 sec. each side

Metabolic Conditioning Finisher

Repeat circuit as many times as possible in 10 minutes.

  • Hip Hinge: Superband Deadlift (Speed) or Ball Slams (Power) x 15
  • Anti-Lateral Flexion: Dumbbell Suitcase Carries x 10-15 yards each side
  • Knee Bend: Wall Sit x 30 sec.
  • Conditioner: High Knees x 30 sec.

Cooldown

  • Child's Pose, 5 breaths
  • Toe-Elevated Toe Touches, 5 reps
  • Doorway/TRX Chest Stretch x 30 sec. each side

Foundational Movement Advanced Training Plan

  • Self-myofascial release: Foam Roll full body x 5 min.
  • 10 minutes of movement prep: Hip Flexor-Spiderman with Rotation, Hamstring-Inchworm, Core Activator-Elbow Plank Dynamic-Flings/Seal Jacks, Dynamic-Butt Kicks, Dynamic-High Knees

Tri-Set 1

  • Hip Hinge: Hex-Bar Deadlift – 4x8-12
  • Horizontal Pull: DB 2-Point Row – 4x8-12
  • Anti-Extension: Bodysaw with Valside – 3x10-15

Tri-Set 2

  • Knee Bend: Barbell Front Squat - 2-4x8-10
  • Horizontal Push: DB Alternating Bench Press - 4x8-10
  • Hip/Core-Rotation: Plate Woodchop - 3x8 each side

Metabolic Conditioning Finisher

Repeat circuit as many times as possible in 10 minutes.

  • Hip Hinge: Kettlebell Swing x 15-20
  • Anti-Lateral Flexion: Dumbbell Suitcase Carries x 10-15 yards each side
  • Knee Bend: Jump Squat x 10
  • Athletic Stance Rope Waves x 30 sec.

Cooldown

  • Child's Pose, 5 breaths
  • Toe Elevated Toe Touches, 5 reps
  • Doorway/TRX Chest Stretch x 30 sec. each

Notice that the differences between the two plans simply involve the volume and progression of the exercises. The advanced program has advanced versions of the seven fundamental movements, while the beginner program has the most regressed versions.

Performing a full-body workout like this two to three times a week will shape your body and leave you feeling strong and fit. A typical week for someone who wants to build lean muscle and look fit would look like this:

  • Monday - Full Body Strength with Metabolic Finisher
  • Tuesday - Park Run, 2-3 Miles
  • Wednesday - Full Body Strength with Metabolic Finisher
  • Thursday - Group cardio class (if your energy level is high enough
  • Friday - Full Body Strength with Metabolic Finisher
  • Saturday - Off
  • Sunday - Off

Pro tip: If you have a desk job, perform double pulling sets (Rows, Pull-ups) and maintain solid posture (chest up, shoulders back). Also when squatting, perform Sumo Squats or Lateral Lunges to loosen tight hip flexors and your groin area after sitting all day long.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CHEST | WORKOUT PLAN | HIP FLEXOR | BENCH | PRESS | KETTLEBELL | METABOLIC