We often see people in the gym who are completely lost as to why they are working out at all and unsure of what exercises they should be doing while they are there. At the most basic of levels, each one of our goals should be focused first and foremost on ‘function’. What we SHOULD do in the gym is make sure our bodies are 100% functional and perform all the movements necessary for a more active lifestyle.
We’re laying out the 7 basic, primal movement patterns you should use at least once per week and that form the foundation of the workouts & exercise programs we develop.
The Seven Primal Movements:
1. Bend to extend
Bending with a hips back movement, back straight, feet flat and forward. It can be performed bodyweight or in dozens of other variations including the deadlift. Bend to extend movements work your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.
This is a hips down motion. Keep your bodyweight in its neutral gravity line with your back flat, developing range of motion that will take you to “rock bottom.” You will not use much forward lean here as your hips are more directly under you. This is all about strength and flexibility and works every muscle in your legs and core.
This is a long, linear stride, lowering your back knee to just above the ground, with a completely upright torso. Lunges will make your quads and hip flexors sore from the long range of motion and will require more core strength to stand up out of than the squat and deadlift.
This is your ability to twist in your core, from your pelvis to your ribcage. Every step you take has rotation in the thoracic spine, as a matter of injury prevention, train it in your practice. Not only will it keep your core strong and mobile, unifying your body, but it will also tone up those midsection muscles!
This is your upper body muscles pushing things in various directions. In the real world, you would have to do this with different objects, in different ways, quite frequently. Depending upon the lift this trains your chest, shoulders, and triceps differently.
This is your upper body muscles pulling weight toward you. This is often seen in a row or pulling your body weight up in a pull-up. Pulling trains your upper back, biceps, and grip. There is a version of pulling out there for everyone. This movement can also help correct the forward shoulders that have become so common among people today from spending so much time at computers and smart phones.
Walk, jog, run or sprint. I truly believe that we should all be able to enjoy the freedom to run. Training strength and mobility in the first six primal movements will allow you to enjoy exercises such as running with less of a likelihood of injury. I always tell people to get fit so they can run not run to get fit. Long distance running is more likely to stimulate unwanted stressors and overestimate your sympathetic nervous system.