If you’re new to lifting, it can be tempting to jump right into complex training programs or focus on isolating specific muscle groups. However, if you want to build a solid foundation of strength and avoid injury, it’s important to start by mastering the five basic human movements: squat, hinge, push, pull, and carry. By progressively overloading these movements over time, you can build strength, improve your overall fitness, and prepare yourself for more advanced training strategies down the line.
The first movement pattern to master is the squat. This involves lowering your body down into a seated position while keeping your feet flat on the ground and your knees tracking over your toes. Squats are an excellent way to build lower body strength, improve mobility, and increase core stability. To start, focus on bodyweight squats or goblet squats using a kettlebell or dumbbell. As you progress, you can add weight or move on to barbell squats.
The hinge movement is another essential pattern to master. This involves bending at the hips while keeping a flat back, like when you pick something up off the ground. Hinges are great for building lower back and hamstring strength, as well as improving your posture and preventing lower back pain. Start with bodyweight hip hinges or kettlebell swings, and gradually progress to deadlifts with a barbell.
Push movements include exercises like push-ups, bench press, and overhead press. These exercises are great for building upper body strength and improving your pushing power. Start with push-ups on your knees or against a wall if needed, and gradually progress to full push-ups or bench press with a barbell.
Pull movements, on the other hand, focus on pulling weight towards your body, like with rows or pull-ups. These exercises are essential for building upper back and bicep strength, as well as improving your posture and preventing shoulder pain. Start with inverted rows or lat pulldowns, and work your way up to pull-ups or barbell rows.
Finally, the carry movement involves holding weight and walking with it. This can be done with a variety of implements, like dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a sandbag. Carries are excellent for building grip strength, improving your posture, and strengthening your core. Start with farmer’s carries or suitcase carries, and gradually increase the weight over time.
By focusing on these five basic movements and gradually increasing the weight or difficulty over time, you can build a solid foundation of strength and fitness. Avoid the temptation to jump into complex training programs or isolate specific muscle groups in the beginning of your gym journey. Instead, focus on moving well and mastering the basics. As you become more advanced, you can incorporate more advanced training strategies, but the basics will always remain essential for building strength and preventing injury.