What movements should your strength training program include?


  • A program should include a template of various movement patterns.
  • When structuring a program, the individual or coach should practice specificity.
  • Practicing various movement patterns will also provide a more balanced structure and physique.
  • There are six movement patterns to include in your program.

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Working at a corporate gym, I had the experience of meeting a variety of people with different objectives, limitations, and methods of training.

One individual who was very simplistic in his workout approach was John.

He came to me for improvements in lean mass and strength after experiencing a plateau from overtraining and faulty programming. John had a favorite exercise:

The bench press.

What was the problem? Besides having a frustrating Monday (The Bench Press Sabbath), when no benches are available, John experienced a plateau due to rarely including any other exercises in his program besides upper-body pushing and pulling exercises.

He had various imbalances and experienced a LOT of pain though repetitively performing these movements. Furthermore, when I assessed his squat among other movement patterns, he was barely assuring enough that he could properly put his ass on a toilet seat without missing and tearing a ligament.

John, like many male newcomers seeking to build a massive chest and biceps, figured if he continued bench pressing and bicep curling, he would continue to develop his chest and biceps. John, however, confided that he had maintained nearly the same size for months upon months with little to no progress.

Programming Functional Movements  

For optimal results, whether the main objective is altering body composition or increasing maximal strength, a program should first include a template of various movement patterns.

Certain movement patterns are involved in activities of daily living and different patterns may be more frequent for certain individuals.

When structuring a program, the individual or coach should practice specificity – meaning, he or she should emphasize movements specific to his or her activities, whether in sports performance or activities of daily living.

Practicing various movement patterns will also provide a more balanced structure and physique. (Not to mention if you are leaving out #1 and #4, you are missing out on significant metabolic and hormonal benefits that can be advantageous to fat loss and building lean mass).

What Movement Patterns Should You Have In Your Program?

Listed below are SIX movement patterns and FIVE example exercises to integrate into your program as variations of each movement pattern.

At the least, your training program should include the following:

1. Squat

    • Olympic Squats
    • Power Squats
    • Front Squats
    • Zercher Squats
    • Split Squat

Posted by T Justin Cooper on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2. Push

    • Bench Press
    • Parallel Bar Dips
    • Dumbbell Bench Press
    • Dumbbell Neutral-Grip Overhead Press
    • Z-Press

Posted by T Justin Cooper on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

3. Pull

    • Pull-ups
    • Supinated Bent-over Barbell Rows
    • Hammer-Grip Chin-ups
    • Meadow’s Row
    • Rack Chins

Posted by T Justin Cooper on Thursday, February 25, 2016

4. Hip Hinge

    • Deadlift (Click HERE for “The Top Six Reasons Why You Should Deadlift”)
    • Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
    • Good Mornings (GM’s)
    • Snatch-Grip Deadlifts
    • Pull-throughs

Posted by T Justin Cooper on Sunday, March 6, 2016

5. Core

  • Vertical Plate Crunches
  • Weighted Planks
  • Pallof Press
  • Suitcase Carry
  • Side Planks

6. Loaded Carry

  • Farmer’s Walk
  • Waiter’s Carry
  • Yoke Carry
  • Fireman’s Carry
  • Suitcase Carry

John has since followed a well-structure program involving the functional movement patterns listed and with proper nutrition and corrective exercise, John has improved structure, function, and his body composition for a lean, muscular physique.

Practice a balanced training program with the six movement patterns listed and you will also be on the road to improved function, structure, strength, and body composition.

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