Have you heard of the expression “fundamentals first?” All top-level coaches, professionals, and experts advocate the simplistic approach of having the fundamentals before anything else. One of the challenges today is that many of us want progress to the next level without having our fundamentals down first. This is a problem. In regards to exercise, this is critically important if we want to minimize our risk for injury.
1.) Push-ups: One of the most underutilized exercises, allow for great mobility throughout your shoulder and scapula and still providing enough difficulty for your chest while also working your core. Push-ups are easier on your joints and should be done no matter your fitness level. They can be easily modified for beginners by elevating your hands to a bench while still allowing for full range of motion. Advanced lifters can simply add a weighted vest or resistance band to allow for greater difficulty.
2.) Farmers walk: This is a great full body movement that can be added into any workout looking to build overall strength and improve fat loss in a functional way. Farmers walk increase the load to the traps, core, hips, and grip all while overloading the cardiovascular system. These are great for individuals of all fitness levels and I highly recommend throwing a little weight on a trap bar, or picking up a couple kettle bells or dumbbells and trying to walk as far as possible!
3.) Squats: When performed correctly squats recruit every major muscle in the lower body and may very well be the most functional movement performed in the gym. Squats replicate the primary movement pattern of day-to-day activities such as picking something up off the ground and can be performed in several different ways. Squats are most definitely a great movement but I highly recommend trying different variations of squats. Whether you’re a female looking to add weight to your squat or a male maybe scaling back on the weight and adding explosiveness, it allows your body to see different variations of squats that in return will be very beneficial.
4.) Deadlifts: This movement recruits multiple muscle groups when performed correctly. The deadlift combines two of the primary movement patterns, the squat and pull. Deadlifts can be performed several different ways all of which are great for burning calories, toning, increasing muscle mass, and losing body fat. Deadlifts are unquestionably one of the more complex, if they are not already incorporated into your training they are a must!
5.) Pull-ups: A great bodyweight movement that incorporates maximum tension throughout the body while be performed. Although not performed by the majority of people for reasons such as lack of upper body strength they can be easily modified. Inverted row, rack chin ups or even band-assisted pull-ups are great alternatives for those who cant quite master an independent pull-up, but are close.