By Miguel J. Ortiz
The best exercise equipment you will find in any gym will always be your body. So, technically speaking, you may not need the gym. It depends on your goals, but the like-minded motivation and assistance from a fitness professional can help tremendously. Your body is an incredible tool and you can learn a lot from it, if you’re paying attention. So, what are some good movement patterns to do at home and how can we use them to help us with our goals? Let’s start with 7 basic movements patterns – squat, lunge, bend, rotate, gait, push and pull. Let’s look at how these movements assist in some quality workouts as well as help direct attention to some needed areas.
When you hear the word gait, that means it’s a cyclical movement pattern, think cardio. Running, rowing, jump rope, bicycle riding, elliptical, swimming, etc. are all examples of gait movement patterns. This movement pattern is great for a warm up, general calisthenics, a long run or a cool down. It is a common go-to for all exercise enthusiasts.
The squat, I would have to say, is by far one of the most important movement patterns. So, do you know who has the best squats? Most people wouldn’t guess this, but children have the best squat pattern. Why? Because they learn to pick everything up using their legs. Bending over to pick things up only starts to occur when we get lazy or a lack of activity has started to become prevalent. We sit and use our legs every day, so this movement pattern is never something to ignore.
Next, let’s look at the lunge. Depending on the person, a lunge can be a little advanced. You might need some assistance. If you are practicing lunges at home, you might want to start stationary or simply do a step-up. This can assist with future lunge patterns and more advanced movements as you progress.
Bend or hinge movements will cover two different categories. It is very important to understand how to separate the two. It’s perfectly fine for your back to bend, but take caution as you don’t want to be bending during heavy strength movements as injury may occur. Most of your other bend movements will happen during stretching, yoga, core, crunches, leg lifts and Pilates exercises.
Rotate is another movement pattern that will also cover a lot of core exercises and the same concepts need to be applied when keeping the back straight. A good example would be a plank rotation or a V-sit twist. Both exercises are in a stationary position, both require you to keep your back straight and deal with rotation.
Push and pull movements are next on the list. These are pretty self-explanatory as your either pushing away or pulling something toward you. Push-ups, shoulder press (push) and triceps push downs are good push examples. Pull examples are pull-ups, bicep curls (pulls) and rows.
So, now that we reviewed all of our movement patterns, let’s put them together and try a fun little home workout. I suggest three rounds of the following for time. This way you can measure progress the next time you complete this workout.
1. 20 Air Squats
2. 10 Push-ups
3. 20 Lunges
4. 20 leg lifts
5. 30 Jumping jacks
6. 40 Bicycle Crunches
Have fun with your home workout and don’t be afraid to take these exercises outside. Want to mix it up with your normal jogging routine? Well, maybe you decide to do 5 push-ups or 10 squats every 10 minutes of running and see what that will do to your workout. Enjoy your body for its ability to be pushed to the limit and never doubt yourself. You will never know what you can accomplish until you try.
Miguel J. Ortiz is a personal trainer in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of the National Personal Trainer Institute and a Certified Nutritional Consultant with more than a decade of professional experience. He can be found on Instagram at @migueljortiz.