When people choose a workout plan or attempt to construct one of their own, they often tend to use individual muscle groups as a focus for their program design. This may be useful for very advanced lifters and professional bodybuilders who need to focus on bringing balance to an already well-developed physique. However, for most recreational lifters and people who just want to get in better shape and/or perform better at their sport, it is much more effective to train movement patterns rather than individual muscle groups. Here are six movement patterns you should structure your training around for optimal results.
This upper-body movement pattern focuses on pushing a weight on your body through space. This pattern puts more emphasis on your chest, triceps and anterior deltoids (front part of shoulders) and can be performed in the vertical and horizontal plane.
This upper-body movement pattern focuses on pulling a weight or your body through space. This pattern emphasized your upper-back muscles, biceps and posterior deltoid (back part of the shoulders), and can be performed in the vertical and horizontal plane.
This lower-body movement pattern focuses on pulling a weight or your body through space using predominantly lower-body muscles. This pattern emphasizes your glutes, hamstrings and lower-back muscles. This pattern can be performed both bilaterally (using two legs) and unilaterally (using one leg).
This lower-body movement pattern focuses on pushing a weight or your body through space using predominately lower-body muscles. This pattern emphasizes your glutes, quads and calf muscles. This pattern can be performed both bilaterally (using two legs) and unilaterally (using one leg).
This body movement pattern focuses on using your core muscles to stabilize your spine. This pattern emphasizes your abdominal and lower-back muscles.
This body movement pattern involves rotating either the upper or lower part of your body and using your core muscles to stabilize your spine. This pattern focuses on the obliques, serratus and lower-back muscles.
If you want to get the most out of your workouts, you should try to incorporate all of these six movements into your training plan. The more workouts per week you do, the less of these movements you will need to incorporate into each training session. For example, for the person who trains two to three times per week, it is better to do full-body workouts that hit every one of these six patterns in each training session. People working out four to six times per week can split up the patterns, like alternating between pushing and pulling movement days or upper- and lower-body days with some core and rotational work added in each session. If you can, try to prioritize pulling movements over pushing, as pulling movements will keep your body in a better balance – think of a person who does too much bench pressing and has rounded shoulders and tight pectoral muscles.
If you train these six patterns you can guarantee you will build a strong, functional body. It will also ensure that every muscle group in your body gets worked evenly and will greatly decrease the chance of any muscular imbalances occurring.