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The 6 Vital Movements Every Personal Trainer Will Want to Master

foundational movements for weight lifting

Written by Scott Gaines NESTA Director + Senior Vice President

What are the Foundational Movement Patterns?

The human body is capable of a wide range of movements, and these movements can be organized into six foundational patterns: hinge, squat, push, pull, carry, and crawl. These patterns form the basis for many of the exercises and activities that we do on a daily basis, and they are essential for maintaining proper function and mobility.

The Most Effective Fitness Program Begins With These 6 Movements

Let’s take a closer look at each of these patterns and discuss how they can be incorporated into a well-rounded fitness routine.

1. Hinge

The hinge pattern involves movement at the hips, and it is used when we bend over to pick up an object or when we do exercises like deadlifts and kettlebell swings. This pattern is important for maintaining proper function of the hips and lower back, and it also helps to develop strength and power in the posterior chain (the muscles on the back side of the body).

2. Squat

The squat pattern involves movement at the hips, knees, and ankles, and it is used when we sit down in a chair or do exercises like squats and lunges. This pattern is essential for maintaining proper lower body function and developing strength and mobility in the legs.

3. Push

The push pattern involves movement at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and it is used when we push open a door or do exercises like push-ups and bench press. This pattern is important for maintaining proper upper body function and developing strength and power in the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

4. Pull

The pull pattern involves movement at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and it is used when we pull open a drawer or do exercises like pull-ups and rows. This pattern is essential for maintaining proper upper body function and developing strength and power in the back, biceps, and forearms.

5. Carry

The carry pattern involves movement at the hips, shoulders, and elbows, and it is used when we carry a suitcase or when we do exercises like farmer’s carries, and suitcase carries. This pattern is important for developing strength and stability in the core and upper body and helps improve grip strength.

6. Crawl

The crawl pattern involves movement at the hands, knees, and feet, and it is used when we crawl on the ground or do exercises like bear crawls and crab walks. This pattern is important for developing strength and stability in the core and upper body and helps improve coordination and balance.

Your Movement Patterns Affect Your Performance

Incorporating these foundational movement patterns into your fitness routine is essential for maintaining proper function and mobility. They can be incorporated through exercises like the ones listed above, or through activities like carrying groceries or playing sports. It is also important to vary the intensity and volume of these movements to ensure that you are challenging your body in different ways. Focusing on these foundational patterns can improve your overall strength, mobility, and function, which can help you live a healthier, more active life.

If this topic interests you, you will also want to consider professional training, certification, and career opportunities with NESTA. NESTA and Spencer Institute coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.

For more information on the various ways to train these movement patterns and the biomechanics of each exercise, please check out the NESTA Master Personal Trainer program.

You can also check out these other blogs posts:

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