The 4 Simple Movements you should do when you get back to the gym.

As gyms in the UK are due to open soon I thought that it would be good to explore some simple movements. I know the feeling when you walk into the gym for either the first time or certainly the first time in a while. It can seem very daunting. I certainly felt intimidated the first time I went into a gym even as a PT. This is where a little knowledge of some simple movements can really help you get the most out of your time in the gym and feeling more confident.

I am going to cover the 4 basic movements that almost all exercises fall into. If you pick one or two from each of these movement types you are going to build a great workout. Because of the ways this is setup you’ll also avoid any long term injury from over training one set of muscles over another. These types will provide balance to your exercise practice.

Simple Movement #1 – The Push

Pushing movements could be anything where you push a weight away from your body. The most basic would be the pushup or benchpress. This movement primarily works a combination of your chest muscles, triceps and shoulders. Other examples might include cables machines or straps to act as weight that you push away from your body.

Simple Movement #2 – The Pull

The Pull is the opposite of The Push. You are pulling a weight closer to you. The most obvious would be a cable row or pull up. These are essential movements to balance out the pushes that you do. The muscles that you will exercise the most are the back and biceps. Other pulls that you could experiment with include using olympic rings or TRX straps to do a reverse push up or bent over rows with dumbells or weighted bag.

Simple Movement #3 – The Squat

Squats are a fundamental movement that it is worth understanding the proper way to do them. Whilst working as a PT it was incredible to see so many people squatting with poor form – if you are in a gym talk to a PT or check out this tutorial to see how to do a basic bodyweight squat effectively. Primary muscles being exercised are your legs and glutes. Again you can augment the squat movement using straps to reduce the overall weight that you move; great for beginners and doing a higher number of reps for endurance.

Simple Movement #4 – The Lunge

Another movement that I saw a lot of poor form as a PT. Best to perform these in front of a mirror so you can see the alignment of your knees and ‘kiss’ the floor with your knee in the movement. To get the most out of lunges on different sets try stepping forwards, backwards and sideways – all are lunges all strengthening your legs, balance and core. Lunges again use all your leg muscles to stabilise and power you through the stepping motion.

It is as simple as that. If you complete sets across each of these basic movement types you will get a very well rounded workout. You will feel confident that you have ticked the box for the day’s exercise and you wont waste time wandering the gym trying to figure out what exercise to do next. Just think push, pull, squat, lunge – easy.

Do you have any easy to follow fitness frameworks that you use when you go to the gym or exercise at home? I think the simpler this is the less friction there is for all of us to stay active and healthy.

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James O'Donnell
James O'Donnell

James is on a mission to put the Social back into Social Media!