As we know from reading part one here, strength, or resistance training should be the foundation of our exercise plan. The next question is how do we know what to do!?
The human body can only move in a set number of ways – every activity that we do is either one of those fundamental movements, or it’s a combination of a multitude of them back to back.
The fundamental movements are:
- Think of the action of sitting on a chair and standing up from it again, so moving your hips up and down
- A hinge movement is what you would do when lifting up an object from the floor by bending your hips. All of the deadlift movements would fit in here
- Horizontal Push
- This is your push ups and your bench press – anything pushing your arms straight out in front of you
- Horizontal Pull
- Any action pulling your arms straight towards you, so any form of row – whether its with weights, or bodyweight a piece of equipment like a TRX
- Vertical Push
- Lifting anything directly overhead, your classic shoulder press would go here, as would something as advanced as a handstand!
- Vertical Pull
- At the more advanced end this would be a pull up, or for those just getting started we could also use a pull down machine, or even a resistance band
- Anything at all on one leg would fit here, from a simple step up, though to more advanced walking lunges and barbell lunges. Training on one leg is important for all of us.
Our strength or resistance training plan must include all 7 of these fundamental movements each week. Whether we include all of them in every session, or divide them across two or three sessions will largely depend on the amount of time we want to spend in the gym!
With those new to strength training I like to include all 7 fundamental movements in every session – this gives the double benefit of more frequency learning the movements – building competency and progress; but also in the event of a missed workout, it doesn’t throw off the whole weeks schedule…!
A typical beginner workout may therefore look like this:
Squat: Goblet Squat, 4 sets of 8- 10 repetitions
Hinge: Hip thrust, 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions
Horizontal Push: Dumbbell bench press, 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions
Horizontal Pull: TRX Row, 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions
Vertical Push: Tall kneeling overhead press, 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions
Vertical pull: resistance band pull down, 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions
Lunge: Box step up with dumbbells, 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions on each leg
You will see that there are more repetitions across the week of the ‘pulling’ exercises than the pushing. This is to counteract the natural internal rotation of the shoulders that we see in many people new to exercise – I say many, that doesn’t of course mean all – but if we’re looking to create some general guidelines to fit the majority of people new to exercise – I would always look to bias things towards the ‘pulls’.
For a more comprehensive and structured training plan check out my Dumbell Program here
When we begin a new schedule such as this we have to focus on movement quality, range of motion, and form – rather than trying to add weight. That will come, and when it does it will be that much more satisfying!
Consistency Beats Intensity