Learn to Love the Foundation
As a strength coach, I am all about building a solid foundation. I want my athletes and clients to be really good at the simple things. The squat, hinge, press, pull, etc. - I want them to master each primal movement before progressing to fancier movements. By fancier, I mean more complex, multi-joint movements that take strength, stability and focus. I feel like nowadays on social media, it's all about doing the coolest shit. People constantly trying to one up each other with insane strength, absurd calisthenics, or gut-busting conditioning circuits that leave you completely depleted of all your energy. Don't get me wrong, every once and a while I like to push myself outside my comfort zone, however I only allow myself to do so because I've built such a solid foundation and I am very self-aware of my abilities.
This is by no means a post to bash anyone on social media trying some crazy stuff, it's their choice not mine, I just wanted to bring the focus back to the basics. The structural movements of strength training and the importance of getting really good at them to excel in other areas. Whether you are an athlete looking for rotational power on the field, or you're a 9-5er wanting to move up and down the stairs without knee pain, sound technique through full ranges of motion, progressive overload and patience is what you'll need to focus on.
Here is a little breakdown of some of the foundational movements I use with athletes and clients and why it's important.
Muscles Used: Glutes, Quads, Core
Importance: Foundational strength through the lower body assisting with stability around the knees, ankle mobility and core strength.
Progressions: Prisoner Squat (bodyweight), Goblet Squat (DB at chest), DB Squat (DB's on either side), BB Squat (front or back).
Muscles Used: Glutes, Hamstrings, Erectors
Importance: Movement around the hip joint (ball and socket joint), strength through the posterior chain which is a common weak point for individuals (we all tend to be quite quad-dominant), and strength through the low back.
Progressions: Glute Bridge (+ variations), DB RDL, BB RDL, Trapbar Deadlift, BB Deadlift
Muscles Used: Overhead Press - Deltoids, Triceps | Chest Press - Pec Major, Delts, Triceps (aka chest and the front of the shoulders)
Importance: Building strength around the shoulder joint is crucial to preventing injury and building strength through the anterior body is important for any sort of pushing movement (O-Line protecting their QB or pushing open a heavy door).
Progressions: Overhead Press - Landmine Press, BB Overhead Press, DB SA Overhead Press | Chest Press - Incline Push-ups, Push-ups, DB Chest Press, BB Bench Press
Muscles Used: Back - Traps, Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Erectors, Posterior Delts
Importance: Strengthening the posterior chain (the back of the body) is critical for posture, back health, and balancing the body.
Progressions: Standing RB Row, Seated Cable Row, DB Supported SA Row, BB Bent Over Row
Muscles Used: The Core - Erectors, Rectus Abdominus, Internal/ External Obliques
Importance: Another important one for rotational power (needed for many sports), as well as core stability and posture which is crucial as you age (say NO to low back pain!)
Progressions: Standing Trunk Rotations, RB External Rotations, Kneeling Rope Rotations, RB Explosive Rotation
THE HIP ACTION
Muscles Used: Glutes, Hamstrings, Internal Muscles of the Hip
Importance: This is a huge one for developing explosive power through the body. Being able to explosively load and explode through the hips is super important for many athletes but also important for those that want to progressively overload and challenge the body. Once you've establish a strong base from the movements above, that's when you can really start to use that strength and add the speed component.
STRENGTH + SPEED = POWER
Progressions: Glute Bridge (+ variations), Low Cable Pull Through, KB Swings, BB Hang High Pull, BB Hang Clean
NOTE: I did not walk through how to execute every exercise because you probably would've stopped reading after the first one, but feel free to plug the name into YouTube or message me for an explanation/ visual!
OH! And I didn't even get a chance to talk about my love for unilateral (single arm/ leg) movements and their very important place in your training regime, but I'll have to save that one for another time ...
Okay okay, that was a lot of info but hopefully this will be reference point and reminder of some of the basics! If you already include these movements in a controlled and resisted way in your training now, that's great! If you don't, maybe you could try incorporating them and see if it translates to different styles of training you enjoy, or everyday life.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you have and if you're looking to change up your program - I can help with that too! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org