06 Feb Get Your 6 Movements in Today
The movements that we take part in today aren’t the same as the movements that we thrived on thousands of years ago – but maybe they should be. If you were to focus on the basic movements that make up all physical activity, you would find that our natural mobility comes from six essential areas:
These primal movements are the basis of everything that we do, and they’re also the elements that we relied upon to keep us fit, and healthy well before the days of gyms and personal trainers. When you move the joints of the body through that full range of motion – incorporate each of the six steps in even the simplest of exercise solutions, you can build a strong foundation for comprehensive health.
After all, the human body is a complex network of joints, muscles, ligaments, fascia, bones, tendons, and other tissues that all work seamlessly together to make you, you. Supporting the natural movements of human nature gives you the flexibility you need to live an active, and highly-tuned lifestyle.
Of course, before you can make the most of your six movements, you need to understand exactly what they are.
Movement 1: Squats
The chances are that you’ve heard of squats by now – they’re one of the most popular exercise solutions around – perfect for strengthening the legs and hips. A squat involves planting both of your feet against the ground, then bending your legs slowly to lower your body while your back remains straight. We use squats when we’re getting in and out of chairs, and as we age, problems with squatting can have a significant impact on our quality of life. After all, you shouldn’t have to struggle to stand up from the sofa, right?
Movement 2: Step (Lunge, Walk, and Run)
Though walking and running can be implemented into the “step” movement, achieving your full range of motion often requires a greater focus on “lunging”. A lunge is a single-leg exercise that focuses on moving one leg forward as the other leg stays stationary. In earlier times, we might have used lunging to throw spears when hunting. Now, we use it as a dynamic exercise to help us with a range of different types of movements, including ascending stairs or stepping into an automobile with a high undercarriage. Lunging can help you to find and improve your balance, promote core strength, and achieve a greater sense of stability in yourself.
Movement 3: Push
Pushing exercises require you to push external weight away from the body, or push your body away from the ground – like in a push up. We use pushing almost every day, from opening doors, to pushing yourself away from a bed when you get up in the morning. There are two primary forms of pushing:
- Vertical pushing – like a shoulder press when you lift a kettlebell or child overhead
- Horizontal pushing – like pushing a door – moving something away from you horizontally.
While vertical pushing works on your shoulder muscles and the triceps, horizontal pushing focuses on the backs of the arms and the chest.
Movement 4: Pull
Pulling motions are the opposite of pushing motions. They’re about pulling weight towards your body, or pulling your weight towards an object – like you would with a pullup. You might pull yourself up out of a chair, or onto a surface when you’re climbing something. Just like a push, your pulls can be vertical, or horizontal. A vertical pull could be a pull-up, a classic exercise that strengthens the shoulders, back, and biceps, while a horizontal pull could be a kettlebell row.
Movement 5: Twist (Rotate)
Every movement we have listed for you so far take place either in a forward plane, or a side plane, otherwise known as “sagittal and frontal” movements. However, twisting motions are often far more functional. If you think about most of the things you do daily, from reaching across your body to grab the television remote, to throwing a ball in a game, there is some amount of twisting involved. Most of the exercises done at a gym have no twisting component to help build on this natural movement. Examples of rotational exercises include horizontal medicine ball throws or swinging a sledge hammer.
Movement 6: Bend (Hinge)
Finally, the last movement is the bend pattern, where you move your torso down and forwards by hinging the hips. This movement is also incredibly common in our daily lives. We use it to pick our children up, or lift a briefcase for work. Of all the movements given, however, the bending movement is frequently considered to be the most dangerous because many of us experience lower back pain at some point in our lives and have not strengthened our core muscles. Bearing the brunt of your weight on your glutes, hips, and legs is essential in a bent position, and learning how to avoid rounding your back can prevent significant injury in the long-term.
The Value of your 6 Movements
With the right focus on the six essential movements that are necessary for all human beings, you can achieve a strong foundation for long-term health and happiness, regardless of your fitness level or age. From bodyweight and kettlebell strength trainings that teach you how to bend, twist, pull, and push all at the same time, to rowing skills that make use of your full range of motion, you can get started on your 6 movements today.
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