I have a short attention span. Like seriously, I cannot focus on something for much longer than...hey look, a rainbow! So traditional, set-in-stone workout programmes are no good for me because I'll get bored as hell and won't stick to it. The only time I managed to stick with something for a few months was at the beginning of this year when I was following a solid 5-3-1 Jim Wendler plan. Recently, thanks to Instagram inspiration from one of my fitness faves Jordan Syatt, I decided to use a very simple format to build a constantly varied full body workout which I can (almost) never get bored of. Wanna hear more? Great.
It's generally agreed that there are seven major movement patterns which the human body can perform, and one of them is gait (or walking and its other variations) so I'm going to leave that out for now and focus on the other six. These six movements each have an almost infinite number of variations so I can build my full body workout by just picking one of each and then deciding on set and rep ranges. This way I could literally do a different workout every single time if I wanted to! Here are the six movement patterns I'm building my workouts around...
Everyone loves a squat booty! Although having said that hip thrusters are supposed to be better, just ask the Glute Guy. The movement of squatting and standing is such a fundamental physical process, but somehow as we grow up we lose the capacity to perform it effectively. Just look at a toddler and the way they squat perfectly: feet flat, full range of motion, massive stability. If you have ever been to South or South East Asia you may have seen they don't lose that capacity as it's just part of their everyday movement. In the west we spend so much time sitting that our bodies have forgotten how to squat, so make sure you include this movement pattern in your full body workout. It will not only build a tasty set of pins, but will aid basic functions such as going from sitting to standing, or standing up with your kid on your shoulders.
Examples: barbell back squat, goblet squat, pistol squat
This is a movement pattern I have always neglected, I thought I did enough work on my lower body strength with squats and deadlifts, but I have recently started to include them. They hit the legs in a very different way to squats and hinge movements, and activate the core beautifully due to the less stable foot positioning. Lunges can aid balance development, and improve sports performance.
Examples: Dumbbell reverse lunge, walking lunge, step-up
Every gym brah's favourite of these movement patterns, because it includes anything that works the chest! Not only that, but any other pressing movement also. As well as for impressing chicks, pushing movement patterns can be incredibly useful for daily routines such as lifting yourself off the ground or placing an object in a cabinet overhead.
Examples: barbell bench press, overhead press, press up
The opposite movement of the push (obviously) and one of my personal favourites. Pulling ability comes in handy for climbing, wrestling, and starting boat engines. Also, pulling tends to build a strong back which will reduce the risk of back pain in later life...and a strong back looks awesome!
Examples: pull-up, barbell row, inverted row
Possibly my favourite on this list, because it includes the mightly deadlift. Alongside the squat, the hinge is one of the two strongest movement patterns our body can perform. Look at almost any elite lifter and their barbell squat and deadlift will be their two biggest numbers! This is because of the large muscles recruited in these patterns: quads, hamstrings, core, and back. Any time you pick something up off the ground your hinge training will be helping you. You can't have a full body workout without some kind of hingey goodness.
Examples: deadlift, kettlebell swing, cable pull-through
So many people miss this one! Twisting is a key movement we use all the time and yet in training so many people focus on linear movements like presses and squats, completely overlooking rotation. Training rotation properly as part of your full body workout will not only build a solid core and reduce risk of injury from everyday stresses (such as picking something up and twisting at the same time...such as a kid), but can also increase sport-specific power for almost anything from badminton to boxing.
Examples: Russian twist, resistance band anti-rotation hold, medicine ball woodchop
To build a workout I pick at least one movement from each of these six, and then choose set and rep ranges for each movement. With this format I can work with how I feel on a given day, and pick the variations and ranges I feel like doing. I can also fit in any new movement variations I come across during my reading, as they will always fit into one or more of these categories! Zero boredom.
Try it out and let me know how you get on!