When I first started working out, I used to think that I had to work all of my “problem” areas to get results where I wanted them. So I crunched away for a flatter tummy and bicep curled for nicer arms, lunged and squatted for nicer legs – completely ignoring the rest of my body and as a result slowly got nowhere.
Working out like a body builder (unless you’re a body builder) is a very inefficient way to train. If you think about it, it’s unnatural for your body to just move one muscle group at any one time.
When you lift, push, throw, run or jump you use your whole body. Training this way can lead to many injuries, posture issues and imbalance in your physique. Your body never just moves one muscle, so train smarter with functional movement exercises that move your body as a whole and strengthen all the little guys that move the bigger muscles.
How do you do this?
Well, you can start with functional movement patterns that move in all three planes of movement:
Most workouts just focus on sagittal movement, moving front to back (this involves your basic squat, lunge, bicep curls and crunches). Why? Because it’s something we do every day and it’s also very easy to teach. But moving in just one plane makes you prone to posture issues, inflexibility and injuries which is a big MNB no no. When planning your workouts, switch it up by adding side lunges, speed skaters, lateral shoulder raises, start jumps etc for frontal plane movement and add some twisting motions like Russian twists with a medicine ball or cable chops to move in the transverse plane. By moving more holistically your body will become stronger, you will be more symmetrical and reduce the risk of injury.
Here’s a list of go-to exercises if you get stuck:
So, next time you’re off to the gym or your local park for a workout, remember to train smarter and embrace the functional movement method. Pick some exercises from the table above and incorporate them in your workout to target all three planes of movement.