Well, if you’re like me, you’ve tried every workout program under the sun that promises massive muscles, strength gains beyond your wildest dreams, and ripped abs that will turn heads. Are you blindly following programs that tell you exactly what to do but not WHY you’re doing it? Well, I’m sure you’ve noticed that many programs are pure fluff and no substance. So what makes a strong training program work? First of all, complex movements are the best investment, meaning any movement that targets multiple muscle groups. Free weight and body weight exercises are the number one key to all of my strength programs, no machines! What are there no machines? If you have it. Machines don’t help train stabilizer muscles and won’t have as much of a full-body effect as free weights and complex movements. Now I’m not going to give you some random exercises and tell you that they are the holy grail of movement. What I will share with you is the knowledge that I have gained in the trenches during more than 12 years of training. I believe that the following 6 Pillars of Movement are the minimum movement patterns that any reputable program should contain.


Squat movements are one of the best complex movements of all time. You don’t have to do barbell back squats to reap the benefits of the movement. You can squat using many different objects and charged positions. Example: Kettlebell Front Squats, Sandbag Zercher Squats, Dumbbell Overhead Squats, Bodyweight Lunges, etc. WOW! Wait a minute, lunge under the squat category. Yes, I consider any one-legged lunge or leg movement to fall under the category of squats and I believe single-legged training is superior in that it adds a whole different level of stability. If you don’t squat, you’re missing out on an amazing strength-building exercise.


Hinges what the heck is hinges. DEAD PORT! Why didn’t I say it in the first place? Well, to be honest, the deadlift scares people, so I call it a hinge. Deadlift/hinge movements are the kings of building strong bodies. Hinge movements target pretty much the entire body, but really target the hip area, buttocks, and back. Any movement that causes you to rotate your hips to lift the weight or move your body to lift something falls into this category. Example: Kettlebell swings, sandbag shoulders, kettlebell snatches, deadlifts, and any movement that requires you to pick up an object. So just because you can’t deadlift 1000lbs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice the move. Also, hinge movements can be horizontal, like knee bends or suspension trainer V-bends.


Pushing and pressing movements will build a strong chest, triceps, back, and core. Any movement that has you push or push away from the body, especially overhead, is great for developing your upper body. Example: Push ups, Kettlebell Military Press, Dips, Pushing a Sled, etc.


Pulling and rowing movements will build a strong back, biceps, shoulders and core and are also key to building a strong upper body. Example: Pull Ups, Renegade Rows, Kettlebell Cleans, Kettlebell Snatches, Sandbag Shouldering, etc. the upper part of the body, where hinge movements are generally directed to the entire body.


It amazes me how many people don’t train for rotation. Rotation training will help prevent so many injuries and build a strong lower back and abs. There are many exercises that make you resist rotation, like Renegade Rows, but you still need to train for active rotation. To train with active rotation you need to use a full range of rotational motion. But the key in rotational movements is to use your upper body and hips to rotate while keeping your spine neutral. Example: medicine ball wall hit, twist planks, baseball and golf swing with mallet, wood chopping, etc. I think this is the biggest move that is missing from most shows. Adding rotational exercises will help loosen up the body and help your mobility and stability soar.


Lateral exercises are another element that I think a lot of people are missing from their training programs. Moving laterally helps develop better mobility, agility, and speed. When you train for lateral movements, you are ultimately improving the ability to create and tolerate angles that will allow you to redirect your body in and out of a variety of directions that will lead to better performance in any sport or athletic movement. Example: plyometric side hurdles, side lunges, side raises, etc.

So if you want more agility, mobility, power, and strength, apply the 6 Pillars of Strength to any program and see how they stack up. Good luck, God bless and go LIFT!

Female Trainer

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