All of our movements fall into one of the following categories pull, push, squat, hinge, lunge, rotation, or gait. Every movement done both inside and outside the gym will fall into one of these categories, often times movements will fall into multiple categories. So we have to make sure that each movement is performed in the correct pattern so that we may improve and build.
Ever wonder why we train the squat pattern (other than for awesome PRs and Instagram videos)?? Well, you squat every time you sit down on the toilet, on the couch, on a chair, etc. If we train the squat pattern in the gym then when we go home we can begin to sit and stand with ease. Maybe every time you get up from the couch you need a little push off with your hands or need to use a hand rail when you sit to the toilet, well if we train the squat pattern over time you will find yourself needing less and less assistance when sitting/standing!
Have you laid down on the floor and found it difficult to get up or maybe found it challenging to put something up on a tall shelf? Perhaps you have struggled pulling yourself up and over something like a rock on a hike or pulling yourself up from the ground. Those actions fall into the push/pull pattern category. In the gym this can look like a lot of different movements burpees, push ups, presses, pull ups, etc. By training these two movement patterns we can avoid becoming a life alert commercial by being able to fall down and push or pull ourselves back up!
Have you ever dropped something on the floor and had an issue picking it back up or struggle to lift a child up? Training the hinge pattern will eliminate your need for worry when you do drop something on the floor or a child wants to be picked up because you will have no problem scooping them up. The most popular hinge movement in the gym is the deadlift which we can train in a variety of ways: sumo, conventional, barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, you name it! Training the hinge pattern is also a great way to help eliminate low back pain!!
Have you knelt down to floor and struggled to stand back up or maybe struggle going up/down a lot of stairs? If you train the lunge pattern then all of those troubles will go right out the door! The most popular lunge pattern movement is right there in the name, lunges! These are great for building that single leg strength and stability. But we can also train this pattern with step ups, split squats, and all the variations these movements offer. So fear not the mountain of stairs or needing help up from a kneeling position- train your lunge pattern and start to dominate those everyday movements!
Begin able to rotate through our midsection as well as our joints is probably a skill that most of us take for granted. Don’t you rotate to look behind you when you back up in your car? Again another everyday action broken down into a pattern that we can train in the gym through a lot of the skills already listed but also through practicing mobility. Working on making sure our joints move/rotate with ease and without pain as well as making sure our muscles have the strength and ability to stretch to enable us to rotate our limbs. So the next time you want to skip mobility think about how you could improve in/out of the gym if you spent an extra 5 minutes mobilizing.
Gait is another movement pattern that most of us likely take for granted- walking, running, skipping. Are you able to walk around a theme park without pain or chase your kids outside? We can train this pattern by simply starting with walking which will eventually lead to running. This practice paired with all of these other movement patterns will set you on a path to lead a life with less pain and more fun!
All that being said if you ever thought CrossFit was just about hitting PRs and posting cool videos on social media I hope this has showed you it’s more about training so that we can live everyday life a whole lot better!
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