Master these seven movement patterns and you’ll move better, minimise injury, and expand your workout repertoire.
Remember these movements: squat, lunge, push, pull, hinge, twist and walk/plank. You may not consciously realise it, but we use these functional movements daily as we go throughout the day, whether it’s kneeling to tie a shoelace, or pulling something off a shelf.
They may seem basic, but they’re now the movement patterns that trainers want you to master. “Since the early 2000s, sports scientists discovered that a lot of sports injuries are caused by poor movements. They identified these seven movement patterns, and believe that in the long run, if you don’t master these movements, serious injury could result,” says Yusuf Kay, fitness training manager at TFX, Funan.
Yusuf started learning about the movement patterns in 2009, and has been incorporating them into his regimes ever since. “Generally, everyone wants to move well because it affects their quality of life. And if you minimise injury, of course, you’ll have a better quality of life.”
So convinced is he, that Yusuf designed the Shape Fit Girl 2019 fitness challenge based on these seven movements. And boy, did the finalists have a ton of fun testing their limits.
To get a taster, try these exercises recommended by Yusuf. While you can do some of them with just your body weight (for instance, the basic squat and lunge), incorporating tools such as the resistance band, suspension trainer, Bulgarian bag, deadlift bar, kettlebell, rope and medicine ball makes your workout multi-level, where you can adjust it to different levels of intensity, and, let’s face it: much more exciting.
“When it comes to movement training, there’s a lot more scope for variation. You can use different equipment, or change the handprint, footprint, or base of support. It’s more than just upping the weights,” explains Yusuf.
Another advantage to doing these jazzed-up movements? You will train your body to move in different planes and angles, which means activating the idle muscles, and improving your body alignment and proprioception, strengthening you through and through. When that happens, injuries don’t stand a chance.
Here, Shape Fit Girl 2019 Ng Hui Ru demonstrates.
Photos: Darren Chang
Art direction: Ray Ticsay
Styling: Dolphin Yeo
Hair: Eileen Koh, Hair Philosophy, using Kevin Murphy
Makeup: Keith Bryant Lee, using Laura Mercier
Location: TFX Funan
1. PLANK / Resisted Standing Plank
- Strengthens the core and the foundations for other movements.
- Resistance band adds intensity to the plank in various angles.
Secure one end of the resistance band on a stable fixture at chest height. Hold the other end of the resistance band and stand side-facing with feet shoulder-width apart.
Keep your arms straight and hands together, holding the resistance band while maintaining tension. Keep the spine neutral and tall.
Resist the tension and avoid rotating your body by keeping your hands aligned with the centre of your body. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
- Keep the spine neutral and tall.
- Hold the band farther away from the body.
- Stand farther away from the fixture.
2. SQUAT / TRX Squat
- Works multiple joints and muscles. This is a common movement that is comparable to sitting down and standing up.
- The TRX Suspension Trainer offers complexity while providing some stability to the movement.
[A] Stand facing the TRX Suspension Trainer while holding the handles, with the straps at mid-length. With handles at chest height, walk backwards till there is tension in the straps.[B] Drop to a squat position while maintaining a neutral spine. Stand back up to complete one rep. Do 15 reps.
- Keep a soft grip and only use the handles when needed to stabilise yourself.
- Keep your movements slow and controlled throughout.
- Lift your heels when you stand.
- Do squat jumps.
3. LUNGE / Bulgarian Bag Lunge to Swing
- Conditions the muscles to perform a variety of footwork.
- The Bulgarian bag adds load to the spine and challenges the core. Start with a minimum of 5kg.
[A] Hold the handles in standing position. Lunge forward with the right foot and swing the bag to your right at the same time.[B] As you step your right foot back to starting position, swing the bag to the front at chest height.
Repeat move on other side to complete one rep. Do 20 reps.
- Keep your spine neutral and brace your core throughout the movement.
4. HINGE / Deadlift
- Strengthens the posterior chain (back muscles), and prevents back injuries.
- The Eleiko Oppen Deadlift Bar allows for a perfect alignment for deadlifts. This bar is exclusively available at TFX.
[A] Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, in line with the bar. With your knees slightly bent, bend forward from your hips while maintaining a neutral spine. Grab the handles and start to brace your core.
[B] Using the hips as the main movement driver, lift the bar up to standing position. In that position, hold the bar for a second with locked hips and knees.
Lower the bar back to the floor by bending the hips and the knees. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps.
- Keep the spine neutral and use your hips to drive the movement.
5. PUSH / Kettlebell Single Arm Overhead Press
- Trains the body to push in optimum position without compromising on alignment.
- The kettlebell adds load that challenges the core and improves shoulder stability.
[A] Hold the kettlebell at a single arm rack position.
[B] Brace your core, engage your glutes and push the kettlebell above your head. Lock the elbow and ensure that the kettlebell is aligned directly above the shoulder.
Lower the kettlebell back to single arm rack position. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps on each side.
- Keep the spine neutral and align the kettlebell directly above the shoulder when pressing.
- Maintain a neutral clean grip throughout.
6. PULL / Rope Pull
- Builds strong and stable shoulders, and prevents shoulder injuries.
- Rope pulling simulates a climbing workout in a safe environment.
Coil the rope around a fixed pole or secure one end of the rope on a sled. Lay the rest of the rope straight down on the floor.
Sit at the opposite end of the rope, facing the pole/sled. With both knees slightly bent, lean back slightly with a neutral spine and engage your core.
Pull the rope with alternate hands for 30 to 60 seconds without resting.
- Maintain a neutral spine and neck position throughout the movement.
7. TWIST / Medicine Ball Rainbow Slam
- Trains the body to maintain proper alignment throughout rotation movements.
- The medicine ball is compact and allows for a wide variety of movements.
[A] Stand with the medicine ball on one side next to your feet. Turn towards the ball, bend down with a neutral spine and pick the ball up.
[B] Move the ball over your head, then down towards the opposite side as you slam it to the floor.
Pick the ball up and repeat the movements, slamming the ball from side to side. Do 10 to 15 reps.
- Maintain ankle, knee and hip alignment throughout the movement. Ensure that the rotation movements only come from the ankle and hips, not the knee and lower back.