Movement vs. Muscle (with video)

Hey everyone!  Hope Thanksgiving went well for all, with plenty of food, time with family, and safe travels!!

I know I had my fair share of food over the extended weekend…and didn’t let it bother me!  Why?  Because I knew come Monday I’d be right back at it, hitting the gym with weights and some biking, and eating a lot cleaner than the last few days.


This isn’t the topic for today, but a good point none-the-less.  Holiday parties, family get-together – they all happen.  And you can plan for them! You don’t have to feel guilty about feasting…if you stick to your guns before and after the festivities.

Keep up with your training and clean eating habits right up to any big event (that includes food), and then, get right back on track the next day! A good holiday smattering of turkey and trimmings will actually help keep you sane while improving your health and fitness this time of year.

Ok. Enough of the tangent. Let’s talk about movement.

Movement should be our emphasis when hitting the gym regardless of what type of exercise we’re performing.  This is especially true with strength training.  Quality, compound movements will give us more ‘bang for our buck’ than any isolation exercise straight from the current bodybuilding mags.

Basic movements include, but are not limited to:

  • Squats – think getting up out of a chair
  • Lunges – think exaggerated walking, running, or climbing stairs
  • Pushing – think pushing yourself away from the dinner table:)
  • Pulling – think playing tug-o-war or climbing a ladder

All of these activities have carry over into everyday life.  You may not play tug-o-war often, but our pulling muscles (back, biceps, shoulders) are at work daily, and developing balance throughout the body’s muscular system will keep up strong, upright, and resilient to injury.

Examples of exercises for these basic movements include:

  • Squats – box squats, bw squats, jumping
  • Lunges – single leg movements, forward/reverse lunge, step ups
  • Pushing – push ups (various), over head pressing (military press)
  • Pulling – inverted rows (various), pull ups (various)

This is just a brief list to cover some basic moves you can do almost anywhere with little equipment.  Bodyweight exercises are a tremendous way to develop strength as well as balance and coordination.  Anyone, from beginner to advanced trainees, can find room in their program for bodyweight exercises.

Performing movements with our bodies help develop our muscles as a single unit, which is quite “functional” should you choose to use the term.  These variations work the whole body, including the ever-important core muscles that help stabilize our spines and transfer energy from the lower to upper extremities.

I’m working to get some footage up on YouTube…I’ll do the best I can.

Try performing a bodyweight circuit next time you hit the gym.  It’s a time-efficient way to work the whole body, burn calories, and rev up your metabolism.  After a good warm up, perform the following sequence:

  1. 10 squats
  2. 10 push ups
  3. 10 inverted rows
  4. 20 second plank
  5. rest 30-90 seconds, repeat 2-5 more times

A circuit can be made up of any exercises you choose, just try to create balance with upper and lower body exercises, as well as pushing/pulling movements.  You can challenge yourself by adding reps, adding rounds, or decreasing your rest periods.

For a real challenge, set your watch or a timer for 15-20 minutes, and perform as many rounds of the circuit as possible.  If you’re swearing my name at the end, good.  That means you’re working hard!  (if not, that’s ok too. I’m not trying to torture anyone)

Best of luck in your training.  Even though we’re all busy with the holidays and all that come with them – GET AFTER IT!!

No excuses.


“live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else”

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