5 Movements To Include In a Total Body Workout

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A lot of people come to our personal training studio wanting advice on how to structure a training plan. Most people tend to pick up advice from friends or magazines with no real guidance on how all the pieces fit together.

One of the easiest ways to go about designing a resistance-training program is to think of body movements instead of just random exercises.

Here are 5 movements to incorporate into a well-balanced training program; if you incorporate all of them in a workout you will be training every major muscle on your body.



The squat is a great movement that works glutes, hamstrings, and quad muscles on your legs. It’s also a great core exercise when using extra weight. Due to the large amount of muscle being stimulated, it’s also great calorie burner and a very ‘metabolic’ exercise. Squatting is also a very functional movement which applies to our daily lives, so its one of the most important movements to incorporate into your training program.


‘Pushing’ Movements

Think of how you can include a pushing movement into your training program. Pushing movements will stimulate your chest muscles (pecs), triceps, and shoulders.

It can be a push up or a bench press for a ‘horizontal’ push; or it can be pressing a barbell or dumbbell over your head for a vertical push.


‘Pulling’ Movements

Pulling movements are exactly how they sound. Any motion that requires you to pull something towards yourself or pull yourself towards something (like a chin up) counts. Pulling movements will primarily stimulate muscles in your back (lats, rhomboids), biceps, and rear shoulders (deltoids)

Just like a pushing movement, you can have a horizontal pulling motion (like a rowing movement) and you can have a vertical pulling movement (like a chin up). Its important to balance out every pushing movement with a pulling movement- especially horizontal pulling / rowing.

In fact its not a bad idea to do MORE pulling to counteract poor posture that comes about from being in a seated position throughout the day.


Lunging Movments

A lunge is any sort of ‘single leg’ movement. Lunges are great as they work the same big muscle groups as a squat but require more stability and balance so will utilize a lot of the deeper stabilization muscles to perform the movement. Lunges have a great carry over to every day movements and athletic performance as well. Any time you run or walk you are on 1 leg for most of the time so its great to train for this and strengthen this movement pattern.


Plank Hold

A plank hold is a great core stability exercise and actually strengthens your core in a very ‘functional’ manner when compared to sit ups. Your ‘core’ muscles stabilize your lower back and prevent excess movement, especially when challenged by an external force.

Try and work up to a 2-minute hold multiple times.


Ben Longley has been a personal trainer for 10 years, and is the owner of

the Fit Stop, Personal Training St Kilda East, specializing in weight loss and general strength & conditioning for everyday people.

For more info about his services, go to: www.StKildaFitnessTrainer.com.au/service

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