Sunday, 20 September 2015

Creating your own "Movement Menu"

If you are a regular gym user, whether for the purpose of strength, aesthetics, or sports performance, you no doubt at some point get confused with all the do’s and don’ts, and the variety of different styles of training you can use, fancy new tools and whatever else may pop up in the media.

A lot of this can get simplified by taking programming out of your own hands by employing a coach, or by following a program written out in your favourite magazine or website.

But for those of you who enjoy being in charge of your own training, it is important to know two things:
1 – What your goal is
2 – How best to achieve that goal

Knowing your goal is hugely important to anyone who trains. Whether you want to deadlift 350kg, complete a 90 minute game of football without your lungs feeling like they’re going to explode, want to lose excess body fat to look better in a bikini, or simply try to stay healthy for longer, keeping that goal firmly in your sights is key.

Knowing how to get there is the tricky part. A lot of people know the destination, but there will often be forks in the road along the way where you don’t know whether to go left or right.

The majority of my work is done with strength athletes and sports people, and whether I work with them in a team setting, one-to-one, or through online coaching, my principles stay the same.

I’m a big believer in keeping things simple, doing the basics to a very high standard, and then building from there. If you don’t have a solid base of foundations, then you’ll never be able to build a high peak.

And from those principles I think it is important for athletes to always complete a comprehensive total body program that incorporates various different movements, to develop complete strength and power, whilst limiting the risk for injury.

So, without further ado, here is my personal Movement Menu:
-       Jumps – Box Jumps, Broad Jumps etc
-       Leg Push Movement – Squat, Front Squat, Leg Press etc.
-       Leg Pull Movement – Deadlift, Sled/Prowler Pull etc
-       Hinge Movement – RDL, Good Mornings, Kettlebell Swings etc
-       Upper Body Vertical Push – Overhead Press, Push Press, Jerk etc
-       Upper Body Horizontal Push – Bench Press, Floor Press etc
-       Upper Body Vertical Pull – Chins, Pull Ups, Lat Pulldowns etc
-       Upper Body Horizontal Pull – Bent Over Row, Seated Row, DB Rows etc
-       Stabilisation – Plank, Rollouts, Dragon Flags etc
-       Rotational – Russian Twist, Med Ball Rotational Throws, Pallof Press etc
-       Carries – Farmers Walks, Yoke, Overhead Walks etc
-       Uni-Lateral – Lunges, Bulgarian Split Squats, One Arm Presses & Pulls

Now obviously it is going to be pretty tough to fit all of these into a single session, and this isn’t my point. I try to include an exercise from each category into a weekly, or fortnightly program for my athletes. This can help to develop a better-rounded athlete, with strength front to back, and head to toe.

I haven’t included any direct speed, conditioning, or pre-hab/injury prevention work, as I think these come in separately in the whole program. I am purely talking weight room with this menu.

To decide what should be on your menu, have a look at your sport. Do a bit of a “needs analysis” to see if any of these things could be taken out, or if anything else needs to be added in.

From this needs analysis you can then decide how best to target the other areas such as speed; what distance is most important for you sport, or conditioning; work/rest ratios and intensities for your sport.

If you’re not training for sports performance, then break it down by what you want to achieve. If you’re body building, make sure you are adequately training each muscle group to develop total symmetry. If you are after fat loss, your menu may not be for movements, but will likely include resistance training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition as 3 of the biggest components to success.

Piecing this altogether will make for a very substantial, and complete program, allowing development of the entire body, and, if you’ve completed the needs analysis well, it will be specific to your sport and you will reap the benefits.

So go ahead, create your own menu and build a recipe for success.

Rob Nitman.

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