Let’s Get Back to Basics – Big Compound Movements to Get Stronger, Feel Better and Move Better

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)

Back to Basics - Caveman

Our early ancestors had it rough.

Whether it was hunting for food, building a shelter or enduring extreme changes in temperature, they had to be aware of the effects on their energy levels.  They also were strong as hell.  Since we no longer have the daily mandatory physical demands that were once necessary for survival, physical hard work has become scarce in our lives and energy expenditure is at an all-time low.

Enter “fitness training”, the need for exercise due to our decreased physical workload over the years. This phenomenon started to take place approximately 40 years ago with the introduction of various trends we refer to as cardio training. The 70’s introduced us to jogging (which introduced us to physical therapy, but that’s another topic).  Since then there have been an endless supply of fads, gizmos and gimmicks aimed at keeping our minds busy so we don’t actually realize how bored we are.  What’s next?

Back to Basics - Rat on Spin Wheel

The truth is most cardio machinery found in corporate or “box” gyms do not allow us to use the compound movements our bodies were designed for. They generally keep us in one plane of movement for as long as we can mentally stand it.  Treadmills, ellipticals, and bicycles flood most gyms and they keep us in the forward or “sagittal” plane. These pieces of equipment are very popular because for the most part they’re very easy to perform.

There’s just one problem with all these equipment. Aside from being extremely boring (well two problems), we do not move in just one direction. Statistics show that the world is not becoming more fit. Instead, obesity and sedentary lifestyle (being a coach potato) is at an all-time high.

Back to Basics - Coach Potato

Basically, we’re doing something wrong.  I believe that the reason for our declining health is that the folks who are supposed to help us get more fit prescribe exercises that:

  1. Are cool (fad of the month)
  2. Make you tired (not enough breaks)
  3. Make you sore (Wow! I couldn’t move this morning!!), and
  4. Are boring

Let’s look at these four more carefully:

Are Cool: This could be jogging, spinning or “Cross Fit”. Not that any one of these forms of exercise are bad in small doses, but if it’s the newest thing people have a tendency to overdo it making their training regimen one dimensional.

Make You Tired: Not allowing yourself enough rest between reps or sets will diminish your power output from set to set depriving your muscles from maximizing the amount of intensity at which you can work.  The end result generally is less strength and stability in your muscles and joints

Makes You Sore: If your trainer or your exercise program makes you sore after a couple weeks you’re not adapting to the movements and your trainer is doing a lousy job.

Boring: Seriously, who wants to ride the bike or the elliptical for an hour?  Perhaps this should be #1 on the list.

So Let’s Get Back to the Basics with big compound movements such as squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling and jumping, just like our ancestors.  I guarantee you’ll get stronger, feel better and move better and NOT get bored.

Also as a reminder, please feel free to join us for any of our Adult classes or contact us directly for private or semi-private training.