In weight training there are generally two opposing schools of thought on how one should approach their programming. Some people believe the best thing to do is to target specific muscle groups while others focus on movements patterns. While both methods have their uses I intend to go over why I feel basing your training around movement patterns is superior.
What Is The Difference?
When you approach your training by dividing your sessions up into body parts, like most body builders do, you will generally pick a body part and only work on that for the day. A good example of this would be.
- Monday- Chest Day
- Tuesday- Back
- Wednesday- Shoulders
- Thursday- Arms
- Friday- Legs
These types of training sessions will generally consist of a couple of compound exercises and quite a few isolation exercises. If you're a body builder this will be very useful in getting your proportions just right but will not be as effective as training the lifts to build true strength for a strength sport such as powerlifting or weightlifting.
When you base your training on movements however you pick a specific lift and that is what you work on for that training session. An example of this type of training would be.
- Monday- Squat Max Effort
- Tuesday- Press/ Pull Max Effort
- Wednesday- Rest
- Thursday- Deadlift, Max Effort/ Squat Volume
- Friday- Press/ Pull Volume
Now I know many of you are probably thinking, "What does it really matter? Either way I'm doing the same thing". Yes and no. While both approaches do have you doing your major compound movements when done correctly the mind set is entirely different and when building strength that makes all the difference in the world.
When you do movement based training you are treating the body as one piece as opposed to several different parts forming a whole. Because of this instead of trying to build bigger quads or better hamstrings you focus simply on improving your squat. When you train this way you pick a lift and focus on that lift. Everything else you do that day is as an accessory to improving that lift. For example, when you have a chest day you will typically do some form of a horizontal press, a fly and maybe a few tricep exercises. When you instead have a "bench" day you do your main lift then examine what the weak points in that lift were. For example if you have trouble with the lock out then to know that your triceps are the limiting factor and can do something like floor presses or close grip bench presses in order to bring them up to the level of everything else. On the other hand if you're weak off the chest then you can do deep dumbbell presses or pause bench presses in order to improve that. When you train this way the total amount of weight you are able to move on each lift goes up, you get stronger and your body adapts to this new strength.
Instead of trying to reverse engineer the bodies of strong lifters, just look at how they became strong in the first place and train the same way. When you do this, not only will you look strong but you'll actually be strong too. You're also far less likely to develop muscular imbalances as well because you are moving your body the way you evolved to move it. Just a little heavier.
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Until next time, keep reaching for that inner Titan.