There are a number of things that when first stepping into the gym may seem daunting and you can get caught up in the excitement of being in a new environment, which is understandable. All you want to do is get in to the gym, pick up a few weights and start lifting like you've been doing it for years, although for some people this may be the case, for the majority, the best thing to do when undertaking this new journey in life is to ask for advice. Preferably this advice should come from someone such as a Personal Trainer or anyone who is a qualified professional in the fitness industry, which every gym has so don't be afraid to ask.
So, what are the things you should aim to be able to do when stepping into a gym, these movements are often overlooked by most gym goers but are essential not only to become a better lifter in the gym, but also is going to benefit you in your everyday life and help with performing tasks. These are great for any one no matter what age, gender or lifting experience that you may have.
In no particular order the 5 essential movements to learn when starting weight training are:
1. Squatting- A squat is defined as "to position yourself close to the ground, balancing on your feet with your legs bent under your body" (Cambridge University). Although this may seem obvious, there are a number of factors that play a role in the squat and being able to perform it the safest way possible, especially when you get to the stage of adding weight. Just like with all movements start with the most basic form and progress, before you begin to add weight, tempo and other forms of progressions.
2. Hinging- The most basic movement pattern that should be learnt when stepping into a gym, yeah it takes up the majority of the dead lift but is also crucial for every day activities when it comes to picking an object up off the ground. So what is Hinging? In particular a hip hinge, is the bending of the body at the hips whilst maintaining a straight back as you reach towards your toes and return back to the starting position of standing, to put it simply. There are a number of ways you could learn to do this but is a staple movement pattern when beginning any sort of training.
3. Push-Up- One of the most common mistakes I see people undertaking when stepping into the gym is that they head straight for the bench, and either grab a barbell or dumbbells and start moving the weight. The pinnacle for all gym goers should be to able to learn to control your own body weight, and this is why the push-up is so important and learning the correct technique before progressing on.
4. Pull-Up- This is another movement pattern that extends from the same reason learning to push-up is so critical, and that is to learn to pull your own body weight and being able to control the movement of your body. Way too many people get in the gym and think, for them to be able to lift their body weight they need to be able to lift their weight in the lat pull down machine, which don't get me wrong is a good variation on the body weight pull up, but the problem is they never progress, they get stuck doing machine movements and never progress to the real thing. There are a number of ways to progress to a full pull up that don't just involve the use of machines and are another movement that should be added to your weekly routine if it isn't already.
5. Loaded Carry- Last but not least we have the loaded or farmers carry, which involves the carrying of weight in your hands over a certain distance. This is not only working grip strength which helps for nearly all movements in the gym but also learning to stabilise your body and getting the most out of your core, which again would not only be used for this particular movement but nearly every exercise you do in the gym.
There are a number of ways in which you can go about learning how to perform these movement patterns correctly, when it comes to progressions or even regressions always get advice from a qualified fitness professional which would be in your gym or speak to us at Pinnacle for more information.
Written by Ethan Clark.