beginner-program/007/patterns

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C. EXERCISES


C1. Patterns

Basic barbell and basic bodyweight movements tend to end up straight and linear. (Read this series here if you want to know why.)

Looking at the body as a system of joints and assuming linearish straightish movement, two things can happen: joints can open (peel apart), or joints can close (pancake together).

This is a super simplification of something crazy complex, but it works (for now).

When you look at “exercises” through this model, you can pick out patterns within different exercises.

An example: the bench press and the push-up.

  • Starting position: stabilize an object (bar, floor) at arm’s length with a concentric force.
  • Middle position: stabilize the object close(er) to your body with an eccentric force as elbows and shoulders pancake.
  • Finish position: stabilize the object at arm’s length after peeling open elbows and shoulders with concentric force.

Even though the push-up and the bench press are different exercises, they share the same pattern.

The common movement patterns within the basic barbell and bodyweight strength training world ~

(FYI- Eccentric is the fancy word for lowering [negative] phase of an exercise. Concentric is the fancy word for overcoming [positive] phase of an exercise.)

The squat, which is best defined as moving the hips in a vertical line. The squat pancakes on the eccentric

Lower leg into foot
Thigh into lower leg
Torso into thigh

and peels on the concentric.

Think: hips up and down. 

The hinge, which is best defined as moving the hips back and forth horizontally. The hinge pancakes on the eccentric

Torso into thigh

and peels on the concentric.

Think: hips back and forth.

Before I get into the upper body patterns, I want to clear up the difference between the squat and the hinge (in my world) because a lot of people get confused.

If you assume a standard standing position, look at the hips.

In a squat, the hips go down to the ground in as straight of a line as possible, which forces a more compact ankle joint and a more forward knee position. The torso will be more vertical.

In a hinge, the hips go in a straight line back behind you, which creates a more open ankle joint and a more vertical lower leg position. The torso will be more horizontal.

The push, which is best defined as using your arms to move an object further away from you (or moving yourself further away from an object). The push peels on the concentric

Upper arm away from torso
Forearm away from upper arm
Shoulder-blades away from each other

and pancakes on the eccentric.

Think: moving something away from your body with your arms. 


The pull, which is best defined as using your arms to hug an object closer to you (or moving yourself closer to an object). The pull pancakes on the concentricUpper arm into torsoForearm into upper arm
Shoulder-blades into each otherand peels on the eccentric.Think: hugging something into your body with your arms.

The hollowbody, which is a pancake position. When on your back, the lower and upper spine curl up towards the sky, making your spine have a “C” curve shape to it.

Think: curling into a fetal position.

The archbody, which is a peel position. When on your your stomach, the lower and upper spine curl up towards the sky, making your spine have a “C” curve shape to it.

Think: Leo on the Titanic, “I'm the king of the world!”

008 →

Trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of?

Maybe you’re a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

(These weekly columns don’t get posted to the site.)

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