The squat, the hinge, the press, and the pull are all patterns of movement. They aren’t specific exercises. The specific exercise you choose to do within a pattern depends on your goal(s).
We’re going to hop back to the funnel analogy.
Before, we said water represents a training load. But now imagine the water to have a color.
Color is the muscular stress blueprint for an exercise.
Say you’re talking about the pushing pattern.
The overhead press is just red. It hits primarily the shoulders and triceps. There’s a little chest, but not much.
The incline bench press is red-orange in color. It hits the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
A flat bench press would be orange-red. Very similar to the incline bench press, but the angle makes it more of a lower chest exercise.
A decline bench press would be orange. It hits the chest and triceps, mostly.
They all hit the general upper body pushing musculature, so they’re all similar colors.
A back squat is blue. No relation to the upper body pressing muscles, so it’s a completely different color. A front squat is powder blue. Similar color to the back squat, but not exactly the same.
(I’m just making these colors up. They won’t apply later. You aren’t being tested.)
The typical muscular breakdown between the patterns:
- Squatting = quadriceps, glutes, ankle flexion, hip-extension and knee-extension based things.
- Hinging = hamstrings, glutes, ankle extension, hip-extension and knee-flexion based things.
- Pushing = chest, front shoulders, triceps, shoulder-flexion and elbow-extension based things.
- Pulling = back, rear shoulders, biceps, shoulder-extension and elbow-flexion based things.
The separation between upper body pressing and upper body pulling is more easily understood (usually) because of the mainstream training idea of having “chest day” and “back day” or “press day” and “pull day.”
The lower body day isn’t as clear by mainstream standards. There’s usually just “leg day.” But there’s a difference between the squat pattern and the hinge pattern, just as there’s a difference between the chin-up and the bench press.