Rewire your approach to strength training – to focus on the essential movement patterns – for more efficient workouts, reduced risk of injury, and a body primed for performance.

Words: Stephen Hoyles

Training movements makes your overall training time decrease, but your volume and intensity increase.

By taking an overarching view of physiology and how the body moves, you can put together more efficient and effective training programme templates.

Rather than focus on say, a bicep exercise, you would look at upper-body pulling variations where you’ll train your back, your shoulders and your biceps in one movement.

You can still do accessory work such as curls, but these fit in around the compound movements.

To begin with, your training programme needs to contain each of these movements in order to be truly balanced. This allows you to maintain a training intensity without over-relying on single movements or muscles, which potentially increases injury risk.

Now you have an idea of movements and exercises, you can look at manipulating load (weight), volume (sets and reps) and intensity (rest periods) to bring about different results.

You can do that within a single week by alternating heavy days with lighter days, or periodise it into blocks, such as a strength block where you’d only lift heavy, or a hypertrophy block where you’d increase volume.

It’s a training approach designed to be as versatile as possible.

THE 7 HUMAN MOVEMENTS

1. Squat
Exercises: bodyweight squat, goblet squat, back/front squat

2. Lunge
Exercises: standard lunge, step-up, reverse lunge, split squat

3. Push
Exercises: press-up, bench press, shoulder press

4. Pull
Exercises: bent-over row, high pull, pull-up, deadlift

5. Hinge
Exercises: kettlebell swing, deadlift

6. Rotation
Exercises: Russian twist, barbell rotations, medicine ball rotations

7. Gait
Exercises: walking, running, sprinting

THE TRAINING PLAN

Across this two-week workout you’ll perform each of the movements your body is capable of. The plan is to use a variety of different weights, sets and rep ranges.

You’ll also be performing cardio work to keep your engine going and ensure a high calorie burn.

Each workout has a focus, such as strength, conditioning or volume, and you’ll only be using a maximum of three items of kit per session.

The 2 Week Functional Movement Training Plan | Men's Fitness UK

WEEK 1

DAY 1: Barbell Strength

1. Front Squat

  • 6-8 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

2. Bent-Over Row

  • 6-8 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

3. Romanian Deadlift

  • 6-8 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

4. Chest Press

  • 6-8 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

DAY 2: Conditioning

1. Rower Sprints

  • 20 x 100m / 15 secs rest between efforts

2. Burpees

  • 100 as fast as possible

3. Russian Twist

  • 20 reps / 4 sets / 45 secs rest

4. Swiss Ball Roll-Out

  • 10 reps / 2 sets / 45 secs rest

DAY 3: High-Volume Resistance Training

1. Jumping Pull-Up

  • 10 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest

2. Kettlebell Swing

  • 25 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest

3. Single-Arm KB High Pull

  • 15 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest

4. Hand-Elevated Press-Up

  • 15 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest

5. Hanging Leg Raise

  • 10 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest

DAY 4: High-Volume Strength Training

 1. Dumbbell Squat

  • 12 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest

2. Single-Arm Row

  • 12 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest

3. Incline DB Chest Press

  • 12 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest

4. Bulgarian Split Squat

  • 12 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest

5. Calf Raise

  • 25 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest

The 2 Week Functional Movement Training Plan | Men's Fitness UK

WEEK 2

DAY 1: Whole-Body Conditioning

 1. Treadmill Sprints

  • 15 secs sprint / 15 sets / 45 secs recovery jog

2a. KB swing

  • 20 reps / superset

2b. Press-up

  • 10 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest

3. Jump Squat

  • 20 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest

4. Row

  • 1,000m sprint as fast as possible

DAY 2: Strength

 1. Deadlift

  • 6 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

2. Chest Press

  • 6 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

3. Slow-Tempo Pull-Up

  • 6 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

4. BB Lunge

  • 6 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

5. BB Upright Row

  • 6 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest

DAY 3: High-Volume Resistance Training

 1. DB Thruster

  • 10 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest

2. Feet-Elevated Press-Up

  • 10 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest

3. Bicep Curl

  • 10 reps / 3 sets / 60 secs rest

4. BB Shoulder Press

  • 10 reps / 2 sets / 60 secs rest

5. Burpees

  • 10 reps / 1 sets / 60 secs rest

6. Feet-Elevated Press-Up

  • 10 reps / 2 sets / 60 secs rest

7. Bicep Curl

  • 10 reps / 3 sets / 60 secs rest

8. BB Shoulder Press

  • 10 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest

9. Burpees

  • 10 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest

DAY 4: Bodyweight HIIT
(5 rounds / 2 mins rest between rounds)

 1. Run 2.4km

2a. Jump Squat

  • 30 secs on / 30 secs off

2b. Burpees

  • 30 secs on / 30 secs off

2c. Swiss Ball Dorsal Raise

  • 30 secs on / 30 secs off

2d. Plank

  • 30 secs on / 30 secs off

2e. Press-Up

  • 30 secs on / 30 secs off