Movements Over Muscles


  • Humans have over 650 muscles and 8 primal movements.
  • Every exercise can be categorized into one of these movements.
  • Understanding the 8 primal movements allows you to understand thousands of exercises and what muscles they train.
  • Movements train more muscles and are more functional.
  • Bodybuilding is not our priority; we like it, we incorporate it, but it's just not ideal for most people.

Primal Movements

The human body has over 650 muscles and 8 primal movements.

  1. SQUAT - e.g. Goblet squats, front squats, single leg squats, etc.
  2. BEND/HINGE - e.g. Deadlifts, kettlebell swings, single leg deadlifts, etc.
  3. BALANCE/SINGLE LEG - e.g. Split squats, single leg deadlifts, step ups, lateral lunges, etc.
  4. PULL/GRIP - e.g. Pull ups, bent over rows, seated rows, etc.
  5. PUSH - e.g. Overhead press, landmine press, bench press, push ups, etc.
  6. BOUNCE/JUMP - e.g. Olympic lifts, box jumps, jumping, hopping, etc.
  7. ROTATE/RESIST - e.g. Throwing, medicine ball side throws, chops and lifts, core, etc.
  8. TRAVEL/LOCOMOTION - e.g. Carries, animal movements, sprinting, walking, etc.

Every exercise can be categorized into one of these movements. Understanding these 8 movements allows you to understand thousands of exercises and what muscles they train. We will cover movements extensively as they are the foundation of exercise.

Benefits of Training Movements

  • Train more muscles at once
  • More functional (how you use it in daily life)
  • More athletic (how you use it in sports)
  • Train with less frequency
  • Easily substitute exercises with the same or similar benefits
  • Easier to assess movements and correct dysfunctions
  • Anatomy is learned by movements (called actions)

Our workouts are designed around training movements rather than training muscles. Movements involve multiple muscle groups rather than isolating and concentrating on individual muscles. Movements are also more functional in that they are more reflective of how you move in your everyday life.

Functionality of Movements

Consider a squat versus a leg press. A squat is a movement you perform daily when you sit down or stand up and involves nearly every muscle in your body. A leg press has you lying down or sitting while you push with your legs, isolating a smaller amount of hip and lower body muscles. From a functional stand point, when do you lie down and press with your legs? Don’t mistake this as us saying a leg press doesn’t have a useful purpose; we certainly enjoy them, but a squat is considerably more beneficial overall.

Just like practicing to dribble a ball with their hands is not useful for soccer players, sitting down on a machine to train a small number of muscles is not effective for anything other than looking pretty, which we will still accomplish by training movements.

Should You Be Bodybuilding?

You may hear people speak about leg day, chest day, back and biceps day, etc. These were made popular by the sport of bodybuilding. However, it’s not as effective to train like a bodybuilder if you’re not a bodybuilder. We like bodybuilding, it's just not ideal for most people.

Bodybuilding is still incorporated into our workouts, it’s just not a priority. We train our people to be functional for sports and daily life and because athletic movement is not a priority for the sport of bodybuilding, bodybuilders don’t need to train for it.

The other reason we don’t train like bodybuilders is because the time and commitment required. Props to bodybuilders because they have to be some of the most dedicated athletes in any sport. Without getting side-tracked, our type of training can achieve results in as little as 2 days a week vs. the 6 days a week for bodybuilding (for many, it’s 7 days a week). Most people don’t have this many days to train so too much time passes between training body parts to optimize their development.

Later lessons will cover more about bodybuilding so you can decide if you want to take part in it.

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