I’m a big believer in keeping exercise simple because the rest of your life is already complicated. With that in mind, every time you step inside a gym, you should be doing one or more of these six moves.

These will keep you strong and better able to withstand whatever life throws at you.  There’s nothing sexy or difficult about these moves and you probably already know what they are, you may just be avoiding them.

However, no matter what your health and fitness goals are, you’ll need to include these into your routine because

  • They will make you strong and stronger is always better
  • They will give you all the results you seek

Yes, you can still do your curls in front of the mirror but only if you grunt.

1. Squats

I‘m not a fan of squats and generally avoid them like the plague. With long legs and a short torso I’ve always found them very difficult because the weight (me) has to move through a large range of motion.

However, I bite the bullet because squats are a fundamental human movement that we perform every day, and they were programmed into our brains while safely in our mother’s womb. Have you ever seen a child squat?

I rest my case


As we grow older and sit more and move less, we lose our ability to squat like a child. Rather than putting a barbell on your back and doing knee bends and complaining that squats hurt your knees, reawaken your squat ability with these exercises.

A. Bodyweight box squat

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRmghGLu2ZQ&w=560&h=315]

B.  Stability ball squat

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsPb5l5vEjY&w=560&h=315]


If you feel comfortable with those and can knock out reps of 12-15 reps with good form, step up to the goblet squat. It may be the only squat exercise you’ll ever need.

C. Goblet squat

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xwGFn-J_Q4&w=420&h=315]


2. Groundwork

There’s more to groundwork than just lying on the ground and crunching like a mad man. Groundwork is how we learned to move as infants and returning to the floor can help you reactivate neglected movement patterns.

The ground provides us with stability, balance and feedback and is an ideal place to start you warm up before you crush the weights.  Incorporating some of the following moves may get you some strange looks but trust me, you’ll be the coolest person in the gym.

A. Deadbug

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMjM-OuAPGc&w=560&h=315]

B. Rolling

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEtmbw9XdiI&w=560&h=315]

C. Rocking

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkuzB2NhhdQ&w=560&h=315]

D. Crawling

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPdTS4WIvZ8&w=560&h=315]


3. Pushing

This move has also been installed into our hardware. This is why we know how to push ourselves away from the floor  when lying face down or push our siblings out of the way when they’re bothering us, without even batting an eyelid.

push ups 2
Don’t mess with Chuck

Pushing is a movement we do every day without even realizing it, so it makes sense to strengthen this movement in the gym so we can remain injury free and push aside anything that this world throws at us.

Try these pushing variations rather than bench pressing for a change.

A. OS push up

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiYmnrz9m24&w=560&h=315]

B. One arm wall push up

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kxeXmAoohI&w=560&h=315]

C. Overhead med ball throw

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo29urO_CEw&w=560&h=315]


4. Pulling

When we were babies, we’d pull ourselves up on a stable object to a standing position in an attempt to walk while using the object for support. Did anybody teach us that? No, because this movement is already hotwired into our brains.

walking baby
I was just looking for an excuse to use a baby picture

Pulling something towards us is a natural movement that is often neglected in the gym. However, working those big strong muscles of the back will improve your posture, give you sexy shoulders and work also on the gun show.

Like you needed an excuse.

A. Cable single arm row

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raO8Q08Wems&w=560&h=315]

B. Tall kneeling lat pulldown

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7ItkZ69kJo&w=560&h=315]

C. Bent over row

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCg1YxMt3oY&w=560&h=315]


5. Hip hinging

Using the hips like they were intended to be used will make you a boss in the gym and your partner a happy person in the bedroom. Yes, the hips are that powerful. A lot of athletic movements on the sporting arena have hip hinging/hip extension as their base.

Ready to strike

Furthermore, incorrect use of the hips is one of the major causes of low back pain and hinging correctly will keep the back happy. It also helps you look great in your favorite pair of pants.


A. Hip hinge with stick

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZCndjir5jM&w=420&h=315]

B. Wall hip hinge with stick

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPZSDnV6CF0&w=560&h=315]

C. Dumbbell deadlift

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH0stBpF7ko&w=560&h=315]


6. Carries

Think about how many times per week you carry stuff around in your hands. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.  Twice, five, ten times?  Now doesn’t it make sense to train this ability in the gym to make your life easier?  I’d thought you’d see it my way. J

Carries will improve your grip, upper back, shoulders and leg strength. They are quite possibility the biggest bang for your buck exercise, providing numerous benefits.

But be warned, carries are simple but not easy.

A. Farmers carry

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkzk_RqlYig&w=560&h=315]

B. Suitcase carry

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD6u03iRsD8&w=560&h=315]

C. Overhead carry

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdJBppYdfdo&w=560&h=315]


Wrapping up

 Performing fundamental human movements will benefit you in and outside of the gym with increased strength and resilience. Exercise doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to be effective.

Need help with programming fundamental movements into your program? Contact me here with the subject line “programming.”






  1. Out of shape? Start here | Balance Guy Training

    […] 1. In the gym- Start with fundamental human movements . […]

  2. Variety is the spice of fitness | Balance Guy Training

    […] majority of your gym time should be spent performing fundamental human movements. These will get you strong and get you most of the results you desire. However, you also need a […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *