Reach, push and pull your way to full movement. Did you know that  all our daily movements essentially consist of one or more of the 8 fundamental movement patterns? We push or pull doors, reach for objects, squat down to pick things up. When one of these movements patterns falters through either muscle injury or muscle imbalance, then you are at risk of further injury.

So I’ve already mentioned a few of the functional movement patterns. Below is a list of all 8 functional movement patterns:

  1. Reach – whether it is for the computer mouse, something on a shelf, the washing detergent
  2. Push – pushing a door open or closed, moving a box or furniture
  3. Pull – moving objects towards you.
  4. Squat – picking things up off the ground
  5. Lunge – sometimes we will lunge rather than squatting to get to something on the ground
  6. Jump – to get down from something, as we throw or hit a ball, shooting hoops
  7. Gait – walking, it’s how the majority of us move around
  8. Lift – picking up the kids or objects off the ground or a desk

I’m sure as you go through that list and think about your daily activities you can see that you do most, if not all, each and every day. Given we perform these movement patterns daily it is recommended that if you are going to train then you utilise these movement patterns in your training for your base strength. If your fundamental movement patterns are weak then you are at greater risk of injuring yourself when performing more complex movements.

push ups

You can train the push movement through push ups. If you struggle with full push ups then, rather than dropping to the knees (which often results in back technique), you can always do them on an incline with your hands on a bench. If you find this difficult still then you can always start with a wall push up and gradually bring yourself down the wall.

The pull movement could be done through a seated row exercise, single arm dumbbell row or even chin ups.

chin ups

Squats can be done as a bodyweight exercise or loaded with a barbell (across the chest is better than behind the neck) or dumbbells. You can also increase the challenge of squats by using tools such as a DuraDisc or balance board so that you are working harder to stabilise yourself while performing the movement. You could also perform a split squat where you have one foot slightly in front of the other. Sometimes when doing a split squat you may find that it is easier with one foot forward than the other. This may be an indication that you have a torsion or twist through your pelvis which needs to be corrected.


Lunges may be performed as a static exercise, where you take up the lunge position and then perform the exercise or dynamically by stepping forward, sideways or backwards into the lunge. Again you can challenge the exercise by adding weight, a DuraDisc or even a trunk twist.

Jump training can be progressed by doing jumps on the spot, foward and backwards, sideways or even on diagonals. You can then challenge jump training further by jumping up onto a step or box and also down from a height.

Squats and box jumps