Get BOSS at the Basics First!

Saturday, April 6, 2019 - 22:40

Each year, we see some new exercise craze, a piece of cool new equipment or a revolutionary training program boasting amazing results become present within the fitness industry. While generally most of these are purely money-making gimmicks or online blanket programs, there are usually a small group in the population that achieve results and lead to naive beginner to intermediate level exercises to buy and believe that this too will finally give them the results they have been chasing.

Online exercise programs or cool fad looking pieces of equipment that boast will get you strong or lean are absolutely pointless if you cannot even master the basics and move well.  Over my 14 years in the industry I can tell you, most people move poorly and fail to understand the importance of getting good at the basics first, nor understand the value in a coach provides movement assessment and individualised programming/coaching.

What are the basics you ask? The common basics you may know of are; squat, hinge, lunge, press, pull, rotation and bending.  There are in fact 12 fundamental movement patterns and if you have been training at GW long enough you know that we pride ourselves on this within our assessing and programming structure.


Hip Hinge

Hip Dominant

Knee Dominant

Vertical Push

Vertical Pull

Horizontal Push

Horizontal Pull

Rotational and Diagonal




Anti-Lateral Flexion

Due to the way we live our lives these days, our habits mean that we generally don’t move as well as the human body is designed to, and we have as a result developed some poor biomechanical habits and tendencies which over time can lead to various chronic and acute level injuries. Many people can’t even perform some of the basics yet are sky rocketing ahead with advanced exercises because they think this is the best way to achieve results in a short period of time. Let’s be honest here, training to get good and strong at the basics takes time and for most, its considered “boring”. We have become so accustomed to large amounts of variety and option in our life that we apply the same need to exercise, otherwise, you guessed it, we lose motivation, stop hitting the gym and become sedentary due to lac of stimulus from our training program.

What I have learnt over the years is that training doesn’t need to be fancy, I do agree that one must find enjoyment in their exercise regime, but long term the primary focus and achievement with training programs should be to restore movement and fix any biomechanical weaknesses specific to the individual and progress once the foundation is strong.

A good strength coach will be able to keep you engaged at working the basics, and it starts with education and mindset surrounding your training.  Let’s say your goal is to deadlift double body weight, but on assessment you can’t even perform hip hinge patterning without compensating and loading through your lower back, or you want to achieve a muscle up but you can’t even master strict vertical pulling such as a chin up yet and have poor shoulder mobility on assessment, alternatively, you want to start learning to Snatch but can’t even perform an overhead squat because on assessment you present with poor upper back and as well as limited ankle mobility. Everything has a sequence and you must EARN THE RIGHT to progress in your training.

The basics have a place, once you understand that place and understand their value, I guarantee you, your perception towards them will change from viewing them as boring to an extremely important stepping stone in order to excel with your health and fitness goals. Training in the gym isn’t a sprint, it should be life long, so respect the basics, understand how your body currently moves and work on getting BOSS at the basics!! You will be vastly surprised what you can start to do once these patterns become efficient and strong!