Body Expert advice

Top 5 Basic Exercises Your Workout Needs

Leandi Van Zyl

Lead - Sport Science / Strength & Conditioning Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital

3 min read

For a holistic approach towards your training programme there is the need for specific general movements’ patterns to be included to make it efficient.

Hip Dominant Exercises

These exercises are usually neglected due to its technical difficulty. A hip dominant exercises originates from the hip. A lot of people do not have the mobility in their hips or stability in their lower back to perform such exercises. This makes it a crucial movement pattern to add to your workout. It is important to focus on the movement first and then progress towards adding weights. Examples include hip thrust, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and good mornings.

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Knee Dominant Exercises

It is important to realize that the movement of this exercise comes from the knee and not the hips. The most basic of these is a squat. It was previously believed that the knee should not cross the toe; however this limits the range of motion of the movement. A better way to look at squats is by comparing the angle of the shin to the angle of the torso - these angles should always be parallel. Other knee dominant exercises include lunges, single leg squats and Bulgarian split squats.


Upper body Pushing Exercises

Here, the most common exercise is a push-up. This movement can take place in two directions - vertical and horizontal. An example of a vertical push is a shoulder press and a horizontal push is bench press.


Upper Body Pulling Exercises

Often neglected, upper body pulling exercises are important to keep appropriate muscle balance of the upper body. A lot of programmes only focus on pushing exercises and can lead to the anterior (front) muscles getting tight and causing other dysfunctions in the upper back. Like pushing exercises, pulling can be divided into vertical and horizontal. An example of a vertical pulling exercise is a pull-up and a horizontal pulling is a cable row exercise.


Core Exercises

Lastly, it is important to add core exercises into every programme. The core muscles not only consists of the ‘six pack muscles’ but also includes muscles from the torso, back and hips. The core translates force from the lower body to the upper body and is important in all our daily activities. Core exercises should include rotation, anti-rotation, strength and stability exercises.

Adding these 5 exercises into your programme will allow your full body to move better. Always remember to work on the movement first and then progressively load it. For every knee dominant exercise add a hip dominant exercise and for every upper body pushing exercise add an upper body pulling exercise and round it off by adding a core exercise.

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