Workout of the Day

Can You Identify the Pattern?


Did you know that every movement can be broken down and identified with a handful of basic movement patterns? In the same way that we can identify and classify foods according to their food groups, we can identify and classify (and therefore better understand and manipulate) movements by their basic patterns.

Movement can be broken down into six basic patterns:

Squat - involves deep flexion of the knees and hips and generally a more upright torso

Hinge - involves flexion primarily at the hips

Push - involves pushing something away from the body or pushing the body away from something
Pull - involves pulling something closer to the body or pulling the body closer to something

Carry/gait - involves locomotion, in any number of directions and at varying speeds (everything from slow walk to fast sprint) with or without weight

Twist - involves rotation through the hips, midline, and/or shoulders

With those six basic patterns, you can categorize any movement you may encounter.

As you may suspect, not all movements fit neatly into one pattern. A squat snatch, for example: Is it a hinge? A squat? A push? In some sense, it is best defined by a combination of all three. In addition, these patterns are only one layer of understanding movement. A squat movement, for example, can be performed with both legs as in a back squat, or with only one leg, as in a lunge or a pistol. While both of these are, most generally, a squat pattern, the single leg movement will differ considerably from the bilateral movement.

We use these patterns to create some hand-holds for the complexity of human movement, and to identify and compose a balanced GPP (general physical preparedness) program for our students. Next time you’re in class, see if you can match the pattern to the movements programmed for the day and understand why those movement might have been chosen.

- PS


  • For time:

    • 1,000m row

    • 100 double-unders

    • 1,000m row