Movement patterns

In sports performance resistance training it is common to hear the phrase “train movements not muscles’’. This means the coach should try to train and overload fundamental movement patterns and athletic movement patterns rather than focus on isolating specific muscles during resistance training. Of course there is a time and a place for isolation type exercises e.g. in prehab or targeting a weak area, but in general, when designing a resistance training programme the coach should include the fundamental and athletic movement patterns that form the foundation for on-field athleticism and skill performance.  These movement patterns include:

  • Squat
  • Hinge
  • Lunge
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Carry
  • Jump/land.

These movement patterns provide the coach with a readymade resistance training template. Not every training session has to include all these patterns and certain players and positions may require more or less of certain movements. There are many methods and considerations for designing a safe and effective resistance training programme, especially as players increase their training age, but coaches should use the movement patterns to guide resistance training programme design.

Table 2 below highlights a two-day-a-week resistance training programme using movement patterns as a guide.    

Table 2.

Day 1  
Movement Pattern Exercise
Jump/Land Box Jumps
Squat Barbell Back Squat
Push Dumbbell Chest Press
Lunge Reverse Lunge
Pull Pull Ups
Carry Farmers Walk
Day 2  
Movement Pattern Exercise
Jump/Land Broad Jumps
Hinge Romanian Deadlift
Push Military Press
Squat Goblet Squat
Pull Dumbbells Row
Carry Suitcase Carry