Tone It Up Tuesday #8 – Push, Pull, Squat, Core

Welcome back from a long weekend spent with relatives galore! I hope you, like myself, have been trying to stick with your training plans over the holiday season. Many times people make a list of rules for themselves for this time of year and more often than not they fail to follow the rules. Let’s try just one: Don’t change a thing if it’s working. Or, if you like Beauty and the Beast references…

Well, today we are going to talk about the Four Pillars of Resistance Training. Hopefully you all have some kind of resistance training program going on in your life at this moment. And if not, here’s a great place to start. The Four Pillars of Resistance Training is a way to measure if you’ve got a complete training program that’s hitting all of your major muscle groups. Ideally your program should include 8-10 total exercises that fall under these four categories. Not 8-10 under each category!

Exercise that require your upper body to make a pushing motion.

  • Bench press
  • Push-ups
  • Shoulder press
  • Triceps push down

Exercises that require your upper body to make a pulling motion.

  • Pull-ups
  • Lat pull-down
  • Biceps curl
  • Rows

Exercises that require your body to bend at the knees.

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Leg press

Exercises that work muscles in the middle of the body and not an appendage (see here).

  • Planks
  • Bridges
  • Crunches
  • Wood choppers
  • Bird-Dogs

If you don’t have exercises from each of these categories, let’s start small and start today. Pick one exercise that’s not in your tool box and do 10 today. Today is the 16th (an even day) and Christmas falls on the 25th (an odd day). If we do 10 each even day from now until the end of the year we’ve added one new exercise and performed it 80 times! That’s not a whole lot of time spent on a new exercise, but it can round out our training and change things up for us.

It had been a long time since I did push-ups, but yesterday I did 20 modified push-ups (from my knees). I stopped at 20 because despite my strength at holding a plank and my ability to do a million down-planks in yoga, I wasn’t training functionally to PUSH in a push-up. So, I started small and went until I was done doing them correctly. Then, I stopped and I’m waiting until tomorrow to do 20 more. I started on an odd day and so I will end up doing 180 (at 20 each time) before the end of the year. But we’ll talk soon about how and when to change up the number of repetitions you’re doing. I’m curious as to how easy those 20 modified push-ups will be in two weeks from now…..

Which category is your training program lacking in?
What’s your favorite pillar?
How are you doing on sticking to your training regime this holiday season?

3 thoughts on “Tone It Up Tuesday #8 – Push, Pull, Squat, Core

  1. I just encountered your problem. I was doing a lot of isometric exercises (gosh I hope I used that term correctly) and then the physical therapist was having me do squats and leg lifts and it was tough!You know what my least favorite pillar is!


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