Skip to content

“BIG 5”  Functional Life Movements



MOVEMENT 1:  Because we pick things up from the ground:   

We train with The Deadlift (Example is the Conventional Deadlift)


  1. Setup: Stand with the barbell against your shins, feet hip-width & toes slightly pointed out
  2. Bend at the knees to about a 1/2 squat & hinge your upper body forward from the hip joint allowing you to take a shoulder-width (outside the legs) overhand grip (or a mixed grip) on the bar.  Your neutral back will angle slightly downward from shoulders to butt. 
  3. Now, with a straight spine & arms, take a full breath & engage your core muscle to stabilize
  4. Then take the slack out of your body system by tightening your shoulders toward your hips engaging upper back muscles while very slightly moving vertically to engage with the bar   
  5. Drive: Next, while holding that breath, begin to drive your hips forward while straightening your legs to drive the barbell upward off the ground maintaining a straight spine & arms 
  6. Finish: the drive-by standing up fully until the barbell rests in front of you at arm’s length at the hip joint & engage your glutes (butt).  Pause a second at the top.  Should be a smooth pulling lift the whole way. 
  7. Reverse: the process in a controlled fashion to return the bar to the ground.  Initiate the return by hinging your hips back while bending at the knees with the bar traveling down your thigh & shins until it rests on the ground.  Pause a second to exhale & take a full breath before repeating the next rep.


MOVEMENT 2:  Because we pull ourselves up to higher places & pull things to us: 

We Train with The Pull Up, Cable Pull Down, & or Choose a Row

Pull-Up How: 

  1. Take an overhand grip (palms away) just wider than shoulder-width & with your thumbs wrapped opposite your fingers on your pull up bar.
  2. With your feet off of the ground initiate the movement at arm’s length by 1st engaging your shoulders & scapulas down, then simply use your upper back muscles/lats to pull your elbows down toward your sides, while arms slightly to the front of your body until your body raises with your chin above the bar.
  3. Return your body down in a controlled fashion to an arms-length position with the shoulders & scapulas still engaged & repeat.

Barbell Row How:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend down and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Assume a deadlift position with your back flat and shoulders pulled down and back. 
  2. Keeping your core tight and back flat, pull your shoulders back to initiate the row and drive your elbows back. The bar should touch or almost touch your body under your chest.
  3.  Lower the bar with control until your arms are straight and return to the starting position. Continue to keep your core tight and back flat.


MOVEMENT 3:  Because we push ourselves up, or things away, & squeeze to hold on:

We Train with
The Chest Press or Push Up

Chest Press How: 

  1. Lying face up on flat bench take an overhand grip (palms away) a few inches wider than shoulder-width on each side & with your thumbs wrapped opposite your fingers on the bar.
  2. Create a 3 point platform of your 2 (back & downward) shoulder blades & 3rd, your head.
  3. Take a breath & with feet flat on the ground un-rack the bar moving it at arm’s length above lower chest (forearms & elbows are directly under the bar in line with lower chest always).
  4. Lower the bar to your lower chest while (don’t flare your arms out or up toward shoulders).
  5. Press the bar straight back up.  Exhale, take another breath & Repeat.  Re-rack the bar.

Push-Up How:

Perform a standard push up on the ground, face down, on knees or toes, start with arms straight, then lower until chest to ground & return by pressing up.


MOVEMENT 4:  Because we stand, walk, squat, lift, jump, carry, sprint, & run:

We Train with The Squat


  1. Set up the barbell on the catches of the rack at a height at about your mid to upper chest & below your shoulders.
  2. Stand feet shoulder-width & toes slightly pointed out & take an overhand grip (palms away) a few inches wider than shoulder-width on each side on the bar that is in the rack.
  3. Bring your head neck & shoulders under the bar center.  With your shoulders engage back & down bring your elbows back & up.  This will create a channel for the bar to rest in from one rear deltoid across your upper trapezius to the opposite rear deltoid.  The bar should not be on top of your upper trapezius or neck.
  4. With your hips & feet planted under the bar, stand up lifting the bar from the rack, then take a step back to clear the catches in your shoulder-width stance with toes pointed just out.
  5. Take a full breath & allow the hips back & the knees to bend & move slightly outward to track over your toes, while you descend & squat as low as you can until quadriceps of the upper leg are parallel to ground or just below.
  6. Next, return to standing by driving your hips forward while your legs straighten driving your body upward.  Pause a second to exhale, take a breath, then repeat.  Step forward to re-rack the weight.


MOVEMENT 5:  Because we lift things up from the ground & place them high above:

We Train with The Clean & Press  Start with very light weight like the bar to practice the form.

1st:  The Clean & Press, while a total shoulder workout, utilizes/works the full-body, & it is performed using a combination of several other movements into one dynamic, explosive move.


  1. Standing with feet hip width & toes slightly pointed begin with a conventional deadlift until the bar is deadlifted up just past the knees.
  2. Next, follows a rapid & explosive hip drive forward, then explosive upright row & shoulder shrug.  The hope is that those explosive movements elevate the bar high enough that you can slightly dip your body pulling yourself under the bar & catching the bar palms up just above shoulder height. 
  3. Now, the culmination of the movement is pressing the bar with the shoulders and arms overhead at arm’s length.  A slight squat press initiation can be used to aid the press if needed.   
  4. Then, carefully reversing the process in a fluid but controlled method is next while taking care not to stress the back until the bar rests in front of the shins again on the ground.
  5. Repeat the movement.