The 6 Fundamental Movement Patterns

These are the 6 major movement patterns that athletes should focus on developing vs. thinking about muscles.

Yes, some of the exercises will be the same as if you’re training focused on muscles.

But it’s the mindset that makes the difference when it comes to program design.

Thinking “movement patterns” not “muscles” is going to be old hat for those of you who have followed any of my programs.

But a refresher never hurts, plus I give some other details here and there that might help you move better.

Check it out:

When you look at sport (or life) as a series of movements, you can see how these movement patterns apply.

So instead of thinking about walking up stairs as using your glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings, in which case you’re missing a whole shit load of stabilizer muscles working when you’re balancing on one foot, you simply see it as a Lunge movement pattern.

Minimalism at its best.

Sure there are times when thinking about muscles is necessary. I’m not saying throw it out.

For example – if you sit on your butt all day, your glutes are likely in a coma.

So, activation exercises specifically for your sleepy glutes is a great idea, especially as part of your warmup before any lower body work.

But for the most part, thinking movements, not muscles, is going to be more beneficial for you.

Good to go?

Hit me up with a ‘Like’ to let me know.

Muchas gracias, mi amigo.

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Scott Gunning
Scott Gunning
6 years ago

Hi Eric,

Would just like to say after reading your posts and watching your tutorial above, you not only seem to be very knowledgeable in the conditioning of a mixed martial artist, but your distribution of information is incredible.

I’m currently working on a high performance assignment for my fitness diploma here in Australia and picked MMA as my sport of choice. Your explanation on the differing movement patterns has been incredibly helpful, but also your post in regards to training your energy systems correctly to maximise results has been excellent.

Thankyou and keep up the great work.

All the best,


7 years ago

Hey Eric,
great post as usual. But I was just wondering what happened to the “gait” movement pattern? You used to include it in the list. Also, it would be awesome if you could upload a workout video that works all the movement patterns.

7 years ago
Reply to  Cassidy

Yeah I used to include it, but it’s not really something that’s trained in the gym, per se.

Definitely important but not so applicable, especially with MMA when gait (footwork) is different than what gait is typically thought of as (walking/running).

Just trying to keep things simple.

7 years ago

Been a good follower of your blogs and YouTube channel and I was curious on if there is a sport with a strong carryover towards other sports aka things you don’t do in the gym already(looking at you power liftling and track!)

And I see post on explosive takedowns and KO power, but is takedown defense like sprawling or ground game just technique or what can I do to improve the bjj world other than drilling moves and repetition?

And what are some reaction drills you like? I feel like I’m lacking imagination using tennis balls or reaction balls because they tire me in a mental way rather than physical. I’m looking to spice things up in the gym, I feel like the spark in our life is starting to require pulling someone else in.(sorry for getting 50 shades on you.

7 years ago

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