The site uses its own technical cookies, anonymous third party analytic cookies and third-party cookies that could be used in profiling: in accessing any element/area of the site outside of this banner, you consent to receiving cookies. If you want to know more or refuse consent to cookies, click here.

Using the fundamental movements for exercise programming

Movement is one of the ways that man has at his disposal to know the world, to interact with the external environment and to acquire the information necessary for the organization of our behavior.  Numerous experimental shreds of evidence show how, by moving in advance, we make a choice of useful information to perform a given action. Therefore, the physiology of the action is considered as the product of the integration between the motor and sensory processes.
All the movements we make during the day, such as getting into the car, lifting food, holding a child in the arms, are examples of primal pattern movements, which develop shortly after birth and our dependence on them extends throughout our lives.

The most direct way to describe primordial movements is to imagine our ancestors and their motility, dictated and shaped by a fundamental imperative: to survive.

The primal pattern movements in history

Man has used movement to evolve. Adapting, developing and coding increasingly complex functions. The specialization of the different functions, as already mentioned, has been imposed by the mode of survival and coexistence. The codification of the executive form, on the other hand, which leads to functional fulfillment, has been elaborated with the intention of exercising cooperation or opposition. Therefore, on the one hand, we find formal refinement in relation to a greater adaptation to the environment (to do always better, with more force, faster), on the other hand, we find how to make the formal response more economic, aesthetic and effective.
Therefore, the primordial or primal pattern movements, are the result of the motor selection that primitive men had to make to adapt to an unpredictable environment (bending to lift a stone from the ground, stretching to overcome an obstacle, pushing a trunk, dragging prey, turning to a suspicious noise, squatting to hide, etc.).
The motor-sequences that have been refined can be categorized into 7 broad types of primal pattern movement:

  • Squatting
  • Bending
  • Lunging
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Rotating
  • Locomotion (i.e. gait)
The ability to perform the daily activities listed above or to practice sports activities, such as running, jumping, kicking a ball, etc., depends on how efficient the neuromuscular system is in transferring loads through the body. The complete achievement of the motor objective requires a strong structural base, a muscular force that adequately controls the structure, a neural input that regulates and directs the activity in the system, correct coordination of the emotional and physiological components that support the development of the action.

Wrong patterns of behavior cause damage to the body

Being the root of everything we do, using improper movement patterns causes our body damage. The problem is that many of people have dysfunctional movement patterns without realizing it, to the point where we realize that we are not able to move as we should and therefore even the primal pattern movements become rigid and less harmonious.
Some erroneously consider these problems as an inevitable by-product of aging, when in fact adequate training of primal pattern movements can relieve them immensely. As evolution progresses, in fact, the need to move to live has been lost. Movement as part of daily life, in fact, has become an option and exercise a surrogate.
Precisely for these reasons, it is very important to focus on the training of these patterns of movement compared to the training of individual muscles. In fact, training, of any extraction and origin, has always used the 7 primal pattern movements, varying the mode of execution (body weight/overload), the location and distribution of the load, the use of equipment and the position of the body. In fact, there are many variations that lead to new patterns and associations.

The process of motility

The primal pattern movements represent the fragmentation of the gesture, be it daily activity or sporting. From an operational point of view, their "conversion" represents the basis of any mechanical, coordinating or energetic progression. Any fundamental movement proposed in the training:

  • It must first be supported by a central pre-activation (core)
  • It must then be integrated into a complex kinetic sequence (multiarticular kinetic chain) involving the 3 planes of movement (three-dimensionality).

Joining the primal pattern movements after having stabilized them, means defragmenting the single "files" creating associations. In this way, we work on the hardware to enhance the software.

But what exactly are the 7 primal pattern movements?  Let's analyze them from a formal point of view.


Sit in a squatting position with your knees bending and your buttocks on or near your heels.  Using this motor pattern, a child can sit to rest for a few minutes, play on the floor, or explore and use it as a platform to jump and lift.

In training, we have squats with barbells or dumbbells, overhead squats, prisoner squats, air squats, front squats, sumo squats, squats to press, one-legged squat, side squats, squats with rotation, squats with lateral stretching, lumberjack squats, box squats...


This is a hip-hinge movement, engaging the entire posterior chain to distribute a load, rather than flexion of just the lumbar spine, which places excessive load on the passive structures of this region.

In training we have thrusts from above with medical ball, dead-lifts, good mornings, single leg deadlifts glute thrusts, glute-ham raises etc.


This is a step and return, in any plane of motion. The partial displacement of the center of gravity, returning to the starting position, differentiates this movement from locomotion

In training we have forward lunges, reverse lunges, lateral lunges, transverse lunges, multidirectional lunges, curtsey lunges, lunges with overload, lunges with medicine ball and rotation, step-ups, deficit lunges etc.


Apply pressure to something with the aim of moving it away from the body, or moving the body away from the surface.

This is the first model of movement we try as children. When a child lifts his head for the first time, he is developing the shoulder and torso muscles he needs to roll, crawl and finally walk.

In training we have push-up, spartan push-up, diamond push, Spiderman push-up, bench press, dumbbell press, overhead press, incline press, decline press, arm extension etc.


Apply a force to cause or try to cause a movement of the object towards the body or the body towards the attachment point. When a child starts to lift, it is developing the back muscles it will need for more dynamic movements such as climbing.

In training we have pull-up (neutral grip), pull-up (supinated grip), pull-up (pronated grip), pull-up (mixed grip), cable face pull, chin-ups, standing high row, upright row, single arm row, landmine row, straight arm pulldown, arm curl.


Apply a force to cause or try to cause a movement of the object towards the body or the body towards the attachment point. When a child starts to lift, it is developing the back muscles it will need for more dynamic movements such as climbing.

In training we have pull-up (neutral grip), pull-up (supinated grip), pull-up (pronated grip), pull-up (mixed grip), cable face pull, chin-ups, standing high row, upright row, single arm row, landmine row, straight arm pulldown, arm curl.


Any form of locomotion that causes a horizontal displacement of the center of gravity  The various types of gait are characterized by differences in the patterns of movement of the limbs, in the position of the body (vertical: walking; horizontal: crawling), in the overall speed (walking, running, etc..), in the type of contact with the surface, in the type of surface and in the variety of inclinations of the ground.

After describing them, we realize how much we use the 7 primary pattern movements every day, but perhaps we are not aware of the importance of making them feel good and of the harm of doing them wrong.

Working on primal pattern movements with Kinesis Line

Working on your primary movements therefore means exploring the basics of functional movement. Thanks to its intuitive approach to functional training, the  Kinesis Line allows to work on the fundamental movements (i.e. your daily movement skills) in a simple and natural manner. The line, offering either specific movements training with its Kinesis Stations or completely free and advanced movement trajectories with is Kinesis One and Kinesis Class modules, expands the possibilities of functional training and translates them into tangible benefits for your daily movement skills.
Kinesis One offers all the advantages of the Kinesis Line in a single self-supporting, elegant and compact selectorised machine. Thanks to the resistance developed on the three levels of movement, it is also the ideal solution for functional rehabilitation and personal training. At the same time, Kinesis Overhead Press Station allows you work out on the frontal plane and improve your daily fitness and sports training. Kinesis Class, on the other hand, is the modular solution for functional training that allows users to focus on their own exercises and motivates them with class-specific shared goals.

/related post

Your Technogym App Experience Starts Here

First time with the Technogym App? Discover all the features and how to achieve your training goals ...