Aug 24, 2020
6 Body-Weight Exercises to Increase Multidirectional Movement

In strength and conditioning, most coaches and trainers identify functional movement exercises in six categories: squatting, hinging, pushing, pulling, rotating, and core stabilization.

This set of exercises focuses on functional body-weight movements in all planes of motion. These exercises mimic the everyday movements humans do.

In a recent report from KITV-4 ABC, Dana Santas, CNN, shared six exercises that help take your body through all functional movements and places of motion — increasing strength, mobility, and durability.

Below is a brief synopsis of each body-weight exercise from KITV-4 ABC, which is recommended to be done with 10 repetitions each, two to four times.

Body-weight squat

Photo: Tyler Read / Creative Commons

This squatting exercise in the sagittal plane increases total-body strength with a particular emphasis on the legs and core.

Start standing with your feet a little wider than hip-distance and arms at your sides. Inhale, brace your abdominals, and begin lowering into a squat position. Raise your arms out in front at shoulder distance for counterbalance.

Push your knees out slightly as you squat as low as possible without pain or your back rounding. Keep your chest up and back neutral. Exhale as you push through your heels to come back into your starting position.

Single-Leg Balancing Hip Hinge

As a single-leg movement in the sagittal plane, this exercise promotes balance, proper hip function, and strength in the back of your legs, glutes, and back.

From standing, lift one foot slightly, shifting your weight over the other foot. Start slow, establishing balance before adding movement. Move into the exercise by extending one leg behind you as you hinge forward with a flat back, reaching both arms out in front as shown.

Pause here for a second, trying to lengthen your body out in a long horizontal line, perpendicular to your standing leg. Then, with control, return to standing.

Y Raise

This pulling motion in the sagittal plane increases mobility and strength throughout your upper back and shoulder complex.

From standing, hinge your hips back and bend your knees slightly in a semi-squat position. This is often referred to as “athletic stance.” Place the backs of your hands against the insides of your knees.

Inhale as you raise your straight arms out and up in front of you in a “Y” position. Exhale to return your hands to the insides of your knees. Maintain an athletic position with a flat back and weight in your heels as you move your arms through each repetition.


Push-ups, as their name implies, are a pushing movement. They’re done in the sagittal plane and strengthen arms, shoulders, back, and core.

From a plank position with your wrists under the shoulders, lower your entire body down by bending your arms until your elbows, shoulders, and hips are level. Keep the elbows in toward your sides. Avoid arching your back.

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Maintain lumbopelvic control by keeping your core engaged. Exhale as you push up, moving your entire body in one motion.

Kneeling T-Spine Rotation

This rotational exercise takes place in the transverse plane and focuses on strength and mobility through the side body and back.

Start on your hands and knees. Sit back on your heels, sliding your hands back to so they are directly in front of your knees. Replace your left-hand position with your right hand.

Then inhale as you lift your left arm to rotate upward to the left. Keep your hips shifted back with your low back stable. Do the prescribed number of reps, then repeat on the other side.

Side Forearm Plank

It’s important to do exercises in the frontal plane, like this side plank that targets your core muscles, especially your obliques, while building shoulder and back strength.

Begin lying on your side on a mat with your bottom forearm down and shoulder stacked over your elbow. Keep your legs straight with your feet stacked.

Exhale as you engage your abdominals, lifting into a side plank position with your top arm extended upward. Pause at the top, keeping your hips lifted and core stabilized.

To read the full story from KITV-4 ABC on body-weight exercises, click here

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