T Nation

The Missing Movement Article Discussion

There is no article discussion threads anymore, so I’ll start something here.

I think this article was a very good one. TC Luoma is right on the point. It lit something in my head.

Walking lunges has always been the nastiest exercise for me, and I am pretty sure it is for everyone. One real set on walking lunges with heavy DB for max reps leaves you devastated. 3 sets at most and you are done. The chances of injuries are also way lower than in a squat or a deadlift. I always felt my lower body much more doing it than with doina squat or deadlift.

For years I only did them for a period of time, then at some point I would swap them out for something else. In my head it just wasn’t mandatory like the squat and the deadlift, probably because of the general training culture with emphasis on powerlifting movements. Not much people do them (for bad reasons I think now). I wish I listened to my instinct instead.

The walking lunge is probably the best exercise indeed. I think it should be one of the first metric of strength and that powerlifting has had too much influence on the gym culture. It’s a shame. Every women would be walking with a great ass if it was more mainstream (and every men too, but I wouldn’t be able to tell in that case). No exercise can do that on its own like the walking lunge.

Low rep squats don’t build that much muscle. High reps can be dangerous when your posture deteriorates and don’t build muscle in everyone either. Leg press, romanian deadlifts are good but can’t stand on their own. Bulgarian split squats are gimmicky, it’s hard to set up and you lose your balance. With any of these you can’t trash your lower body effectively in a straightforward manner like with the walking lunge.

I think the problem could be fitting them in your routine. I think the front squat, leg press, straight leg or romanian dl and back squat are mandatory in a week. For 1 leg day in a week there is not much space left. Personally I do all of them on a day with a simple ramp up and I am fatigued. I’ll try adding the walking lunge as a next to last exercise with a great emphasis (with the last exercise being either squat or front squat on the back burner, the other one being the main first exercise) for now.

For me, over the last year, I have made farmers walks a stable of my workouts, simply because, I can pick up something and carry it, no matter where I am, or how crappy the workout equipment is. It has made a big different in almost all areas. Focusing on farmers walks, OHP, and trying to learn how to sprint has made real change in my strength level.

But, you are right, I need to do lunges, since, I hate them with a passion:))

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All of those sound like they’ll help bulletproof you.

The farmers walks giving core stability.

The OHP giving shoulder stability.

And the sprints teaching good hip hyperextension and keeping you lean.

I need to get back to carries. It seems to help strengthen my midsection as well or better than directed work. I’ve learned doing overhead carries give me a two in one bonus: shoulder stability and core stability. I love 1-hand db carries for developing the sides of the midsection.

Pushing a sled keeps SI pain at bay for me as do carries so I think those are the missing movements for me. I’m already incorporating much more overhead work and it’s done a lot for my shoulder health in combination with rear delt and upper back work.

While I can’t ever say there’s just one exercise people are missing… it was definitely a thought provoking article and the rationales and how they got there for each of the authors meant a lot more to me than what exercise they chose.

Low rep squats build just as much muscle if the volume is there.

Am I seeing some conflict within your own post? If you switch out back squat for walking lunges, you won’t get weaker. Maybe your back squat proficiency will go down, but, who cares if you’re not planning on doing a powerlifting meet?

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I think I will try to keep them in, but I try my best to do as little ‘‘work’’ with it. Since at the end I am very well warmed up I can ramp up with singles with something like 135-185-225-275-315-365 (whatever is easier but warms me up enough) then 1 or 2 singles to low 400 (my max is between 450 and 500) pretty easily even if I am fried. So that like 4 sets of 1 reps above 50% stopping at 85%.

I have a bad build for squats, I can’t let myself unlearn it. Regular deads are natural for me, I can keep them out and come back for 3 weeks when I think I am ready for a PR.

Walking lunges on the other hard take way too much energy to be done after everything.

all of those are good. I LOVE what farmers carries and sprintsdo to physiques and strength…and conditioning. Really no equipment needed except a space to run and a big awkward heavy object/stone/bag/dumbbell/keg/log/whatever.

I also like the fact that carries trains a lot of the stability aspects that lunges do, but in a way many injured people can still do wvem if they can’t drop low enough for a proper lunge.

Thats said, there is something to be said for doing an exercise you hate just to kick its ass

Well, I am certainly not strong by T-nation standards, but, those three exercises have made the most improvement in my overall strength. I always pay attention to CT and Dan John, since I consider them the best. In fact, it was CT who got me started on farmers walks and Dan John who finally forced me into doing OHP. Dan wrote an article about what you should be able to do in the gym and I failed miserably at the OHP, I was embarrased about how weak I was with that lift. Since then, I have increased my lift by 40 to 45 pounds (on a good day)

Also, I have had the luxury of training with a third degree Black in Judo for about the last 8 months. My stability and “core” strength seems to have really improved. To show you how weak I was in the OHP, my goal now is to OHP my bodyweight for 5 reps (205), which I am sure it is childs play for most of the lifters on here. But, its damn heavy to me:))

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Totally agree with this statement.

Nah, that’s killer progress! And honestly, you do not have to be strong by bodybuilder or powerlifter standards…it doesn’t help you in your job and it doesn’t help you stay alive. The path you’re on is very appropriate. I believe overhead strength is necessary for people in the field, but also back and leg strength, and clearly ‘functional’ core strength. I hate the word functional because of what it has been bastardized to mean, but your training in judo is VERY good for real world strength that you will be using in your ever changing environment.

CT and Dan John are two of my favorites. CT for high performance stuff, and Dan John for coaching, big picture real world things, and making lifting extremely effective for times when you have to work with minimal equipment. He is also really, really good at solving “analysis paralysis” and that is one of his strong suits: everything is made simple based on principles, and you don’t have to question variation 19853 of the unilateral lunge/hip/cable thingy. It’s great for beginners, it’s great for intermediates, and its great for people who are advanced but get “too close to the problem” and start looking at 1 tree trunk instead of looking at the forest. Pretty much its just a great gut check period. It recenters you.

First leg day today with the change of ''paradigm". Did the following:

Front squat, chasing PR as usual
casual leg press
casual romanian DL

Walking lunges: 1 easier warm up set, 2 heavy sets. It was a bit too heavy to be very hard, took some previous weight that was to heavy for me now. ‘‘Fun’’ will come. Did about 8 LR reps for each set, it was still hard.

Then went 135,225,275,315,345,375,405x1 squats. None of them were hard but I felt right away that 135 was crushing my bones in my lower body.

I was so fried I even took my little hat off.

This is the beginning of a new era of pain and redemption. May the father, the son, the holy ghost and the baby jesus save me.

Up next: the Terry Fox walking lunge set with 100’s, from montreal to vancouver

I knew there was an exercise I was missing that was keeping me from being strong.

I saw this today and thought about your thread. BTW, after farmers walks yesterday, I tried out the lunges. First with no weight to get the movement down and then with some 40lb dumbbells. Let me sum it up on one word: pathetic.


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I always have the same kind of thought whenever I read one of these articles - even when they come from writers I respect hugely and know so much more than I do it isn’t funny:

What have the strongest people always based their training around?

It always seems to come down to:

  • picking shit up
  • moving shit overhead
  • some kind of squatting
  • pulling shit towards yourself/pulling yourself up to stuff

Look, obviously the article is about stuff that gets missed BUT I think a lot of the time the people who should really be doing those basics above read these kind of articles and interpret it to mean the basics aren’t enough. The basics are ample for a fairly long time in most cases, and a bunch of people wondering what they’re missing aren’t doing those basics in the first place.

Of all the segments in the article, I think I agree most with what Paul Carter said: what you hate most is what you should be doing. Every time I’ve increased how much effort I make to do the things I dislike better (benching, pressing, direct arm work, direct trap work), I get better at everything else. Second to what Paul Carter said, I agree most with Amit Sapient said: some kind of squat is near essential.