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Fit 4 Life | Fit the basics into your training

Published:Wednesday | June 12, 2019 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
Yoga and resistance training might seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum but they complement each other well.


Training basic movement patterns is a must – even for 'summa body' athletes. The benefits of mastering foundational movement are well documented and so are the pitfalls of ignoring them. Still, it might not be immediately obvious how to incorporate these movements into your current training plan. Adopting these movements into any plan requires careful consideration of all the factors and safety is at the top of the list.

For example, is it safe for runners to incorporate squats and lunges into their running programmes? What about dance aerobics lovers?

No exercise, workout, or nutrition plan should be approached without first considering the risks that come with it. And, while adding any exercise to a programme will raise the risk to your safety, there are other factors:

• The benefits to your current training and fitness/health – will it improve safety, performance, balance, etc.?

• Does it affect recovery time – will it leave you too sore or tired to stick to your workout schedule?

• Will it fit my lifestyle – can I handle the additional stress with my job or family life requirements?

• How often do I need to train this movement?

• Does the reward justify taking the risk?

Finally, after weighing all the above the questions, the next step is to find the best way to include the movements in your training.

So, back to squats and lunges, how can you include them in your training if you:


If you are a lifter, chances are you already do squats and lunges. If you don't, here are a few pointers:

• Start light – even body-weight variations are beneficial.

• Train them twice a week.

• Do them early in your workout – before isolation moves.

• Static and single-leg variations build endurance and balance.

2. RUN

Runners place significant stress on their joints. Any additional training must be done with this in mind.

• Once a week might be adequate – preferably on a day with minimal running.

• Manage intensity carefully and ensure that adequate rest is provided between training sessions to avoid joint issues.

• Use variations such as single-leg or jump squats to improve running performance.


Yoga and resistance training might seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum but they complement each other well. If you are a yoga enthusiast you can:

• Try to get in one or two 'strength' sessions a week.

• Manage intensity to avoid excessive soreness.


For those who love dancing, squats and lunges are boring in comparison.

Use 10-minute 'strength' sessions to get in your squats and lunges. Be sure to:

• Train them twice a week.

• Manage intensity carefully to avoid joint issues.


Circuit training provides one of the easiest opportunities to incorporate squats and lunges:

• Use them for warm-up or include them in the circuit.

• Use static and single-leg variations to provide a challenge.

• Use explosive variations to improve power.


- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email:;