Get strong—and avoid injury— with these full-body moves. Plus, tips for doing them right!

Advertisement

Exercise is the ultimate form of self-care. And strength training, in particular, can fight off disease and back pain, improve bone and heart health, and ease anxiety. But to be truly effective, form is everything—and that's where this routine from Tatiana Lampa comes in. A New York–based ACSM-comes certified trainer focused on corrective certified exercise and the founder of Training with T, Lampa builds most of her work with workouts around six major movement patterns, similar to what we encounter in everyday life: pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging, and rotating. "My goal as a ting, trainer is to get you from pain and distrainer discomfort to aligned and strong," she says.

Before you start, Lampa suggests analyzing your alignment: Look at a picture of yourself in profile, simply standing. Check to see if your neck is straight; your shoulders sit on top of hips, hips on top of knees, and knees on top of ankles—when they're stacked properly, that signals a neutral spine, which should be the base of every exercise you do. If something looks off, make adjustments, and note how it feels. "Checking alignment is really important [for body awareness]," she says. Then take a video of yourself doing each of the moves in this workout—whether it's your first time or you've been doing them for years. "Look at these exercises and reevaluate them," she says. "Nail down how to do them properly, and you'll feel stronger and prevent injuries."

Now, give it a go! Read on for Lampa's form tips and corrective-exercise advice to make sure you're hitting each move with precision.

Push-up

Form-Function-Workout-Push-Up

Start in a straight-arm plank position, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend elbows to a 45-degree angle and lower body down, keeping core engaged and spine neutral—you should be in one straight line from shoulders to heels. Push back up to the top of the plank.

Correct it: Hips sinking or raising? Perform your push-up on an incline, with hands on a bench, chair, or your couch. You can even take it to the wall—no matter how you do it, maintain a neutral spine.

Bent-over row

Form-Function-Workout-Bent-Over-Row

Start standing with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge at the hips and maintain a neutral spine, keeping shoulders down away from your ears. Holding this position, bend elbows and pull weights to rib cage, keeping elbows close to sides. Straighten arms to lower weights back down.

Correct it: If you feel your shoulders or low back rounding (a common mistake for this move), do a round of Cat-Cow yoga poses and find your neutral position. Hold that neutral spine while performing the row.

Squat

Form-Function-Workout-Squat

Start standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes slightly turned out, holding a dumbbell at chest. Keeping chest up, send hips back and bend knees as if you're sitting in a chair. Drive through feet to stand back up.

Correct it: If your knees buckle inward, place a mini band around the thighs and practice the squat while pushing outward against the band. From the side view, check if your knees extend too far over your toes. If yes, sit your hips back more, sending weight to the heel to help maintain strong form.

Deadlift

Form-Function-Workout-Deadlift

Start standing with feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in the knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Send hips back, maintaining a neutral spine and the slightly bent-knee position as you lower chest toward floor and dumbbells just below knees. Drive through feet and squeeze glutes to stand back up, shoulders over hips

Correct it: Don't think of this exercise as a toe touch. To nail the hinge position, place your hands behind your head and focus on sending the hips back, squeezing the glutes to stand, and keeping the shoulders down and back.

Plank

Form-Function-Workout-Plank

Get in a plank position by placing forearms on the mat, elbows under shoulders, shoulders pulled down and back. Tuck hips under slightly and squeeze glutes, maintaining a neutral spine. Hold for 30 seconds.

Correct it: If hips are sinking or raising, drop your knees to the mat or place your hands on a bench, chair, or couch. Keep feet wide to help with stability.

Side lunge

Form-Function-Workout-Side-Lunge

Start standing with feet together and dumbbells on shoulders. Step right foot out to the side with knee and toe pointing forward, bending the knee and sending hips back, keeping weight in the heel, and left leg straight. Drive through right foot to stand back up. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch legs.

Correct it: Make sure to push your butt back into a hinge. To help master that position, eliminate the stepping in and out: Stand with feet wider than hips, then bend right knee and push hips down and back. Keep alternating sides.

Single-leg deadlift

Form-Function-Workout-Single-Leg-Deadlift

Start standing with feet together and holding dumbbells. Then put weight on left foot, and step right foot back. Lower chest toward floor as right leg lifts straight back behind you. Keep shoulders down, and maintain one straight line from shoulders to heels, with a slight bend in left knee. Drive through left foot to stand back up, and repeat for 10 reps; then switch legs.

Correct it: Avoid turning your hips—keep both square to the ground to isolate the hamstring and glute. To better your balance before lifting your leg, do a staggered deadlift: Stand with feet hip-width apart, then step your left foot back slightly, keeping toes on the ground as you do the deadlift.

Leg lift

Form-Function-Workout-Leg-Lift

Start lying on back, legs straight up with feet over hips, arms by sides. Lower legs toward floor, as low as possible without arching your lower back. Lift legs back up, and repeat for 30 seconds.

Correct it: Press your spine into the floor and pull your ribs down as you lower your legs, so you feel it in your abs, not your lower back. Keep the legs as high as needed to avoid arching in the spine. 

The drill

Perform this workout in circuits, doing three rounds of each circuit before moving on to the next.

CIRCUIT 1: Push-Up: 10 reps; Bent-Over Row: 10 reps

Form-Function-Workout-The-Drill-Circuit-1

CIRCUIT 2: Squat: 10 reps; Deadlift: 10 reps; Plank: 30 seconds

Form-Function-Workout-The-Drill-Circuit-2

CIRCUIT 3: Side Lunge: 10 reps each; Single-Leg Deadlift: 10 reps each; Leg Lift: 30 seconds

Form-Function-Workout-The-Drill-Circuit-3

This article originally appeared in the  March 2021 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter