Spurling Seven....

We tend to overcomplicate things as humans. 

We try to make things a lot harder than they actually are and that causes analysis paralysis. 

We get stuck. 

The true art is in simplifying things. 

The more you simplify things the more you execute on it and the more people understand it. 

Movement and fitness are actually quite simple. 

We hear it a lot from clients and alike “hey, check out this cool next exercise I saw on the interwebz!”

We are all for variety, but we also don’t want to just do something just for the sake of doing something.

It has to produce a result.

Anyone person or thing can you make you tired, it doesn’t mean it’s making you better.

Although there are thousands of exercises they all fall under seven categories. 

We call them the Spurling 7 Pillars of Movement. 

Today, I felt like taking a break from more the “personal development” stuff and instead, geek out on some exercise science.

1. Squat

Most people are familiar with these. 

You're bending at the knees, a little at the hips, and making the motion like you were sitting down on a chair. 

There are different ways to squat, different pieces of equipment we can hold, and that's where the customization and art of coaching come in.

When we work with a client, unless they have a knee injury, they're squatting. 

It's a foundational movement. 

For some that may be a bodyweight squat. 

For others, it may be holding a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

And for some, they are holding a bar on their back. 

But we're all going to squat. 

2. Lunge

This takes the focus and puts it on one leg. 

Your legs are split out and you're driving primarily through one leg. 

This works more the backside of the leg, compared to a squat which primarily works the quads. 

Again, the art is in choosing what level is appropriate for you. 

Some may be doing a bodyweight lunge others may be holding a pair of kettlebells as they walk in a lunging motion down the turf. 

3. Hinge/Deadlift

This is the third pillar, and the final lower body one. 

The hinge is primarily a hip based movement. 

We're trying to keep the back neutral and move through the hips, while just barely bending the knee. 

This puts the primary focus on the hamstrings and glutes, or the posterior chain as we call it. 

These are exercises like the deadlift, single leg deadlift, and glute bridges.

It's a huge pillar as most people don't know how to activate or move through their hips, and as humans, because we do everything in a forward motion we're generally pretty weak on this movement. 

4. Push

Now we're onto upper body. 

This is where things like pressing movements come in. 

Everything from a push-up to pressing dumbbells overhead. 

These movements work the chest, shoulders, and arms. 

Again, rest assured, in each of these pillars there are hundreds of exercises, and it's important that we as coaches learn where you are and what your goals are so that we can give you the appropriate level, but everything still falls into one of these pillars. 

5. Pull

This is the opposite of the push. 

This is any rowing or pull-up type motion. 

It could be a band row or something as hard as a chin up or pull up. 

These exercises primarily work the back and the arms. 

6. Core

We've all heard of this one. 

This is where we work the midsection. 

It could be things like planks or toe touches. 

However, it can also be things like stabilizing exercises like a Pallof Press. 

Farmers carries also fall into this category. 

Please note: It is scientifically impossible to spot reduce fat. So yes, I too would like to lose weight in my mid section, and although doing core exercises will make your core stronger, it does not spot reduce fat in that area. Sorry, I’m bummed too.

7. Metabolic

Sometimes we forget the heart is a muscle so we need to train it just like we train the arms, legs, and core. 

Under this category is anything done for 30 seconds or longer. 

Special note: This could even be a "strength" exercise, but if it's done for 30 seconds or more it's actually more so going to work your heart than any other muscle.


If you're doing something for 30+ seconds, you may be able to use some weight, but it's definitely not going to be as much as if I only had you do 8-12 reps of that same exercise. 

When we get moving for that long of a duration it's a cardio workout. 

Also falling into this category is any of your traditional cardio like bikes, rowers, treadmills, sled pushing, medicine ball slams, etc. 

So that's it. 

Name me any exercise and I guarantee it will fall into one of the 7 pillars. 

So, as we look at designing a well put together plan it consists of two pieces:

1. Make sure we have at least one exercise from each pillar

2. Make sure we're doing the appropriate level of exercise at each pillar. 

The second one is the key, and that's where good coaching comes in. 

I may have different goals, I may move differently, and I may have some injuries, so although we both need to be doing a push and a pull exercise, what those are may be different. 

So there you have it...

A simple, yet not so simple, explanation of the Spurling 7 Pillars of Movement. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling