I tell people all the time that, “this stuff ain’t rocket science.” By “stuff,” I mean taking care of your body, and by “ain’t rocket science,” I am totally lying. Quite frankly, working out and being in the best shape you can be to move through this world shares a lot in common with rocket science. Namely, the physics of load vectors. Which can be really overwhelming, but not if you took 4 years of latin in high school. Oh you didn’t? I guess that was just me…

When you look at a human body, there are six ways you can direct or resist force:

  • Axial (Up and down)

  • Anteroposterior (front to back)

  • Lateromedial (toward and away from the middle along the side)

  • Posteroanterior (back to front)

  • Torsional (twisting)

  • Axial/Anteroposterior Blend (up and out, or down and in)

Up until very recently, fitness nerds just referred to the planes of the human body. But that was very limiting because it is static and does not really capture how the body moves. But luckily, there is a CSCS even nerdier than I named Bret Contreras who decided that this was no way to live and started brandishing about these new fitness-physics terms. I am lifting liberally from his blog, but it’s out of love. Because I am now going to make this make sense for you by completely butchering all his efforts to describe these movements in a precise way. So here are Coach Stevo’s Load Vectors for People Who Did Not Take Four Years of Latin in High School:

  • Presses and Squats

  • Pushes and Thrusts

  • Raises and Hello Dollies

  • Pulls and Crunches

  • Twists

  • Swings and Sprints

I know what you’re thinking: “Hey! I do all those!” And you’re right, if you work out with me. I am a big fan of using the body as a tool, and this is the way the body moves. If you are programming your own workouts, I really recommend making sure that you are not neglecting resistance in any of these vectors, because there will be a time when your body will be resisted that way in real life by gravity or weight. Here are just a few examples of movements that you can incorporate into your routines that will train your body in all the ways it was designed to move.

Presses (Upper Body Axial)
Kettlebell Presses, Military Presses, Handstand Presses, Prisoner Presses and Pull ups (I know this doesn’t seem to fit, but trust me. I speak latin)

Squats (Lower Body Axial)
Goblet Squats, Dead Lifts, Box Jumps, and Pistols

Pushes (Upper Body Anteroposterior)
Push Ups, Bench Presses, Pull Overs, Planks

Thrusts (Lower Body Anteroposterior)
Hip Thrusts, Glute Bridges, Back Extensions, Reverse Hypers

Raises (Upper Body Lateral)
Side Raises, Side Planks, Iron Crosses, Grocery Carries,

Hello Dollies (Lower Body Lateral)
Jane Fondas, Side Lunges, Lying Abduction

Pulls (Upper Body Posteroanterior)
Horizontal Pulls, Seated Rows

Crunches (Lower Body Posteroanterior)
Crunches, Leg Lifts, Backward Sprinting

Twists (Core Torsional)
Roman Twists, Cable Chops, Wood Chops

Swings and Sprints
Swings… and Sprints