No matter if you’re an occasional gym-goer or a committed Crossfitter, there are a few moves everyone should be able to do with ease. They serve as a foundation, and chances are, you’re already doing a version of them every day without even knowing.
For example, tons of everyday movements are essentially a squat. “We’re always up and down, sitting down and standing up,” says Paul Pooh, trainer and injury prevention specialist at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Picking up something you dropped or lifting your pet off the ground are both good examples. And even though you’ve been doing it since you were a kid, there’s still a right and wrong way (more on that later).
You should also feel stable doing a single-leg or unilateral-leg movement like a forward lunge. It sounds technical, but again, you do it all the time when walking or climbing stairs.
To get a better sense of your current strengths and weaknesses, try doing the five moves below in front of a mirror or with a friend who can monitor your form. It’s similar to an assessment a trainer might give you during your first session (but free!). First, we show you the move performed correctly, and then you’ll see common mistakes that not only make trainers cringe, but also may put you at risk for injury.