The following compound exercises will ensure you receive a full body, balanced prescription. They are essential movements within your physical arsenal.
Vertical push
Overhead Press
Pike push ups/Handstand variations
Figure 1. Overhead Press

Vertical Pull
Lat pull down
Pull up variations (fixed bar)
Figure 2. Chin up

Horizontal Push
Bench Press
Push up variations

Figure 3. Bench Press

Horizontal Pull
Australian Pull up
Barbell/Dumbbell Row
Figure 4. Barbell Row

Lower body Vertical Push (Quad dominant)
Front Squat
Air Squats

Figure 5. Back Squat

Lower body Vertical Pull (Glutes/Hamstring dominant)
Good mornings/Glute bridge (Hip dominant exercises)
Figure 6. Barbell Deadlift





Unilateral exercise
Bulgarian Split Squats
Single arm rows
Single arm presses

Should I Care About Movement Patterns?
Definitely! There are a couple of reasons why understanding movement patterns have helped me tremendously as a coach, on and off the field.

Firstly, it is extremely important to your exercise prescription. If your exercise regime does not comprise of every single movement pattern, then some body parts may be left out. This may lead to imbalances and injuries in the future as you progressively overload on the big lifts!

Push/Pull ratios
For every horizontal push exercise, you should have a horizontal pull exercise (a push/pull ratio of 1:1).
(Example: For every bench press, you should have a row.)

For every vertical push exercise, you should have a vertical pull exercise (and vice-versa).
(Example: For every shoulder press, you should have a pull-up or lat pull-down.)

For every lower body vertical push, you should have a lower body horizontal pull (1:1)
(Example: For every squat, you should have a deadlift variation in our program).

Couple this with some unilateral accessory exercises and your exercise program is good to go (in terms of exercise selection)!

Balanced exercise prescription ensures there is balance around the joints, and different movement patterns. This is key to injury prevention and building a balanced physique/vessel. I personally prefer this way of categorising weight training exercises as it is a more complete system, as compared to the muscle groups/body parts they target.

Hope this helped to shed a light on how I prescribe exercise and I hope this can be transferred to your own training needs.

Yours in good health,
Coach Allan