With the year coming to a close, most of us have spent some time thinking about the things we want to achieve in 2016. Whether it’s eating more greens, being more punctual, doing more reading or getting more active, our New Year’s intentions usually revolve around doing better or being a better version of ourselves. Ben Lucas, PT and owner of Flow Athletic wants you to add mastering some strength moves to your resolution list. Here are Lucas’ four favourite moves and if you can master them all you’ll be set for your strongest year yet!

The push up

Although I do have clients who dread push ups, it’s one of those exercises that activates nearly every muscle in your body in one move, making it a very effective exercise. Furthermore, there are so many progressions for push ups– once you’ve mastered the standard form you can move onto a more narrow stance with your hands (to target the triceps) or go full super hero with spiderman pushups.

Tips for nailing it: Squeeze your bottom and pull your tummy in tight through the entire movement. If you’re not quite ready for push ups on your toes, don’t fall to your knees. Instead, put your hands on a bench and do your push ups on your toes with an incline. This will get you doing full push ups much more quickly.

The pull up

I’ll be honest, I don’t know many women who enjoy these. They’re hard. That being said, the pull up is a great full body exercise and a good test of strength. Plus, you’ll never really know when you might need to climb a wall and pull up training is sure to make that a lot easier.

How to achieve a body weight pull up: You can use a resistance band attached to the chin up bar to help train your pull up. Hook one foot into the band and use as much of your own strength as possible with the band assisting you.

Alternatively, if you have a bar that’s close enough to the ground you can jump up to the top of the movement. Giving yourself a little boost with your feet hold for a second or two before lowering back down.

Remember to engage your core, keep your scapulas pulled together and keep your chest proud as you pull yourself up to the bar.

The squat

This is arguable one of the most important moves that you can do. It’s not just a leg exercise as some may believe. Once you’ve mastered the body weight squat you can move onto barbell squats, goblet squats, snatches and more.

Doing a perfect squat: Take your feet hip width apart (or a tad wider) with your toes turned out slightly. You can cross your arms in front of you to help with balance but make sure you keep your chest up throughout the movement. Focus on pushing your bottom back rather than pushing your knees forward. A strong core makes squats easier so remember to turn on those abs.

The deadlift

I love this exercise! This compound move strengthens your back, glutes and hamstrings while improving your grip and core stability. Plus, it’s a good one to make you better at carrying groceries. Nobody wants to have to make two trips.

Dominating the deadlift: You want to keep your spine neutral through the lift. That means keeping your head straight, your core on, your shoulder blades tight and a slight curve in your lower back. As you pull the weight up keep your elbows locked into your sides and as the weight gets above your knees, push your hips through and squeeze your bottom.