Coordination is one of those factors which has not been paid a lot of attention to when selecting a program for strength training until only recently. If you think about it though, exercises that involve a high degree of coordination should be a priority element to consider if you want functional strength.
Firstly, may I point out that most body building exercises do not make the grade if you are considering this factor in designing the best program for your needs, but usually this type of exercise make up the majority of general programs. Although you can gain a great deal of strength from these body building exercises, it doesn’t transfer to everyday movements and the type of strength you need for most sports. I am constantly mystified as to why so many even high level sportspeople use this type of exercise in their programs? But let me make it clear that I am not putting down the sport of body building, as it has its place in the sports arena, the exercises are just not ‘functional’ enough for what people need out of a general resistance program though?
As I have stated before that Olympic Lifting-type exercises require balance, strength, speed and coordination if done properly but they also fall short of ‘complete’ exercises. There are two reasons I state this. One is that they require strict technical advice and supervision, but the main reason is that they don’t take the body through all three planes of movement. They take it through the up-and-down plane and the forwards-and-backwards plane to a very small extent, but they don’t take it through the side-to-side plane (unless they are not performed correctly!)
The only Olympic Lifting-type movements that I would add into a general program would be the one-armed movements such as the One Arm Power Snatch or One Arm Power Clean as they require some sideways movement. They are also easier to teach to do properly when compared to the classic Olympic Lifts.
Other exercises that I would use would be the Burpee exercises (with its many additions/variations); the Side-Stepping Kettle bell or Dumbbell Swings; the many variations of the Renegade Crawl exercise and other exercises that require elements of coordination along with strength/speed (power) and balance to perform.
Many people do not use their imagination when it comes to this type of exercise, because there are many combinations of movements you can do to make up one complete exercise. Imagination and the courage to step ‘outside the box’ are the only things lacking if you want to develop truly functional strength?
As long as you don’t ask for the impossible and keep your requirements in mind, these are the type of exercise nearly everyone needs in their resistance program. When you combine movements, such a program does not take up a great deal of time either, or require a lot of equipment. A complete program only needs to have one exercise even?