What is Primal Movement…and what can it do for you?

Posted on 17th July 2017 in Body & Movement

Q & A with John about the benefits of Primal Movement – and why you should incorporate it into your routine!

What is Primal Movement?

“The human body is capable of incredibly diverse and complex movements, but modern day living rarely has us do much beyond sitting, walking and standing.

We go from bed, to car seat, to desk, to dinner table, back to bed. Primal movement is basically moving in the ways that we have evolved to; reclaiming our innate ability to move.

With mobility, ‘use it or loose it’ is a very true statement.

If you watch a toddler crawl, stand, squat – they are completely unrestricted in their movement. This natural freedom of movement that we are born with is eroded and sometimes lost as we age, simply because we don’t move enough!”

What are the primal movement patterns?

“Traditionally the ‘Primal Movement’ patterns are:

Push
Pull
Hinge
Twist
Squat
Locomotion (gait)
Lunge

I think categorising movement like this – although useful in a lot of ways – can be limiting…the true power of the approach comes from loosing the structure, and returning to movement as not just a fun, but essential part of being alive.

Having said that, making sure you are training with a combination of all 7 movements helps the mental transition away from the traditional ‘isolated’ approach to movement towards a more holistic one.”

How can primal movement benefit you?

“A lot of modern exercise programs fail to address movement deficiencies – or at worse further exaggerate muscular imbalance.

Breaking away from the idea that movement is only effective if it burns calories or builds muscle can have a profound effect on your body.

Primal Movement will improve strength, mobility, posture and fitness – but also your capacity to move with balance and coordination. To move with less effort and tension…it literally develops your central nervous system to ‘move better’.

This is why it translates so well into sporting performance, as well as lifestyle training.”

How can I introduce primal movements into my training?

“Start with some of the more basic movements: Half Hindus, kick sits for example. Instead of thinking in terms of reps and sets: aim for rhythm and fluidity of movement for a timed period

Get your body moving as one piece – rather than isolating muscles.

Then try hanging from pull up bars, or simply resting/ reading / working in the deep squat position…it is amazing what these simple additions to your daily routine do for your mobility.

At our primal sessions at BREATHE – people are always surprised at how quickly they progress towards some of the more advanced movements like brachiating (swinging like a monkey) but it’s nothing new – Just regaining what we have lost and used to do in the playground!”

How did you get into this style of training?

“My background was Rugby. Back then ‘training’ consisted of lifting heavy, eating big and the occasional speed session. My mobility wasn’t great, and eventually an injury had me take a step back from the sport.

I then discovered grappling and BJJ – where mobility and movement skill are just as important, if not more important than how much you bench.

The training and rolling led me to discover callisthenics. I also did a lot of traveling, so training ‘gym free’ became the only option.

Using my bodyweight and complex movement made me leaner, stronger, more mobile – and I also lost a lot of the aches and pains I picked up with lifting weights and playing rugby.

I still enjoy pushing myself in terms of performance and fitness; but I now also train for balance, movement, longevity and ultimately quality of life…Being a father of two, I want my body to stay strong, mobile and capable into old age.

Bodyweight training, combined with Primal movement – balanced with restorative stretching and a good diet – is effective, efficient and above all a sustainable way to train. Not just for aesthetics and performance…but for quality of life!”

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