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Back to basics: Animal flow and primal movement patterns

Ever noticed how some of your colleagues at the office seem to embody the spirit of various animals? There’s the perpetual crab who shuffles between tabs pretending they are the busiest, the ape who seems to swing from one coffee break to the next, and the leopard who is hiding behind their computer, ready to jump in and take over any office gossip. But do you know, tapping into these animalistic movements could actually boost your fitness? Enter animal flow and primal movement patterns – exercise routines that draw inspiration from the animal kingdom to enhance your strength, flexibility and overall well-being. By integrating these fun and functional movements into your daily routine, you can transform your desk-bound body into a powerhouse of agility and strength, all while adding a bit of wild energy to your day. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump right into it!

Understanding animal flow and primal movement patterns

Definition and origins

Animal Flow is a ground-based movement system designed to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination. It mimics the movements of animals, drawing inspiration from various disciplines such as yoga, breakdancing, and gymnastics. This method was developed by Mike Fitch in 2010 to offer a comprehensive, versatile workout that challenges the body in dynamic ways.

Primal movement patterns, on the other hand, refer to the basic movements that our ancestors used for survival. These include squatting, lunging, reaching, and crawling. These movements are innate to human physiology and are essential for maintaining functional fitness.

Core Principles

Both Animal Flow and primal movement patterns emphasise natural, functional movements. The philosophy behind these fitness methods focuses on restoring the body’s natural movement abilities, enhancing mobility, flexibility, and strength. These movements are not only effective for physical fitness but also promote mental and emotional well-being by fostering a connection between the mind and body.

Benefits of animal flow and primal movements

Physical benefits

One of the primary advantages of incorporating animal flow and primal movements into your routine is the significant physical benefits:

Improved strength and conditioning: These movements engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, leading to improved overall strength and cardiovascular conditioning.

Enhanced flexibility and mobility: The dynamic stretches and movements help improve joint mobility and muscle flexibility, reducing the risk of injuries.

Better balance and coordination: Practicing these movements enhances proprioception, which is the body’s ability to sense its position in space, leading to better balance and coordination.

Mental and emotional benefits

In addition to physical advantages, animal flow and primal movements offer substantial mental and emotional benefits:

Stress reduction and mental clarity: Engaging in these fluid, rhythmic movements can have a meditative effect, helping to reduce stress and improve mental clarity.

Increased mindfulness and body awareness: These workouts require focus and concentration, promoting mindfulness and a deeper awareness of one’s body.

Boosted mood and energy levels: Regular practice can lead to the release of endorphins, enhancing mood and increasing overall energy levels.

Suitability for busy professionals

Animal Flow and primal movements are particularly suitable for busy professionals for several reasons:

Efficient and effective workouts: These routines can be performed in as little as 15-30 minutes, making them ideal for those with limited time.

No need for special equipment: The exercises rely on body weight, eliminating the need for gym equipment and allowing for workouts to be done anywhere.

Accessibility: These movements can be easily adapted to any fitness level, making them accessible for beginners and advanced practitioners alike.

Basic animal flow moves

Basic animal flow moves

Mastering the basic animal flow moves is crucial for building a strong foundation in this dynamic fitness discipline. These moves mimic the natural, instinctive movements of animals, promoting strength, flexibility, and coordination. Here’s a detailed look at the essential animal flow moves:

1. Beast

The beast position is a foundational animal flow move that engages the entire body.

Starting position: Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Lift your knees slightly off the ground, keeping your back flat and core engaged.

Movement: Move forward, backward, and sideways while maintaining a low, controlled position. Focus on smooth transitions and controlled movements to engage your core, shoulders, and legs.

2. Crab

The crab position works the posterior chain, enhancing mobility and coordination.

Starting position: Sit on the ground with your feet flat and hands positioned behind you, fingers pointing towards your feet. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a reverse tabletop position.

Movement: Move in various directions—forward, backward, and sideways. The crab position strengthens the shoulders, triceps, and core, and improves overall mobility.

3. Ape

The ape move enhances hip mobility and lower body strength.

Starting position: Begin in a deep squat position with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and hands resting lightly on the ground in front of you.

Movement: Shift your weight onto your hands and hop your feet to one side, mimicking an ape’s lateral movement. This movement improves hip flexibility and strengthens the legs and core.

4. Crocodile

The crocodile crawl develops core strength and upper body stability.

Starting position: Start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and body in a straight line.

Movement: Lower your chest close to the ground and move forward by simultaneously advancing one hand and the opposite foot. This crawling movement engages the core, shoulders, and chest.

5. Bear

The bear crawl enhances full-body strength and coordination.

Starting position: Begin on all fours with your knees slightly off the ground and back flat.

Movement: Move forward, backward, and sideways in a controlled manner. The bear crawl strengthens the core, shoulders, and legs, and improves overall body coordination.

6. Leopard

The leopard crawl is a more advanced move that builds on the fundamentals of the Bear crawl.

Starting position: Start in a high plank position.

Movement: Lower your body closer to the ground, similar to the crocodile position, but keep your hips slightly higher. Crawl forward, moving one hand and the opposite foot simultaneously. This movement is excellent for enhancing core strength and upper body stability.

7. Frog

The frog movement promotes lower body strength and hip mobility.

Starting position: Begin in a deep squat position with your hands on the ground in front of you.

Movement: Jump forward with your hands, then hop your feet forward to meet your hands, mimicking a frog’s leap. This move is great for building explosive strength in the legs and improving hip flexibility.

By incorporating these animal flow moves into your fitness routine, you can enjoy a comprehensive workout that challenges your body in dynamic and functional ways. Each movement can be modified to suit your fitness level, ensuring that everyone can benefit from this engaging and effective workout method.

Fundamental primal movements

Incorporating primal movements into your routine helps to re-establish natural movement patterns. Key movements include:

Squatting: This foundational movement improves lower body strength and mobility. Aim for a deep squat, keeping your heels on the ground and your chest upright.

Lunging: Perform forward, backward, and lateral lunges to enhance leg strength and balance. Ensure your knee stays aligned with your ankle to avoid injury.

Reaching: Incorporate dynamic reaches to stretch and activate various muscle groups. This can be done from different positions such as standing, kneeling, or lying down.

Crawling: Engage in various crawling patterns (e.g., bear crawl, army crawl) to develop core strength and coordination. These movements are great for full-body conditioning. 

Tips for consistency

Staying consistent with your workouts can be challenging, but these tips can help:

Set realistic goals: Define clear, achievable goals that fit your lifestyle and commitments.

Track progress: Use a journal or app to monitor your progress and stay motivated.

Integrate movements into daily life: Incorporate these movements into your daily routine. For example, practice squatting while waiting for your coffee or do a few lunges during breaks.

Utilise virtual coaching and online resources: Platforms like Qubit offer virtual coaching sessions, which can provide guidance and support, making it easier to stay on track.

So the next time you spot a colleague mimicking a slumped bear at their desk or executing a sidestepping crab manoeuvre to avoid a meeting, remember: these office wildlife behaviours can inspire your fitness journey. By embracing animal flow and primal movement patterns, you can turn your workday into a seamless extension of your workout routine. Just think, while others are dragging through the day, you will be the one bouncing like an ape, ready to tackle whatever comes your way. Start incorporating these movements today, and who knows? You might just become the office’s fittest creature. Time to unleash your inner beast!

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