Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
For the past few months we’ve been talking about the more philosophical aspects of a life well-lived and finding Joy in Movement, but this month, maybe because it’s April and spring has sprung, we’ll talk more about MOVEMENT specifics.
Do you know what fundamental primal movements are? And if you have heard this term, do you know what the six most essential ones are?
Even if you think you do, follow along because I’m hoping you’ll learn something new and useful.
Some would say they are the movements that give us the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to gaining strength and fitness. They are the movements that perhaps a huge number of “other” exercises are built upon. So doing these fundamental movements offer us the highest return on our exercise time investment. Then within each category of human movement, you want to do the movements that offer the highest return on investment.
1. The first category is PUSHING movements. It includes the push-up and the bench press, all of which are big pushes. The push offers us a high return on our investment. And the push-up, in particular, is perhaps the perfect primal exercise, working trunk stability and upper-body pushing strength. This classic gym class exercise strengthens the chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs.
2. The next category is PULLING. When you think about pulling, think about the pull-up because there’s nothing better for a strong and muscular back. Don’t get discouraged if you’re unable to perform even one rep of the pull-up. It’s a challenge, especially for women. Females most certainly can and most certainly should do pull-ups. But it’s important to work the pull-up in stages, and there are plenty of pulling movements you can do besides the full-on pull-up.
3. This category of primal movement is called HINGING. Hinging may be the movement we practice the least but it is a tremendously useful movement pattern.
Think of a kettlebell swing. Some would say, and I wouldn’t disagree, that the kettlebell swing is a super way to burn fat, and it works off of a hinge movement.
Hinging creates strong posterior musculature and is, or at least should be, the default movement pattern for picking stuff up off the ground. Just yesterday at the park I was playing with my niece’s one year old and the way I was swinging her worked my hinging movement patterns. I wasn’t swinging her fully up in the air like she was a kettlebell! But even the more gentle playing of swinging her to and fro required me to be able to hinge well.
As an athlete, you can produce a tremendous amount of force from a hinge. Think of a football lineman before the snap, a sprinter before the gun, or a broad jumper before the leap; these actions are all strong and all come out of a hinged position.
The dead lift is perhaps the most common hinging pattern of all. The dead lift strengthens the hips and back. When performing the dead lift, be sure to keep the back flat and the hips below the shoulders but above the knees.
4. The SQUAT is the next primal movement pattern. AH, the squat. If I look back through these Joyinmovement newsletters that I’ve been writing since 2007, I’ll bet you that I’ve talked about squatting more than any other movement pattern. That’s how ESSENTIAL it is.
Squatting keeps the hips supple and the knees strong. It’s also a natural rest position, meaning that you should be able to get down into a squat and sit there comfortably for extended periods of time.
The primal squat is a bodyweight squat. If you have the mobility, it should feel almost effortless to sit in the bottom position of this squat. You want to try to accumulate as much time as you can in the bottom of a squat position throughout the day. Doing so will work wonders for your hips, knees, and back.
Here’s the most important advice I can give you, so listen up. If you still have your squat grooved in, don’t lose it. And if you don’t, GET IT BACK! I lost my squat and I’m constantly and consistently working to get it back.
5. CARRYING is our fifth primal movement pattern. It’s useful in so many ways. We need to be able to carry things throughout our lives. And carrying as an exercise (which can be different than the carrying action of daily living), helps reinforce proper posture and strengthens your grip.
6. GAIT is an important primal movement pattern too. Let’s define gait as the manner of moving on foot which includes walking, running, and sprinting. And knowing what the proper gait is for these three movement patterns does not come naturally for many. If you’re having any challenges with your running or have had to give up running due to injuries, be sure to contact me. http://www.shellistein.com/learn-running-and-walking/
As you know, my philosophy is that you should move well before you move A LOT. Think about these primal moving patterns and whether or not you’re practicing them. If you have any questions, be sure to contact me!
Until next month, find JOYinmovement and spring into action!