When it comes to becoming stronger, leaner and healthier it is important to understand the basics of human movement. Everything that we do physically can be split up into the 7 primal movement patterns.
Even if your goal is to become a bodybuilder, shaping each body part like Dr Frankenstein, this knowledge is important. The primal movement patterns of your body can be used to create a stronger, fitter, more harmonious body.
Primal Movement 1 – Push
Pushing comes in two forms, horizontal and vertical. Horizontal comes into play when you are opening a door, pushing your failing car up a hill, or shoving someone away from you. Vertical is where you are required to hold or press something above your head.
The movements require strong triceps, shoulders and pecs. In real life however, your entire body will get involved in a pushing movement.
Some of the best exercises to train this movement are:
- Push ups/Bench Press
- Close Grip Bench/Floor Press
- Overhead Press Variations
- Landmine Press
Pushing is a vital movement to your overall physical prowess. Include it!
Primal Movement 2 – Pull
Pulling also comes in the forms horizontal and vertical. Pulling is so important to your body functioning, but often gets less love than pushing does in the gym. A strong pull crosses over into a strong grip, a strong push, and general upper body strength.
The best movements to train your pull are:
- Pull ups, Chin ups/Pull downs
- Barbell/Dumbbell Rows
- T-Bar/Cable Rows
- Sled Pulls
Primal Movement 3 – Hinge
This movement has a simple self explanatory name, a hinge. This is a great illustration to think about how your body works. A hinge has a fixed mid point from where the rest of it can pivot. This “mid point” on your body is your hips. This area is where so much of your power comes from, and strong hips generally translates to more strength, greater athletic performance, and a better posture.
The moves that train the hinge movement include;
- Romanian Deadlift
- Kettlebell Swings
Strengthening the hinge movement will jump start your progress in all other aspects of your training.
Primal Movement 4 – Squat
You may have heard discussion about how children when they are toddlers have the ability to sit in a perfect squat effortlessly. This is also true for people in countries like Thailand, India etc. In the west, we have lost the ability to do this because we sit on chairs.
This movement however can be developed beyond a relaxation position. By strengthening your ability to squat, you will grow stronger in your whole body, and see benefits to your back health, joints and balance.
Primal Movement 5 – Lunge
Picking things up, looking under the sink, proposing to your girlfriend, these all require lunging. This movement is extremely useful in everyday life, or if you happen to get into a sword fight.
Training this movement just requires you to mimic it with some resistance. Some suggested exercises are:
- Barbell Lunges
- Dumbbell lunges
- Bulgarian Split Squats
Primal Movement 6 – Twist
Rotating your body from right to left is required daily. Perhaps you aren’t an old school lumberjack, but the movement will come into practice in all sports, lifting things, and throwing a punch.
To train this effectively, you need to be a little more inventive.
- Paloff Press
- Tornado Ball/Medicine ball wall slams
- Punching a bag
Primal Movement 7 – Gait
This essentially means your ability to walk. This might seen simple, however, many people have posture or hip issues that stops them from walking properly. Getting these sorted out can contribute to your overall physical health immensely.
How your gait should be improved:
- Fixing posture, or hip imbalances
- Prowler Pushes
- Uphill walking
Putting it all together
Always remember that your body functions as a whole. This means that in your training, having a psychological shift toward movements and away from muscle groups can be very beneficial.
First and foremost you are a mover, everything else that you do should be predicated upon that idea.