Could one of the reasons that so many of us make New Year’s resolutions to get in shape be that come 1stJanuary, we generally feel crummy after a week or more of eating and imbibing? Could one of the reasons that so many of us slack off on those resolutions be that we just really hate the gym? “Going to the gym” has more or less taken over as the popular conception of what it means to get in shape, but for some of us, the treadmills, the weights, the bizarre and confusing equipment have a deadening effect on our resolve. There is another way: movement training. And it can be taken up by anyone regardless of age, weight, or fitness level. Where should you start? Right where you are.
Primal-type movement has garnered more attention lately thanks to Conor McGregor, the Irish mixed martial arts fighter who has incorporated movement patterns into his training under the tutelage of Ido Portal.There are a lot of buzzwords associated with the trend, but at its heart this practice is about using the natural abilities and mechanics of your own body to be fit and to gain strength and flexibility without injury. Roll, walk like a crab, crawl like an alligator: this practice offers a thousand ways to train that are actually fun and provide a workout that can be tailored for every level – and, no, it’s got nothing to do with mixed martial arts.
If youalready practice a particular sport, primal movement processes have a lot to recommend them as an addition to or substitution for certain aspects of your training. The sheer range of movements available mean that you always have something you can dobesides just rehab to keep yourself strong and flexible. You’ll also broaden your spatial awareness and develop an ability to micro-adjust for the precise needs of your body to keep your joints healthy.
The practice is perfect for those who are motivated to work out at home and for walkers – head out on foot into the great outdoors or an urban park, get down, and walk like a monkey or leap like a frog. You’ll be surprised at how you can develop aerobic fitness and muscle tone while not doing boring crunches or push-ups.
It doesn’t take much to get started. For a basic tutorial and a massive dose of inspiration, go here to watch a short video of Ido Portal’s mother, who began training using her son’s method at the age of 58 after many years of physical inactivity. At 65, she can do a perfect pull-up.