How to move like a human


Being a movement-based exercise studio means that helping our members move correctly is a huge part of our mission. Sure, we need to provide the results our member's want too - weight loss, muscle gain, improved core strength etc. but at the end of the day none of these goals can be reached by a person unable to move correctly while staying in good health and uninjured.

The Primal patterns

This catchy term just refers to the key movements of a human being. The word primal relates us back to our cave ancestors who were still able to move as nature intended, before we became static, seated, and immobile. Without these patterns working well they weren't likely to survive for long. These days the chances are slim that we'll be run down by a predator, but we do leave ourselves open to injury and dysfunction if we can't move well.

Whether we call them primal patterns or human movements we are all born with near perfect ability to move, and it is only through our growing lives that we take on the restrictions of limited movement. These will usually come about from our physical activity levels, the specific movements we engage in, and our working habits.

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What are the human movements?

  • Squatting
    • the primal person had to squat to move heavy objects, eat and defecate. These days we're not required to move anything very heavy (unless we train in resistance exercise) and we mainly sit to do the others. The squat still remains the key movement to sustain leg strength and spinal health as well as being directly linked to mortality.
  • Bending
    • early man would have used the bend to build a shelter and prepare food. Today it is probably the most common movement we'd do as we bend daily in a lot of activities such as picking up the kids (or after them) or in manual jobs. Incorrect bending and poor core strength commonly leads to injury.
  • Pushing
    • pushing would have been a key movement in gathering heavy objects to build a shelter. If we're not training our pushing muscles with an exercise routine including a push up-type exercise, chances are we're weak at this movement. Include full range push ups while keeping good core stability.
  • Pulling
    • to tow a large downed animal back to the cave our ancestor would pull and drag it back. Think about the last time you may have dragged anything anywhere..... ? If you rely on hanging the washing to tick this movement off think again. Get a row of some kind into your workouts - your core and posture will love you for it.
  • Twisting
    • twisting may well be the most important of all the Primal Pattern Movements because it’s an integral part of most of these other functional movements. For example, twisting is an essential part of throwing, which was key for hunting and protection. The most common source of back injuries today is a movement that combines twisting and bending, coupled with poor technique and/or core conditioning.
  • Lunging
    • lunging was an essential movement for traversing rough terrain. Today, you can see the lunge pattern used in most sports and even the work place. Failure to lunge correctly greatly increases your chances of falling, which is one of the leading causes of death among the elderly. A good reason to take up golf in the golden years them?
  • Gait
    • walking, jogging and sprinting are all variations of what we know as gait. With a kill on his back, early man had to walk home across varied and often rough terrain. Communicating messages over long distances during times of battle or emergency, jogging was often employed, while running from a tiger or enemy may well have required all out sprinting. Today, all but those who are bed or wheelchair bound continue to walk, while a smaller segment of the population jogs and an even smaller segment of the population (mostly athletes) still sprints. Add some running and sprinting to


What Should you do if you can't perform some of these?

Get yourself along to a movement specialist - a personal trainer is a great start. They can help you identify patterns you're weak or restricted in, and formulate a programme to address the issues. Often this will involve a movement assessment, followed by mobility drills, stretches and strength training to bring the body back into balance.