Is primal movement all that it’s made out to be?

Is primal movement all that it’s made out to be?

Is primal movement all that it’s made out to be?


With workouts and movements constantly evolving, it’s hard to keep track of what’s new in the fitness space. But primal movement has been picking up mass popularity.

If you haven’t heard about it or don’t quite grasp what it’s about, it’s an approach to movement that prioritises the most basic and natural of movements. They involve movements we’ve picked up as a baby, or instinctual movements from primal days which are said to help our bodies gain flexibility, prevent and repair injury, and build strength and skills.

A workout going back to our primal movements may sound easy but actually involves more than what you think. We have, after all, as humans evolved from the primal days so going “back to basics” may not necessarily be as instinctual to us anymore.

With no standard definition to what primal fitness actually entails, many have theorised if the end-result workouts of primal movement reflect what true primal fitness really entailed.

For example, cavemen may have sprinted to avoid danger, but they didn’t do it meticulously as pre-planned workouts, meaning that the end results may not necessarily reflect what true primal fitness involved.

In comparison to the primal man, our bodies may have evolved over time – for example, become more lean with smaller bone structures and hands and feet (clearly we don’t need to climb trees and outrun animals anymore).

We also are born into a world where training tools and systems are advanced. But primal movement ignores these modern innovations. So, is primal movement ready for the modern day training?

Boils down to technique

According to researchers, the movement or workout isn’t quite the topic up for debate. They claim it’s more to do with the techniques or conditioning received from these techniques.

For example, the muscles on your arms don’t know the difference between training using logs or kettlebells. All they know is that there is resistance, not where the resistance comes from. So, even if you’re getting your workout from primal movement exercises like Animal Flow or ZUU, or high intensity training (HIIT), the key lies in performing the moves correctly.

Researchers say this training (be it primal movement or otherwise) should involve seven basic moves: squat; lunge; push; pull; bend; twist; and gait.

Key fitness benefits of these movements include strengthened joints, ligaments and tendons through full ranges and a superior level of conditioning which results in fat burn and lean muscle building. They also increases your anaerobic threshold, strengthening your aerobic and cardio system, increasing mobility, flexibility, stability, power, endurance, skill and neuromuscular communication.

So, what you should actually be looking for is to be stronger and healthier. If that involves your interest in primal movement, then so be it. Regardless of your training method, the workout should still address your modern needs, in a wide-ranging way.