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The Funkiest (and Possibly Most Powerful) Functional Movements You’ve Never Tried

Original Strength MovementsMy hamstrings are still sore.

But I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything different.

After all, that’s what happens when you spend four hours straight doing double kettlebell swings for. Not smart. But it was too much fun to miss out on.

You see, two weekends ago I had a chance to attend an amazing StrongFirst kettlebell workshop held by my main man Chris Lopez, SFGII from Fit and Busy Dad

This was a jam-packed prep-style workshop designed to help participants (well, mainly me) perfect some of the more explosive kettlebell movements – swings, snatches, TGUs, etc. And let me tell you that there’s no better way to improve in something than to get live feedback from someone who knows what they’re doing. 

But that’s not what I want to talk about today.

Today I want to talk about something else that happened during that workshop.

Something that kind of blew my mind. Something I’ve never seen before. And something I’ve been experimenting with (and will continue to experiment with) for the next little while.

Let me show you.

The workshop started off as you would think – with a warm up routine. After all, we were going to be handling kettlebells for four hours so our bodies needed a bit of prep work.

And I’m used to my traditional warm-up routine (which I’ll share in detail with you soon). Some light aerobic activity. Some corrective stretching. And some dynamic mobility work. 

But Chris showed us something completely different.

Something that, to some degree, puts all of those elements into play at once.

Chris had us doing all sorts of crazy crawls, body rolls, and funky movements to get our heart rate up and our joints and muscles loosened up. He claims to have been experimenting with this style of warm up for some time now and that it’s made his workouts that much better.

And, after going through the short routine, I could immediately see why.

The movements really helped open up my hips and shoulders – two things that are key for intense training (particularly with kettlebells). 

So what exactly did we do?

Introducing Original Strength

The movements I’m about to show you have been around forever, or at least for as long as you’ve been alive. That’s because these are movements that you were constantly doing when you were an infant.

Crawling.

Rolling.

Rocking.

These are all things you did as a baby, but I don’t blame you if you don’t remember. If you’d like proof, here’s a video that demonstrates exactly what I’m talking about. 

Note: if the video isn’t showing up, simply refresh the page and it will appear like magic.

Introducing Tim Anderson.

He’s the guy who realized how far we’ve veered from our ability to perform these primal – err original – movements. He’s the guy Chris referenced at the workshop and I instantly started digging into his material.

Tim is the author of Original Strength, the training system that is designed to help you regain the strength, mobility, and stability you once had as a child.

You Were Made To Move. 

You were also meant to thrive and be resilient. That is the truth. Original Strength is the training system that seeks to give you what you are supposed to have, what you once had: A strong, mobile, healthy, resilient body that allows you to embrace life and live.

-Tim Anderson, Original Strength

Now about these movements…

Here’s the thing: they’re very simple. 

They incorporate rolling, crawling, flexing, extending, and moving in a way you used to move as a child (the way you were designed to move). 

I created a short video for you to outline some of these movements.

But please note that I’ve only recently started playing around with this stuff (although I’m really enjoying it) and there’s a lot more to it than I show here. But it’s a start. And it should be enough to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. If you want to get more in depth with this (like I’m planning to), definitely pick up Tim’s book Original Strength.

In the video, I demonstrate movements like the segmented rolls, rockers, baby crawls, leopard crawls, and spiderman crawls (among others).

What you’ll first notice when trying some of these movements, particularly the series of crawls, is that they feel slightly awkward. That’s OK. You just haven’t done them in a few decades.

My recommendation is to just let go. Stop thinking!

These movement patterns are already wired inside your brain. You developed them long, long ago. And you just need to let them take over. Try not to over-think the movements. Let your body do what it knows to do best – move.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

It’s more than just a warm up

As I’ve been playing around with these functional movement patterns for a short time now, I’ve come to the realization that they don’t have to be reserved just for warm-ups. As Tim says, original strength is your foundation. These were the original movements that you perhaps lost along the way. 

So why not incorporate these super functional movements into your training?

Why not throw them in your workout?

In fact, at the KB workshop, Chris told us an interesting story about Tim. He’s known as Spiderman in his hometown because wherever he goes, he crawls like the superhero. You can see him spiderman crawling for a mile here

I’ve found that it’s very easy to take advantage of these full-body movements and create complete workouts around them.

Find a big field or a steep hill and do some basic crawls.

Here’s a simple video I created to show you what doing spiderman crawls up a hill looks like. Looks simple, but do about 20 of them in a row and see how it gets all your muscles firing.

Check it out:

Conclusion

While these movements may look simple, I assure you they’ll get your body firing in ways you never expected. 

If you have poor flexibility and find that you’re having trouble executing some of the movements properly, start slowly. Work only with the movements you feel comfortable with. Then progress to the more difficult ones. I also recommend you do a light session of aerobic activity before you jump into these movements to get your muscles loosened up a bit. That’s worked well for me.

Then start working these movements into your conditioning workouts. 

Like I’ve said, I’ve only recently started playing around with this stuff so it’s all relatively new to me, but as I get better at the movements myself and start to play around with new training ideas, I’ll be sure to share them.

Again, if you want to dig deeper into this stuff, check out Original Strength.

Now it’s your turn to voice your thoughts…

What’s the funkiest warm-up, movement, or exercise that you’ve ever done? Share it in the comments below. And tell me what makes the movement so effective.

And, of course, if you have any questions about anything discussed in today’s post, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Cheers!

greg daniel - August 28, 2013

srdjan,

Have you seen or heard about Ido Portal. You should check him/it out if not.

He’s all about movement.

    Srdjan Popovic - August 29, 2013

    Never heard of it, but I just checked it out and it looks like they’re doing some really cool stuff there. I’ll make sure to dig in some more. Thanks for sharing Greg.

greg daniel - August 28, 2013

And then there’s Naudi Aguilar and his Functional Patterns. Check it out.

Eric - August 28, 2013

Great post Srdj,
I definitely want to incorporate these movements into my routine and read that book. These movements look fun! How can these moves benefit me as a soccer player?

    Eric - August 28, 2013

    Also, what did you mean by corrective stretching? Thanks for your valuable time and knowledge!

      Srdjan Popovic - August 29, 2013

      I think these movements would benefit any athlete because they teach the body to work as a unit. On top of that, they help you develop your mobility, coordination, and functional strength – things that you need if you don’t want to get knocked off the ball.

      As for corrective stretching, do me a favor and check out next week’s post. There’s a huge section about it there.

Rinat Tagirov - August 28, 2013

What does the word “conditioning” stand for? Sorry, it’s probably the stupidest question of all times but I’m tired of always seeing the word and not grasping its exact meaning.

    Srdjan Popovic - August 29, 2013

    No such thing as a stupid question Rinat. I guess the word conditioning is a little vague, but I use it in the sense that it represents your overall fitness level. It is the process of training your body to adapt to stress, so that you can last longer doing whatever it is you’re training for (example: it becomes easier to run for longer periods as your conditioning improves). I hope that makes sense!

      Rinat Tagirov - August 30, 2013

      Much obliged! I was nowhere near such interpretation. Yeah, now it definitely does make sense. Okay, it’s time for me to go be a baby for a while!

Johan - August 28, 2013

Looks a bit like the awesome “Animal Flow” fitness system made by Mike Fitch from Globalbodyweighttraining.com. Chek it out. It might be a very welcome eyeopener for most people, and confirmation and support for those allready into functional movements.

    Srdjan Popovic - August 29, 2013

    Global bodyweight training has some awesome stuff! I love their tutorials on mastering certain bodyweight movements. I also like gymnasticswod.com. The videos their are bomb!

Alykhan - Fitness Breakout - August 28, 2013

Srdjan,

It’s funny about the same time you posted this, I saw a post on Mark’s Daily Apple about different ways to recover quickly from workouts and he actually recommends crawling as one of them. So you’re right that it’s not just about warm ups, but instead improving overall mobility and athleticism which in turn enables you to handle more demanding workouts.

Alykhan

    Srdjan Popovic - August 29, 2013

    Sweet! I’ll have to check out that article. I can definitely see it being useful for recovery as well.

Casey Holliman, LMT - September 5, 2013

These are great. The movements shown are very basic, but very functional and would also show any imbalances or compensation patterns that may be going on in the hips and shoulders. The Spiderman crawl is something I will for sure try, seems it would open up the hips a lot, which is an area I need to work on more.

    Srdjan Popovic - September 11, 2013

    I think the fact that they’re basic is key. Let me know how the Spiderman crawl goes!

    Srdjan Popovic - September 15, 2013

    Awesome! Glad you found them useful Casey. Let me know how it they work out for you.

Fabien SÉVIN - October 17, 2013

When I first read your post, my curiosity was picked and I was very interested by the subject. So I bought Original Strength. I finished it two days ago and I really recommend it.
It’s really astonishing to discover how our body and brain are supposed to work, how they learn and prepare for life and how we are ruining everything with our civilized habits.
So I decided to Reset… And I had a good laugh when I did my first one arm roll and noted that I was barely able to do it. But now, it’s my third day and when I’m performing rolls, my back and my abs are blessing me πŸ™‚
Rockings rock too, specially the wide knees rocking which is delightful for hips.
I didn’t do crawls seriously yet, I just tried to race with my cat with baby crawlings… I lost… Next time I’ll use the leopard mode…
With those movements I quickly discover that I have imbalances, but it feels like they already began to fade a bit !
So I’ll keep pushing the Reset Button every day.
And thanks for making me (us) discover that awesome practice πŸ™‚

    Srdjan Popovic - October 21, 2013

    Sounds like you’re really making use of this Fabien! Awesome!
    Keep me posted with your progress. I’d love to hear how it works for you in the long run.

    PS – I never want to hear that you lost to your cat in a crawling challenge again. You’re better than that πŸ™‚

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