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