As I sit here on my Macbook, listening to music on a Bluetooth speaker, and watching the Red Sox and Blue Jays game on a smart television, I had a thought. I haven’t had access to all of these luxuries my entire life. I actually remember typing on a typewriter in grade school. I used to listen to cassette tapes and CD’s on a stereo with huge space-consuming speakers, and watch basic cable on the giant box that was a television.
Now let’s take a look at the people of old, basically the people of the hunter-gatherer era. Do you ever just wonder how they did it? If these people couldn’t move well, they couldn’t hunt. If they couldn’t hunt, they starved. If they starved, well they looked like this…
Our ancestors used certain movements to stay alive and these movements are called the primal movements. If certain muscles failed during these primal movements our ancestors may have missed dinner or lets be honest, they may have died.
“Tyler, what are these primal movements you speak of? How many are there? How important are they?” Thanks for asking. There are 7 primal movements and they are very important to how our bodies move and function. Let’s explore and dissect what these movements look like and why they are important;
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have this motion down. Think about how many times a day you need to perform this function. Every time you get out of bed, leave your car, stand up from the dinner table, or drop something and pick it up. The squatting motion is everywhere.
We don’t hop or jump everywhere, we walk. When we walk we are on one foot at time. That requires balance and stability. Lunges not only help with each of those, but they also prepare us for multi-planar movement, which is a fancy way of saying changing direction. When we fall or trip, it isn’t just forward or backwards, it is in all directions. Lunges help with all of that.
This one should be common sense, but I will explain it anyway. We bend over a lot in life. The trick is how to do it properly to avoid injury. How many times a day do you bend over to pick something up, tie your shoes, or pick up that box of ex-girlfriend mementos and store it high and far away in your closet… Oops, I mean that box of old video games. (I really did myself no justice here with either example haha)
We push things over our heads, when we are on the ground we have to get up, or if you live in a place like my home state of Vermont, you have to push your car in the snow. The push movement is important for everyday functions.
We open and close doors. Perhaps you have to pull heavy objects for work. Maybe you are a badass and a masked vigilante that climbs rooftops at night. My point is the pull motion is important. The pull motion is great for our upright position and trust me, our society is a bunch of future Gru’s with bad posture. Add more pull movements into your workouts.
I know I have used this example, but when we fall we don’t just fall straight up and down, we twist. We twist a lot in daily functions and it is important to not only develop strength, but flexibility as well. Your body will thank you and many of life’s little joys will still be enjoyable if you are strong and flexible when it comes to the twisting movement. It also comes in handy when you have a crying baby that isn’t yours and you need to hand it off to the mom or dad.
Gait is just another word for walking, jogging, or sprinting. One of my biggest fears in life is not being able to do the movements mentioned above. We walk everywhere (or at least we should be) and if I anger mama bear I want to be able to run on those two legs.
Our bodies are pretty amazing things. We ask a lot of them every minute of the day and they will usually find a way to get these tasks done. However, just because our bodies get these tasks done, it doesn’t mean they were done correctly. Have you ever had an injury? Do you have any aches and pains? Most likely, these are caused from our bodies not performing at it’s best. Muscles may not be firing correctly which will cause other muscles and joints to overcompensate. Once that happens our aches and pains begin and injuries may happen. So do yourself a favor and add exercises into your routine that get the body moving in the primal way. If you have questions, invest in yourself and hire a trainer. I know a couple good ones (wink wink). As always “Awesome-ites”, I will always answer questions. Be Primal and Be Awesome!
Top 5: In honor of the 7 movements, the Top 5 is the Top 7. These are exercises you can do for each movement;
- Squat: Bodyweight, barbell, or goblet squats
- Lunges: Reverse, diagonal, or forward lunges
- Bend: Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Kettlebell Swings
- Push: Push-ups, overhead press
- Pull: Inverted rows, pull-up, chin-ups, Dumbbell/Kettlebell/Barbell Row
- Twist: Seated Russian twists, wood-chops,
- Gait: Walking, jogging, sprinting.