When I first heard of primal movement, I instantly thought of a caveman. Surely primal movement workouts would consist of crawling through mud, carrying sharp sticks around a forest, and stooping to pick berries, right?
Primal movement does, in fact, mean getting back to our roots. It involves using fundamental human movement patterns, motions that are a foundation for all of us.
Many of these are movements we used to do as kids, and many are movements we see animals doing all the time too.
Primal movement workouts have arisen in popularity recently, especially as more people turn to prevention as the best medicine. They help you become a more nimble and capable human, as well as much more resilient. This means reduced risk of injury and better overall body function.
And who doesn’t want a well-functioning body that is ready for whatever the day throws at you?
Cue your 20 minute primal movement workout!
5 Primal Movement Workouts
Before we dive in, there’s a few other quick notes to be made about primal movements.
Primal Movement Patterns
There are said to be 7 primal movement patterns, dubbed by Paul Chek of the C.H.E.K. Institute. They are squat, lunge, bend, push, pull, twist, and gait (as in walking, running, and sprinting).
Sound like a full-body workout?
Well, yes! These are the foundational movements behind ALL of our activities. Doing 7 exercises that incorporated these movement patterns (think squats, lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, rows, Russian twists, and farmer carries) would be quite an effective full-body, primal movement workout.
But honestly, there’s so much more you can do too.
Some of my favorite primal movements involve a combination of the movement patterns. For examples, bear crawls and kicks sits are 2 of my favorites. Nothing feels quite as good as moves like these that force you to build your strength while also increasing your mobility and balance.
So I’ve compiled a list of 5 primal movement workouts that incorporate the basic primal movement patterns with all their benefits, but are also creative, fun, and push the moves a little further.
Trust me, these are great workouts and I’m sure you’ll like them as much as I do.
Primal Movement Workout #1 – SaturnoMovement
This is the perfect beginner primal movement workout to dip your toes in the water. Yassir does an excellent job explaining each move and inviting you to consider how each feels to you. We all have different bodies and backgrounds, so it’s important to keep in mind your own physical readiness for every position, especially as you get started with primal movement.
Primal Movement Workout #2 – Movement Parallels Life
If you are ready to step it up a notch, this is stellar 25 minute workout. The moves are all well thought out and very creative. I love the different combinations of exercises he chooses. Some will definitely challenge you, but the result will be a stronger, more agile body. I mean, just look at how effortlessly he moves through all of these!
Primal Movement Workout #3 – Charlie Follows
This is a great combination of both primal movement and yoga, which definitely do have some overlap. Minutes 5 – 20 will get you a bit more out of breath with dynamic, aerobic movements, while the first and last 5 minutes are all about stretching. Charlie incorporates a lot of my favorite primal movements in here, including kick sits and monkey jumps/walks.
Primal Movement Workout #4 – Human 2.0 Fitness
I LOVE the moves incorporated in this 30 minute workout. That’s why I still had to include it, even though the audio isn’t my favorite since it’s in a slightly echo-y room.
Emma knows her stuff! I love the emphasis she makes multiple times on warming up the joints, especially the wrists, as so much weight gets put on the hands with primal movements. Love, love, love this one.
Primal Movement Workout #5 – Animal Flow
I simply had to include a video from Animal Flow, which is a major program in the primal movement world. Mike Fitch, the creator of the program, is a leader in the realm of primal movement. Here he walks you through a great beginner workout. Like Emma in the video above, he also focuses a lot on warming up the wrists and moving comfortably in your own range of motion. This is a great workout for getting started!
All of these primal movement workouts help increase your strength, improve your balance, make you more flexible, and help you move more gracefully. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
My interest in primal movement ramped up when I started taking parkour classes. I wanted to trust my body more, as well as move more fluidly.
Let me know in the comments below what got you interested in primal movement!