Category Archives: MOVE

How to Integrate MovNat Into Your Strength and Conditioning Routine

To build your own MovNat program, it’s important to understand the relationship between conditioning and skill acquisition.  Far from being mutually exclusive, your current strength and conditioning program can absolutely feed into a rich natural movement practice.  The key is progression – a relationship I call the skill-conditioning continuum.

Conditioning-Skill Continuum Arc

Gray Cook writes in his book “Movement” that we should never add strength to a movement dysfunction.  This sentiment is echoed in MovNat’s philosophy – you will gain conditioning through training movement skills, but not necessarily the other way around. Continue reading

MovNat Warm Up Flow #1

Hi gang!

Recently, I’ve been playing around with some different movement flows as the dynamic portion of my warm up and movement preparation.  Here is a sequence I really like, especially for preparing the hips for any kind of squatting, lunging, running, etc.  Give it a try and see how you feel!

All the best,

-Matt

Sandbag Carry “Finisher”

This is a great way to finish your movement session or workout.  Start with a decently heavy sandbag (the one pictured was 80#).  Find a bunch of different ways to carry it, and rotate through those carries for 10 minutes, switching after one variation fatigues or after a set distance, such as 20 yards.  Not only is this very functional, but challenging as well!

Deadlift set up.  Make sure you keep a neutral spine!

Deadlift set up. Make sure you keep a neutral spine!

Continue reading

Body Maps

MOVEMENT NERD ALERT!  The following contains detailed information in which I geek out about movement, mobility, and how the body works.  Proceed at your own risk.

What is a body map, and what role does it play in how we move?

Body maps are an important but little known concept in understanding human movement.  Body maps can be thought of as the blueprints of our physical selves stored in our brain.  The brain accesses these “blueprints” in order to help us navigate through our environment – i.e. move.

The more precisely these maps have been drawn, the better we are at movement and adapting to different situations.  We won’t always have a barbell evenly weighted to pick up in a standard grip and stance – if we are more aware of our body position (i.e. have a detailed body map to work with), the better chance we have to lift the object safely and effectively.  On the other hand, the more out of focus our body maps, the greater potential for dysfunction and pain. Continue reading

Programming Principle #1 – Movement, Naturally

On this program, we will focus on locomotive training such as: balancing, crawling, jumping, climbing, and running, as well as some manipulative moves like lifting and carrying.  The reasons for this are many:

  1. Any Where, Any Time - Body weight exercises provide us the flexibility to do workouts wherever and whenever, regardless of access to a gym or weight training room.
  2. Natural & Practical - These exercises are a part of our everyday lives.  They are real-world movements that provide us with the strength and know-how to have fun and be safe.  They engage our bodies and our brains, teaching us how to “move”, not just how to be strong.  (Can you think of many real world applications for a leg extension?  Now think about a squat.  How many times do you sit down and get up throughout the day?)
  3. Avoid Injury - Smart, well-coached barbell training rocks – and contrary to popular belief, is very safe.  (Organized weightlifting has fewer incidences of injury than ANY other sport.)  Unfortunately, good hands-on coaching, programming, and equipment is not readily available – and can be expensive.  The chances of you hurting yourself while under a weighted bar without supervision are not only much worse than un-weighted movements, but the severity of possible injury increases with the weight.  We want to re-teach your body how to move, to be aware of how it interacts with your environment and to develop functional strength.  You do not need more than your own body weight to do this.
  4. Balance - These exercises balance one another, providing great overall strength while making sure each part of the working whole is well-tended to.
  5. Scalability - These exercises are not only scalable to any ability level, but can easily be ramped up to challenge even the most serious athlete.
  6. Simple to Technical - These movements are beautiful in their simplicity, and demanding in their technicality.  You can continue to improve your form on these movements over years of training.  What’s more, once you have some of the basic movements down, you can combine these into even more challenging ones.  (For example, once you have a pull-up and a ring-dip down, you can start working towards a muscle-up – as challenging and technical a movement as we have in fitness training, or just go out and climb.)
  7. Minimalist - It doesn’t cost you any money to workout with your own bodyweight.  And for those of you who want to ramp it up a notch, a couple of small, easily available and cheaply made pieces of equipment are all you need to keep your workouts challenging, varied, and fun for years to come!  Or you can mosey on down to your local park.
  8. Fun & Variety - Once you get a couple of the basics down, you’ll be amazed by how much fun you can have working out and developing new skills – the entire world becomes your playground.  Handstands, muscle-ups, kongs, or parkour tumbling – there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

Try to MOVE 3 days a week. This provides us with enough intensity that we can continue to make gains, while allowing for adequate recovery to avoid burnout.  The goal is to maximize your health potential, not beat you into the dirt day-in and day-out.  You can start by following along with our cycles of programming, which just started up this past week (January 2013).

Also, because you only need to “work out” 3 days a week, it provides you with a lot of scheduling flexibility to fit your needs.  I try to take a couple of days out of my week as “free” days to go and play with friends or just stay active.  This is the seasoning on your programming that will reinforce why we are doing this in the first place.

Let’s get to it!

-Matt

Introducing FreeFit Guy Programming Cycles

Hi everyone!

 

I have some exciting news to announce.  Some of you may have seen the recent Movement Combo videos I’ve been posting on the site.  I’ve had so much fun making them and doing them that I’ve decided to make them a dedicated series here on FreeFit Guy.

IMG_0351

The programming will follow a 3 days/week schedule for a 3 week cycle.  During the first week, we’ll introduce baseline movements and a rep/set scheme to go with it.  Each successive week in the cycle, we’ll introduce progressions and variations on the original scheme to keep you engaged and having fun with your training!

After 3 weeks is up, we’ll start the next cycle with three new baseline workouts.  Pretty soon we’ll have an awesome library of movement and skill-based workouts to keep you entertained and fit for a long time to come!  Sounds pretty sweet, huh?

Hopefully, y’all are as excited about this as I am.  To get you started, here are the first 3 days in Cycle 1.

Cycle 1, Week 1, Day 1 – Baby Power

Cycle 1, Week 1, Day 2 – Balance Gap

Cycle 1, Week 1, Day 3 – Depth Carry

Enjoy!

-Matt