Spreading the Natural Movement Gospel
movnat play training
The Lead Up
I started with a basic ground movement sequence, great for the hips. My client was surprised at how difficult it was for her to move with balance on the ground, thanks to tight hips and weak core stabilizers. The department head hovered ominously with a clipboard, taking copious notes. It was quite an unorthodox warmup, and I don't think they really knew how to interpret it. I also included some over-unders to prep for the deadlift.
After that, I led my client over to the barbells to teach a basic deadlift, useful both for MovNat--as a practical skill--and for my client's stated goals of losing some weight. She asked the anticipated, "Won't this make me bulk up?" I had rehearsed that question and handled it deftly. I also explained that the deadlift was also useful in its own right, beyond its weight loss potential.
She nodded and we proceeded with the lift. Nothing fancy. I taught the move, she did a set of five, and we were done.
Now was the real test. I was going to teach another personal trainer how to crawl like a baby.
The Grand Finale
We found some open space, and I explained what we were going to do and why: to provide a balanced workout, to include the upper body, and to segue into a more dynamic 'combo'. She seemed interested, so we went ahead.
I got on my hands and knees and showed her how to crawl. Back and forth we went until she got the hang of the correct limb sequence (right-arm-left-leg). Nothing too exciting, and I was worried this was going to be too simplistic to even be interesting. After all, we had only done one lift and one other movement normally not associated with fitness training. It certainly wasn't the latest sexy beach-body circuit cut out of a magazine.
I had her get off her knees and move to a foot-hand crawl, and introduced a drill I made up called a Chameleon crawl (sorry Joseph, I know you hate it when I use animal names :-). Video of this drill to come soon). Now she was working, and she started to get flustered at how difficult it was to maintain the correct sequence.
Finally, I brought it all together and had her try a combination of the crawl and a deadlift with an odd object. Between the requirements of moving efficiently in the crawl, getting up, and then lifting the load, my client was clearly challenged. She kept losing her contralateral pattern and laughing at how difficult it was. She got really engaged trying to maintain concentration. I knew I had her hooked at that point.
Her exact words were, "There was nothing boring about that workout!"
What I find really interesting about this is that I wasn't teaching anything mind-blowing. We weren't practicing vaults or precision jumps or even climbing techniques. It was a simple crawl, on a flat open surface. The challenge lay in doing the simple movement with coordination and efficiency, and transitioning smoothly to a stand up and a deadlift without losing rhythm.
I was of course hoping that the trainer I was training would appreciate the nuances of MovNat's methods, but I was actually kind of surprised that she found it so challenging. That aspect made me wonder about the kind of "fitness" we are advocating as a society. It seems to support only the least common denominator, so watered down that it is only good for staving off infirmity.
I think I nailed the interview. Not only was it a good workout, it was fun, reminiscent of play, and it was challenging. I think it was an approach that they hadn't seen before, and one that they could see would change the way college students approached their health. I'm excited for this opportunity to share a totally new paradigm of what fitness can be: liberating, playful, and empowering.
Find out more about my coaching in Boulder! Check out Warrior Spirit Movement.