What if I told you that all of those big, shiny and expensive “thigh buster”, “ab crusher”, “boody banishing” pieces of equipment that form long lines of eager fitness members and athletes at your gym to use – were useless. And, what if I told you that not only do these $7,000 pieces of scrap metal not help you get stronger or lose weight, but they can cause the cartilage in your knees and shoulders to fray and disassemble faster than the break pads on a yellow school bus.
The reason why you are wasting your time, money and efforts training with these highly marketed and over priced lever machines is because they do not support human movement as it was meant by our evolution. Developmental man had to survive and thrive in the dangerous and unforgiving terrain of the prehistoric Earth. We are alive today, living in the relative comfort and ease that we do because of the physical prowess and rugged strength of our ancestors. Our great, great, great (x 190) grandfathers needed to build shelter, hunt prey, avoid predators and search for food with nothing more than his two hands and a set of legs. This consistent demand on his physical capacities caused our ancestor to have super lean, strong, sinewy muscles developed through the application of his own primal movement patterns.
According to holistic health practitioner Paul Chek, the foundation for all basic human movements can reduced down to only six “Primal Patterns”. These patterns are examples of Generalized Motor Programs – what this means is that our brain stores single movement patterns that can be executed alone, in tandem, or simultaneously to one another to create every movement that the body must perform for survival. An example of a generalized movement pattern is the squat. If a person cannot squat effectively then he is at risk of physical dysfunction and injury, among other things. This fact supposes that if one were to improve their strength and fitness level he must perform squats as opposed to using a leg press or a leg curl machine in the gym to improve performance.
Today we are nothing more than primal men wearing Ed Hardy t-shirts and Lucy Jeans, sitting at desks all day long. It would then follow; that in order for us to construct the lean, rock solid and strong bodies that our ancestors had – we must move the way they moved. We must perform primal pattern exercises, and since many of our bodies have become so stiff, uncoordinated and dysfunctional we must also find ways to perform “dumbed down” versions of what was one essential to perform. Also, if you are of above average fitness you will need to include “hyped up” versions of these patterns also.
Below I will outline and discuss each of the Primal Patterns that I teach you about it my e- book
Unleash Your Primal Edge, how to execute them and how to include them into your exercise program.
For more information about using Primal Patterns to burn fat and build strength check out:
The most basic of all movements, the squat is an essential pattern functionally to be able to move in and out of a seated position, tie your shoe laces, pick up groceries, etc. Physiologically this movement builds strength in the abdominals, low back, glutes (butt muscles) quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Besides building strength and flexibility, the squat aids in the function of digestion and elimination by massaging internal organs.
The most basic form of a squat is a bodyweight squat, this can be performed by simply sitting down on a chair and then standing up or in the same manner in absence of a chair. An advanced version of the squat would be a barbell back squat or a vertical jump.
Being able to perform a lunge grants you the functional ability to sprint, throw, reach down to pick something off the floor and climb stairs. The muscles included in the lunge patterns include your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, core and calves. A properly performed lunge will aid in the maintenance of healthy knees and hips.
A basic form of the lunge would be a single leg toe touch. This unilateral exercise forces the exerciser to stand on one leg and touch his toe with the opposite hand; this builds balance, coordination and strength in the legs and core. An example of advanced lunging includes split jumping and weighted step-ups.
Although bending has gotten a bad reputation and all movements intended for bending have been reduced to squatting, this is among the most important of all primal patterns to be able to execute. It is necessary to be able to perform a functionally sound bend in order to pick up young children, replace your water cooler bottles and even “addressing the ball” in golf. A strong bender will have a functional core, abdominals, glutes, hamstrings, upper back, low back, and shoulder.
Your most primitive form of bending is to simple pivot forward at the hips and reach for the floor with slightly bent knees. All people should have the capacity to touch the floor with their fingertips. Some people think it is funny that they cant touch the floor with their hands, I just think it’s sad. An advanced form of the bend is the barbell-loaded dead lift or keg carries.
A basic upper body movement, the push is essential in order to throw objects, move yourself up off the floor and the occasional I-ran-out-of-gas car push. Physiologically, this pattern builds strength and flexibility in the shoulders and upper arms.
A very basic form of the push pattern is the push up exercise, performed properly or from the knees this exercise will strengthen and condition the core, shoulders, bicpes and triceps. An advanced version of the push pattern would be a barbell loaded bench press, a standing weighted push press, or medicine ball chest pass.
The pull is an essential upper body primal pattern for the function of picking things off the floor, pulling yourself up or onto something and, pulling stubborn mules. The muscles used to perform a pull pattern include the upper back, lats, shoulders and biceps. Also, most pulling requires a strong grip and strong hands.
Pull ups, inverted rows, pull downs and dumbbell rows are all simple forms of the pull pattern and can be executed by most individuals. Advanced pulling is often performed in athletics including Olympic Weightlifting, Strongman events and bodybuilding. Other sports where pulling capacity is essential include rowing, swimming, and tug-of-war!
Some believe that the capacity to twist may be among the most important of all primal pattern movements due to the fact that it is often found in the execution of several activities. The twist is very rarely executed by itself and often has a great influence on the performance of the other primal patterns. A great example would be throwing a ball or spear. Because of its complexity, twisting is often associated with many of the back problems that modern man faces. Since twisting of the spine is an integral part of almost every movement performed in life, it is safe to say that if you can’t twist – you must learn how.
Laying trunk rotations and gentle lower body twisting a great ways to improve twisting capacity and flexibility. If you have a functional core, flexibility, and stability in the back and abs it may be safe for you to perform such twisting exercises as sledgehammer slams and medicine ball side passes.