“Hey! I want to do an intermediate-level MovNat Combo that focuses on some of the other climbing skills.”
Well, have I got the combo for you!
This MovNat Combo focuses on five skills:
- Front power traverse
- Side swing traverse
- Foot hand crawl
- Leg hook traverse
As you can see, it puts emphasis on three climbing skills, while giving your grip a bit of a rest during the running and crawling portions. The sequence offers an offset between the three climbing skills and the two ground traversing skills. This will purposefully vary which ground skill comes after which climbing skill. For instance, during the first round, running will follow the front power traverse. And on the second round, the foot hand crawl will follow the front power traverse. Offsetting is a great way to guarantee more variation; if not only in the transitions between skills.
Now let’s get into the specifics of each skill.
Front Power Traverse
To start things off, we have the front power traverse. This movement is used to quickly make your way across an element like a horizontal bar, tree limb, rope, chain, cable or even the lower part of an I-beam. And an obstacle course multi-rig is also where you would commonly use this skill.
With the arms bent at 90 degrees, it lessens the amount of discomfort that some may associate with brachiating — when the arms are fully extended. And even though the more efficient technique would be to keep the arms bent at 90 degrees, you can still be very effective with the arms opened at a wider angle.
The core helps to stabilize your upper body. While your legs “bicycle” in a contralateral fashion, with the motion of your arms. You do just enough to accomplish nice, efficient movement. And to maintain the energy needed to keep the arms at that 90-degree angle.
The video example, for the front power traverse, displays that skill performed over a length of about 16 feet. You have the option to make adjustments on the length. You can make that distance much shorter — or even longer. Just consider that you’ll want to give the other skills in the combo their due time.
After safely dismounting from your front power traverse, you immediately move into a brisk run. This run should only last 10 to 15 seconds. Again, this will help to keep the flow of the combo moving smoothly. And your run should incorporate key elements that represent a productive, general running technique:
- Landing on the forefoot; no heel striking
- Quick, light steps
- Arms bent at 90-degrees, swinging wrist to elbow
- Optimized tension and relaxation throughout the body
- Falling forward, to let gravity create your speed
- Limit inefficiencies
This running portion can also be turned into a sprint, to increase the intensity. Or it can be dialed down to a jog, to allow your system more rest between climbing skills.
Side swing traverse
A ledge, the bottom/side of a short bridge, handholds on a rock face. These present some opportunities for a nice side swing traverse. With a good grip, and by utilizing BWT (Body Weight Transfer), you can move from a start to endpoint, with efficient and fluid motion.
Get yourself some nice hand placements, with the top of the palms — where those callouses reside — over the SOS (Surface of Support). Now momentarily hang from that position. You should be relatively comfortable staying in one place.
When ready, initiate a side swinging motion by pulling one side of your body up toward the SOS while lifting your legs in unison to that same side. This motion may only take a second to achieve, before releasing the pull on one side and starting the sequence on the other side. This will create a pendulum motion with the body swinging in time with the pulls. Moving the legs side to side, with about a one-second to one and a half-second swing to each side. This is the side swing.
Once you’ve got a good side swing going, it’s time to traverse. You’ll accomplish this by releasing the grip of one hand, setting it back down in a progressing position, and then releasing the grip of the other hand and setting it back down in another progressing position. Keep in mind that this releasing of the grip comes immediately after the pulling motion to that side. On the apex of that pendulum swing, is when you release your grip on that same side. And, at that time, your bodyweight will be fully supported by your other hand — which is firmly gripping the SOS.
I recommend that you start both the side swinging and the side swing traverse slowly. You’ll want to maintain control of your pendulum swings. And this will help you to avoid swinging in a circular motion on the horizontal plane. If you start doing this circle swinging, it will make it more difficult to make “forward” progress in your traverse. And the extra wear and tear could cause you to prematurely lose your grip.
Note that if you only have a bar/limb that won’t allow you to traverse, you can always focus on doing just the side swing release (lifting alternating hands) while you stay in one place — say, for a total of 10 alternating lifts.
Foot hand crawl
The foot hand crawl is one of the faster crawling techniques. Done over a short or moderate distance, it’s also good for traversing uphill or on narrow surfaces. In this MovNat Combo you’ll be looking to cover about 20 yards using this foot hand crawl.
Keep your head relaxed. Your eyes looking ahead of you, while using your peripheral vision to survey your area. Shoulders stacked over your POS (Point of Support) when each hand makes firm contact with the SOS. The fingers will be spread apart, with the index fingers pointing forwards. This will help to reduce wrist pain during the crawl. The spine is in a neutral position, with the back parallel with the SOS. Take care not to elevate the hips too high, as this will unnecessarily challenge your stability. You’ll limit the side-to-side swaying of your hips, as the feet move in a contralateral motion with the hands. The knees will track forward, instead of flaring out to the sides. The balls of the feet provide the traction and pushing power of crawling, as the hands provide the pulling power (especially uphill).
Leg Hook Traverse
This skill allows you to traverse underneath an object, while using your hands to grip. And by hooking the back of your knees onto the object, for extra support. The traverse is done in a contralateral fashion. And also affords you the ability to get into a safe hanging/resting position during the traverse.
To mount the object, you’ll jump up and grab the object with both hands — one hand behind the other. Then you’ll lift your knees toward the object and immediately hook one leg over it. The other leg will stay in position, out to the side of the object. This will put you in position to start the leg hook traverse.
To start the traverse, the rear hand changes position to become the lead hand. And the contralateral (i.e. opposite) leg now hooks onto the object, allowing the other leg to move off to the side of the object. You’ll repeat this sequence until the traverse is complete.
Remember that your MovNat Combo should typically last from three to five rounds or for around five minutes. And with this 3:2 ratio of skills, you have a nice offset between climbing skills and ground traversing.
So hang in there (pun intended) and prepare yourself for more cool MovNat Combos, coming soon to a journal near you.
Want to Learn How to Move Like This?
If you’d like to deepen your movement practice and learn more about natural movement fitness, consider attending the MovNat Level 1 Certification or a MovNat Workshop. We hold events all around the world. Or, find a MovNat Certified Trainer or Gym in your area. We also offer MovNat Online Coaching as an alternative to live instruction.
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