By Jerome Rattoni, MovNat Master Instructor
Note: All natural movements improve your fitness as a result of practice, but certain movements provide greater fitness benefits than others. And today, MovNat Master Instructor, Jerome Rattoni, who has made a tremendous fitness transformation of his own, is sharing ten of the best “bang for your buck” natural movements that will not only improve your skill, but your fitness as well. Take it away, Jerome!
For many years, I’ve been known in the MovNat community for being the “Automotive International Sales guy”, who is also a passionate, part-time MovNat practitioner and local coach in Hungary.
I would wake up early to coach some brave students in the cold outdoors at 6am whether it rains, snows or not. That would allow me to coach, shower, eat and go to the office to do my “9 to 5” shift at my full time job.
I always liked the business environment, the “game”, but I was also aware of the drawbacks of this lifestyle. Hours sitting in the “T-rex” position in front of the laptop, stress from the high pressure to deliver results, frequent long-haul travels across the globe, jet lag, big dinners involving drinks and sleep deprivation. All in all, a toxic environment for my mind and body, which is what most people deal with every day – and not just in the business world.
And so, to balance the toxic out, I needed to “detox” from it, especially if I wanted to not only remain healthy, but fit, strong, and capable as well. This is where MovNat as a philosophy and method came into play.
I was very impressed by the original “OG” Master Instructors, Erwan Le Corre and Vic Verdier, who could live most of the time in nature, doing what they love to do, which is moving naturally and freely. But I was even more in awe of this concept called “Movement Snacks”, i.e. a “library” of short natural movements I could implement in my daily routine (even while traveling), which would not only maintain my fitness level, but enhance it greatly.
During my workshops, I usually give this analogy to help my students understand this concept: Would you rather sip a bit of water every now and then during the day to keep yourself hydrated? Or, would you wait the whole day, come back home at night and gulp 2 liters at once? Even though the answer is obvious for water intake, we, sedentary urban humans, are usually fine with the idea of not moving at all during the day (too busy working in the office) and get a very intense “fitness” session late at night. How do you think your nervous system reacts to that? 12 hours of nothing followed by 1 hour of pure madness and stress on your body. Is it any wonder why we pick up injuries?
So, on top of learning the MovNat method in depth, including the coaching and programming sides, I’ve also decided to give those Movement Snacks a go, which meant taking into account where I was during the day, how much space and time I would have – all of this allowing me to choose the best snacks for the given situations and the fitness goals I was pursuing.
After a few years of experience, where I even increased my travel volume (both sales and MovNat workshop trips), I’m happy to share with you my top 10 natural movements, which provided me the most “bang for my buck”. In other words, the movements I get the most physiological and mental benefits from.
So here we go!
1. Walking (early morning fasted)
A basic human function we tend to forget is simply walking. Walking is not only essential to move from A to B, but it is also a simple way to burn fat (particularly when in a fasted state), take care of our digestive system, and many other physiological benefits. It’s also a great movement for reflecting, thinking, meditating, and clearing your mind for the day ahead of you. And just by getting out the door, it is a commitment you make for yourself. You could easily sleep in, push the snooze button and tell yourself you will move later that day. But deep inside, you will feel immense satisfaction by doing such a simple, yet challenging act, which is getting up and walking!
OK, now that we got our body and mind going with some basic walking in the early morning, let’s start ramping it up with one of the most complete Natural Movement skills in our arsenal, the Tripod. Whether it is to transition from getting up and down or to balance on the ground or an elevated surface, this will stimulate every single part of your body.
Why do I love this movement so much? It doesn’t require much space (even a small hotel room will do). Plus, it enhances my balance and make me sweat in no time. Only a few rounds on each side will be enough to improve both your cardiovascular capacity as well as your overall structural strength.
3. Foot-Hand Crawl (FHC)
Let me just pick two crawling techniques (of many!) which will ramp up your fitness level tremendously. The Foot-Hand Crawl (prone position) is THE technique we all started with as babies, and it’s one that benefits us tremendously as adults. Do it often – anytime, anywhere – varying the surfaces and traveling uphill & downhill. I promise it won’t take long for you to understand how intense this “basic” technique can be. And it’s way more fun than the infamous “plank” all the fitness gurus seem to put on a pedestal.
4. Inverted Crawl
The Inverted Crawl (supine position) is the “yang” of the Foot-Hand Crawl (FHC). When you really get tired from doing the “FHC”, use a Tripod Transition to switch to the Inverted Crawl. It will help fix your sedentary “T-rex” posture (head forward, rounded back, shoulders internally rotated) as it creates the exact opposite pattern (chest up, straight back, shoulders externally rotated). Crawling will fix your posture, give you tremendous core strength and will make you appreciate even more the luxury of being bipedal.
5. Forward Power Jump (with precision landing)
Whenever I get a bit more space than I would for just crawling or the Tripod, I always take an opportunity to “Forward Power Jump”. I measure a fair distance using “heel-to-toe” steps, mark a target on the ground, and practice a series of precise, soft landings. If I’m happy with my performance, I increase the distance a tiny bit every time.
This is pure gold for developing the lower body and core strength. And when people ask me “how do you increase your leg/hip power to jump longer? Do you lift?”, I simply say “increase your jumping distance on the ground first. And when you plateau, then yes, think about lifting”.
6. Bodyweight or Loaded Squat Get-Up (Heavy Squat)
When you’re traveling, are you stuck in small hotel room with only heavy luggage or furniture (small table for instance)? No problem. You have all you need to increase your strength, endurance, and vertical jump with a loaded Squat Get Up. If you add some high volume bodyweight Squat Get Ups, you will also achieve great metabolic conditioning.
7. Heavy Weighted Carries
I’ve been a big fan of just picking one of my heavy rocks from home and going for a walk (e.g. going to the park for more MovNat practice) holding it at waist, chest, shoulder or overhead level. I usually challenge myself not to drop it during the entire walk. Hence, regularly switching the holding technique is key to complete the mission. I love this compression and grip strength workout because the benefits on both mental fortitude and general conditioning/endurance are off the charts.
Can’t find a rock? A friend works just as well, like in this Lumbar Carry.
8. Dead hang
I always envision my training as a big picture and the story that’s happening inside it. In this one, arriving at the park, the pure logic after holding a heavy rock for so long would be to release all the accumulated upper-body tension from the carry. And for that, there’s nothing better than simply hanging from a horizontal bar or branch for time. Gravity will do the job for you and will elongate that spine and shoulders nice and smooth. Once again, you make your structure stronger, which is the first step to develop a healthier muscular system on it (and then progress to more complex techniques like the Pop-Up or Power-Up, shown here).
Playing around with a bar or tree branch after hanging, the Roll-Up is one of the most fun and efficient techniques to get on top of this surface of support. Once the movement pattern is acquired, go for some volume. Feel your core helping raise your legs, pull yourself up and feel the rotation of your hips around the bar, roll forward back down and do it again. It’s short, sweet, and complete – upper-body gains, guaranteed.
After so many high intensity and complex techniques performed, especially with high volume, you must think “All good Jerome, but how do I make sure I don’t burn myself out and can recover properly?” This is a whole other topic which requires more in-depth discussion, but my short answer would be to swim in a pool, or even better, in fresh water.
I’ve always been a decent swimmer growing up near the Mediterranean Sea, but I learned a whole new level of efficiency taking part in the MovNat Aquatics workshop taught by Vic Verdier. Since then, I regularly go to my local swimming pool (fortunate enough to have an Olympic distance pool nearby) and I spend as much time as I need refining those techniques while recovering from all the ground-based techniques performed during the week. I always come back feeling fresh and ready to go again, while increasing my cardiovascular capacity, including some breath holding work.
Over the years, MovNat has given me stability and consistency, and led me to the truth that:
MovNat is the Omnivore Diet of Fitness.
Just like a balanced diet, we need variety in our life and movement to stay strong and healthy. Similarly, everything is to be done in moderation, including moderation.
I hope you will use these natural movements and “eat heartily”. Thank you and take care!
New Natural Movement Fitness e-Course
Our new e-course, MovNat Level 1 Fundamentals, is now available! If you want to build your movement and fitness from the ground up and regenerate your body using practical, natural movements that enhance fitness, function, and physical capability, learn more at the link below.
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About the Author
Jerome Rattoni is MovNat’s Relations Director, a MovNat Master Instructor, and the owner of ScarAbs Fit (MovNat Budapest), where he brings Natural Movement to people local to Hungary.