The best natural movements to rapidly improve your strength…naturally!
The practice of Natural Movement makes you stronger because all natural movements build strength in various ways and to various degrees all throughout the body.
For example, even though you may not think of balancing as a “strength” exercise, the muscles and connective tissues surrounding the joints of the legs – and even the bones, themselves – absolutely get stronger, over time, from regular balance practice. Similarly, with Natural Movement skills like crawling, get ups, and other ground movements, even if you’re not moving an external load as we do when lifting weights (i.e. traditionally considered a “strength training” activity), you are moving and controlling your own body weight as you perform these movements, which requires strength and develops strength.
Of course, you can certainly increase the challenge, and the potential for greater and/or faster strength development by adding load to these movements. But even without external loading, your body will get stronger by moving in these ways, and especially, when your training is programmed to improve this conditioning quality. In the MovNat Certification Program, you’ll learn how factors such as training Volume, Intensity, and Complexity can be adjusted to elicit the desired adaptations (e.g. strength, endurance, power, mobility, etc.).
While most natural movements could be considered a “full body” exercise or activity, some movement skills clearly emphasize certain strength qualities and/or regions in the body. For example, crawling emphasizes core strength. Climbing skills tend to improve grip and upper body strength. Jumping and carrying improve the strength, power, and resilience of the hips and legs. Combined altogether, when one trains the full spectrum of natural movements, whole body strength and conditioning naturally results – even if that’s not your primary focus. You can literally focus all of your energy on simply getting better at these skills, and your strength and conditioning will improve as a result.
Some of the best natural movements for strength adaptations are the various lifting, carrying, and climbing movement skills. So, below, you’ll find 15 of the most effective Natural Movement skills to improve your total body strength. Some of these will be quite familiar to those who are knowledgeable of conventional strength and conditioning (e.g. squat, deadlift, press, etc.). Others, may be new to you, or even unexpected.
Altogether, this list represents a great collection of movement tools to build strength naturally.
Note: While most of these movements are quite accessible to people of all abilities, some of them are not necessarily beginner-level movements. A few are actually from the Level 3 Certification curriculum (e.g. Power Ups). But every single movement in this list can be modified or regressed to make it more accessible, depending on your current skill and conditioning level. So, you don’t need to be a high level mover to improve your strength with Natural Movement. Even fundamentals movements, such as the Side Hang will build a foundation of strength that better prepares you for greater movement challenges. For example, here are 10 Steps to Master the Power Up (aka Muscle Up).
If you want to get stronger, a great initial strategy would be including progressively more challenging lifting, carrying, and climbing movement skills in your routine. And if you want to get not just really strong, but mobile, agile, and CAPABLE, don’t just specialize in these three areas (as fun and beneficial as they may be). Instead, train all of the Natural Movement skills, each of which builds strength and many other fine qualities.
Note: for more on this topic, check out Danny Clark’s article, How to Get Ridiculously Strong with Natural Movement.
About the Author
John Sifferman is a Health-First Fitness Coach & MovNat Master Trainer. He is the founder of Physical Living and author of The Pull-Up Solution. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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