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Anatomy of a MovNat Practice Session

Why Professionals Who Want to Teach Movement Safely and Efficiently are Aligning With the MovNat Method

By Danny Clark, MovNat Performance Director and Master Instructor

One of the key values of the MovNat method is its usability for health and fitness professionals looking to build a better base of movement for their students. Grand philosophy and eye catching movement is one thing, but being able to implement said philosophy and see continual progress for a wide range of students is another important component of any method.

As we harp on over and over again at our events: we don’t just “do” or teach Natural Movement randomly; we teach and develop efficiency and adaptability in Natural Movement through the (a) mindful application of technique and (b) consistent, logical practice progression across a variety of environments.

Yes, it’s a mouthful, but it’s an important distinction. Stagnation sucks. And lack of consistency or injury is a killer to progress, after all!

We’ve proven (through MovNat Online Coaching and our Licensed Facilities) that the secret sauce of creating an engaging, results-oriented, and easily structured Natural Movement regime for others is established through what we call the three “P”s. By employing three key concepts – programming, practice, and progression – we take the often abstract, multifaceted task of “moving better and becoming more fit” and organize the improvement process into logical, time-efficient steps.  It’s crucial to understand this. So, let’s get some things straight before breaking down the example practice session I created for you below.

First, let’s define the three “P”s mentioned above.

Pro·gram·ming

/’prō,gramiNG/

  1. to arrange according to a plan or schedule.

Prac·tice

/’praktes/

  1. the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use.
  2. repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.

Progression

/pre’greSHen/

  1. the process of developing or moving gradually toward a more advanced state.

In a nutshell, when we use the 3 Ps, we’re developing ourselves gradually toward a more advanced state, both in terms of skill and fitness, through an organized application of movement.

To really drive this home, I’ll pull an excerpt from Erwan’s upcoming book “The Practice of Natural Movement”:

“We acquire movement efficiency through practice. Evidently, such practice must be efficient as well. Practice efficiency implies method to ensure that the energy and time dedicated to improving one’s movement is optimally utilized and generates the best results.”

Okay, by now you are sold on the idea that an organized and safe approach is what you need to increase your students odds of success and make your efforts time-efficient. So, what exactly does a snapshot of an organized practice session look like?

Check out this video to see an example:

Here’s some notes on the components of a MovNat practice session.

Part 1: Warm Up

First a general warm-up to get your fluids flowing.  Ground movement is our go-to, as it’s not only a great way to work on practical mobility, but it’s also a fantastic way to relax your nervous system.  Through mindful breathing and slow movement at end-ranges of practical positions, you prepare yourself for more dynamic movement.

Secondly (and optionally) can come a specific warm up.  Maybe some building blocks of the movements you’ll be focusing on improving in the next section.

In our example, we see:

General Warm Up

  • Supine Lying to Side Rolling
  • Rocking
  • Flexed Foot Kneeling to Deep Squat
  • Base Building
  • Deep Kneeling to Deep Half Kneeling
  • Side Bent Sit Reverse
  • Deep Squat Backward Reaching
  • Foot Hand Crawl
  • Tripod Transition
  • Inverted Crawl

Specific Warm Up

  • Hip Hinges (to prepare for lifting)
  • Jump Landings (to prepare for jumping)
  • Dead Hang (to prepare for hanging)
  • Scap Pulls (to prepare for pulling up)
  • Knee and Elbow Hanging (to prepare for traversing)

The warm up should comprise about 20% of your practice session timeframe.  So, if your practice session is shorter than mine – let’s say it’s 20 minutes total – then you’d warm up with fewer movements.

Important Note: This is an example of my practice, which is at the advanced level. Teachers should be selecting movements appropriate to the student’s level, per the MovNat manuals, for each practice session.  This video is to serve as an example of practice structure, not movement selection!

Part 2: Emphases

The Emphases portion of the practice session focuses on skill building and increasing strength/power.  It’s performed at a slow pace, as the focus isn’t on conditioning but rather on fresh effort with high attention to technique.

In our example, we see:

Part 1: Lower Body Emphasis

  • Loaded Single Leg Squat Get Up
  • Jump Complex (Leg Swing to Split Sideways to Forward to Double Forward)

Part 2: Upper Body Emphasis

  • Overhead Press
  • Pull Up transition to Forearm Hang

Again, if you have less time, maybe some movements are eliminated and saved for other days. Maybe less sets are performed. Whatever works for your time constraints.  I like to say “frequency is more important than intensity” The point: practice more even if in smaller doses, not harder.

Part 3: Combo

The Combo portion focuses on motor learning and conditioning. A series of movements are strung together to either (a) simulate a route in nature or (b) produce a conditioning effect or (c) both a and b.

In our example, we see:

Combo 1

  • Front Carry (including stepping over)
  • Hook Traverse
  • Swing Up to Tripod Get Up on rail
  • Balancing Walk
  • Inverted Vault
  • Front Vault

Combo 2

  • Belly Vault
  • Inverted Vault
  • Front Vault
  • Side Vault
  • Belly Vault

Combos can be repeated multiple times, for a set amount of time, or on intervals. Mutliple combos can be performed or a single combo can be performed for time efficiency.  In some cases, either the Emphases or Combo can be omitted. It just depends on your goals!

Part 4: Cool Down

The purpose of the Cool Down portion is to (a) relax the nervous system again and (b) expand range of motion. As opposed to the more dynamic, movement rich Warm Up, the cool down is typically more passive and slow. A few movements are selected and 5-20 slow breaths are counted for each position. Bolsters can be used to ensure the right tissues are being stretched.

In our example, we see:

  • Inverted Crawl Stretch
  • Long Sit Stretch
  • Side Bent Sit Rotational Reach Stretch
  • Open Bent Sit Stretch
  • Backward Roll Stretch
  • Side Bent Sit Forward Reach Stretch

Final Thoughts

We hope this template give you some usable structure to help inform your practice sessions with your students. Through consistency in both practice structure and practice attendance, progress is made and “better movement” is a natural outcome!

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Passionate About Natural Movement Fitness?

If you’d like to learn more about natural movement fitness and the lifestyle behind it, 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.

Most people know that they should be more physically active. Some even recognize the incredible value in a system like MovNat. But they struggle with actually implementing natural movement into their daily lives.

That’s why we work closely with people from all walks of life to help them move better, get healthier and stronger, and discover their true potential with natural movement fitness.

It’s also why we work extensively with health and fitness professionals who understand the value of this new paradigm and are eager to start implementing it with their clients.

So, if you’re ready to take your movement practice to the next level, this is your chance. Please join our community and check out an event near you soon.

Click Here to Learn More About the
MovNat Certification Program


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