How To Move With Purpose, Increase Your Real World Capability, and Get More Out Of Your Natural Movement Practice
If you want a body that moves powerfully, gracefully, and efficiently, that doesn’t wear out or get hurt easily, you’ve got to do things a little differently. And you’ve got to go deep. Too many people make the mistake of adding some bear crawls and box jumps to their routine, calling it “natural,” and expecting to reach their full movement potential. But to truly master your movement, you’ve really got to set an intention of becoming a better version of yourself through Natural Movement Fitness.
You’ve got to be strategic, too. So, today, you’ll learn five strategies to deepen your Natural Movement Fitness practice. Just one of these ideas could transform your training, and implementing any of them will help you get more results every time you train.
1) Set an intention to reach a baseline level of competency in all of the movement domains.
If you want to be healthy, fit, and “strong to be helpful,” one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to specialize in a couple of movement skills at the expense of all the others.
We see this exemplified with your stereotypical weightlifter or bodybuilder who can lift and carry very heavy weights (i.e. they are highly specialized and skilled in these areas), but who aren’t nearly as skilled at other movement skills like climbing, vaulting, and running, to name a few.
Or, perhaps it’s an avid hiker or runner who can dominate on the roads, trails, and track, but doesn’t have the skill or strength to lift and carry very much. Then again, maybe it’s a longtime yogi who is an expert in ground movement, but struggles with other skills.
Regardless, our goal at MovNat is to help all of these people become more capable in every movement domain. Usually, that means we have to get out of our comfort zone, work on things we’re not used to, and focus on our weaknesses; all of which are good habits to get into.
Now, if you’re not sure where you stand in all of the movement domains, you can check out our Performance Benchmarks to get an idea of what you may need to work on.
2) Instead of just exercising for its own sake, give your movement purpose by making it practical.
If you want to deepen your movement practice (and awareness) instantly, ask yourself, “what practical purpose does this movement provide?”
Maybe it serves a practical purpose in everyday life, like the deadlift, for instance. We pick things up off the ground all the time. So, it makes sense to practice this very practical skill as part of our Natural Movement program – and carry that training into our daily life so that every time we lift something off the floor, we’re practicing proper technique.
Here are some more examples of practical movement skills:
- Being able to get up and down from the ground effortlessly
- Being able to run fast without warming up, and without pulling a hamstring
- Being able to climb up and over a fence, wall, or tree branch with minimal energy expenditure
Bringing purpose into your Natural Movement practice will help you apply your training in real world contexts. Speaking of which…
3) Increase your real world capability by bringing adaptability into every training session.
Sometimes, adjusting one variable changes everything. Like running on a trail instead of a flat track. Or, balancing on a slippery surface instead of a dry one. Or lifting a 200 pound stone or person, instead of a perfectly symmetrical, ergonomic barbell of the same weight. Subtle changes can create significant challenges.
The situation and environment determine the context in which you’re moving and training. So, you might be able to broad jump a distance of 8 feet when you’re on a flat, smooth, dry, rubber surface while wearing shoes (and being totally pumped up because you’re listening to your favorite playlist). But make that surface a little slippery, or add a precise target where you have to land (e.g. a small rock in the middle of a river), or omit the shoes, and it’ll be quite a bit harder to make that jump.
These are examples of real world circumstances that affect how we move. And the cool part is that we can bring this into our movement practice incrementally and safely.
Now, training in nature will almost always require adaptability, but you can make your training adaptive anywhere – at home, the gym, or wherever you happen to be. And if you’re a beginner, or have just learned a new movement skill, it’s usually best to start in a fairly controlled environment where the risk of getting hurt is very low.
So, instead of balancing or crawling on a tight-wire across Niagara falls, put a 2×4 board on the floor so that a fall won’t mean certain death. Then change a variable to make it more adaptive, like propping up one side to add a slight incline. Or, placing an obstacle in the middle that you have to step over. Or, adding a precision jump from that balancing surface.
4) Prioritize better movement over more movement using mindfulness.
The fitness industry is dominated by messages of GO, GO, GO…MORE, MORE, MORE…and BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER.
And we’re over here like, “hang on guys. Let’s think about this. How about we start with better, and go from there?”
It’s true that we appreciate anything that will get people moving. But while you’re at it, you might as well move better. And you do that by making efficiency your goal.
So, instead of just mindlessly repping out, burning calories, and exercising for its own sake, try moving mindfully. Here are a few ways we teach that at MovNat:
- Shift your attention to breathing with your diaphragm
- Use just the right amount of tension to perform a movement, and relax everything else
- Be aware of your posture before, during, and after every movement
If you make efficiency your goal, prioritize quality over quantity, and stay mindful while you’re practicing practical movement skills in adaptable ways, you will go far.
5) Keep moving forward by stepping back regularly.
It sounds counter-intuitive to the uninitiated, but every elite mover or athlete knows that going back to the basics often yields a deeper experience that spirals your performance and results upward.
So, even if you’re an advanced natural mover who can bust out several Power Ups (aka Muscle Ups), run for miles on varied terrain while barefoot, and carry an injured person to safety with efficiency, there will always be much to be gained from coming back to the fundamentals. And that’s equally true for beginner and intermediate trainees as well.
You’ll never truly outgrow the basics like Ground Movement, Foot Hand Crawls, Get Ups, and the various Hanging movements, among many others. So, come back to them often. Check in with yourself regularly, always striving to make it even more efficient. Or, increase the complexity of the movement by adding some new contextual demands. Stepping back once in awhile is a surefire way to moving forward.
Now, if you’re ready to launch yourself forward, here’s what you can do.
MovNat changes lives because it’s both broad and deep. And that’s because practicality, efficiency, adaptability, and many other important elements are fundamental to our system. We’ve come a long way over the years – with thousands of certified trainers, dozens of licensed facilities, and a cutting-edge curriculum, among many other exciting developments. We’re helping more and more people, from all walks of life (and not just “natural” movers), to become strong, healthy, happy, and free with Natural Movement Fitness.
This is our passion and it’s spreading like wildfire. So, if you’d like to be a part of a community that’s on the cutting-edge of movement-based fitness, please join us today.
The best way to deepen your Natural Movement practice is to find a MovNat Level 1 Certification or a MovNat Workshop in your area. We hold events all around the world. Or, find a local MovNat Certified Trainer or Gym to work with. We also offer MovNat Online Coaching as an alternative to live instruction. And if you’re a current MovNat Certified Trainer, take the initiative and upgrade your certification so you can benefit from the latest updates to our programs.
We believe that Natural Movement Fitness can change your life and even change the world, and we look forward to helping you reach your full potential as we take this “movement” to the world. Will you join us?