Tuesday, March 6th

MovNat and the Athlete: Guest Post by Rudy Thomas, Strength & Conditioning Coach, UCSD

People are constantly evolving –  growing up, growing older, and unfortunately, growing away from what I believe is our natural self and being.

Philosophy aside, humans are movers by nature. It’s how we’ve come to populate the entire planet. These days, though,  we move less than we ever have and the little movement that we do is artificial and inefficient. Machines and brick and mortar buildings have replaced the natural gyms that our ancestors frequented, those same gyms that made us the dominant species that we are.

Rudy Thomas & company about to get their MovNat on.

Recently, a friend introduced me to a company called MovNat.  The company tagline is Explore Your True Nature, and their workshops are becoming so popular that they are held every weekend all over the country. Having participated in two of their workshops already, I believe most people go into one thinking “this is going to be a cool way to spend a Saturday or Sunday getting my sweat on, and when it’s over, hopefully I’ve learned a few things for my own personal workouts, and I’m more in touch with my inner youth.” Foolishly, I may have been in that camp.

I have never discounted the benefit of adding tools to my exercise toolbox.

“As a collegiate strength coach, right or wrong, I’m always testing everything I do to the standard of ‘will it work with my athletes and is it feasible to implement?’ “

MovNat is divided into 3 movement categories: locomotive, manipulative, and combative. The locomotive and manipulative aspects are what the workshops consist of. I found the locomotion – specifically the ground movement –  to be absolutely eye-opening. They don’t call the movements “mobility drills,” because for some it may be a matter of poor mobility, but for others it could be insufficient stability or, potentially, a lack of strength.

“Not only had I never moved in that way, I found it to be amazing for my hips, ankles, hamstrings, knees, feet, toes, and quite an exercise in coordination, too.”

As I reflected on my first workshop, I remember thinking how good I felt – my hips, shoulders – everything felt in tune.

“Of course, my mind immediately raced to … if I feel this good, how good could my athletes feel?”

The challenge that remained was figuring out how to pick over an entire day’s worth of information that was taught out in the open, with an infinite amount of space available to us, and condense it into 10-15 minutes in a limited space.   I knew I had to start incorporating MovNat into my warm-ups, a.k.a., movement prep.

“Since that first workshop, the MovNat ground work has been a staple in my dynamic warm-ups. My athletes and assistant coaches call it the Rudy flow.”

With considerations of time, sport-specific training, and logistics, I’ve been able to take the movements I learned from MovNat and use them as a fun and highly effective warm-up tool.  Additionally, many of the movements require crossing the body’s midline, which provides the added benefit of helping to develop coordination, which many of my athletes were lacking.  For me, MovNat has provided variety in our approach to overall mobility and warming up, it keeps me fresh and my mind sharp, and the athletes feel like they’ve mastered a cool new skill.

As I’ve come to understand more about MovNat, I’ve learned that many of the movements, such as lifting and carrying (manipulative category), as well as climbing, take an impressive amount of total body strength.

“This has convinced me that MovNat is not just a supplement to a fitness or conditioning program, but can be and, in fact, is a complete approach to movement, power and strength development, and athleticism.”

Rudy Thomas, Strength and Conditioning Coach at UCSD

Are you an athlete? Do you train MovNat as part of your fitness and conditioning program? We’d love to hear how you incorporate MovNat into your training and how it has helped you improve your game, whatever that game may be.  Interested in experiencing how MovNat can support your training? Join us for a workshop.

To stay informed about the upcoming release of the MovNat Book in 2013, subscribe to the True Nature Newsletter. Learn about MovNat Certification.