By Brian “Rock” Hancock, MovNat Team Instructor
Universal. This is one of twelve principles of MovNat. “Movement is for everyone. It belongs to every human being regardless of origin, gender, age, social class, or belief system.”
This statement is true. You deserve to move. To find freedom and joy using your body.
If you search #movnat, you might not see yourself in the images and videos online. I know I didn’t when I first came across MovNat. That was before I really learned what Natural Movement really was: the re-discovery of lost abilities and patterns.
We all started as babies with no strength. We learned to roll over, get to our hands and knees. Then we crawled to explore our world, ultimately learning to stand, walk, and eventually so much more.
When I weighed 300lbs, I dominated scrums on the rugby pitch. Watching Erwan in “The Workout the World Forgot” was not something I could see myself doing. It was amazing and inspiring, but not something I felt was for me. It was about 5 years later that I completed my Level 1 Certification and truly realized the Universal principle did apply to me.
I am no longer 300lbs, but I still hang out between 215-225 most of the time. My history, size, and approach has enabled me to work more effectively with people who have larger bodies. We still follow Natural Movement – we just keep our shirts on ;-).
If you have a bigger body and are carrying some extra weight, no worries, Natural Movement is for you and the following will provide insight on how to approach your training; including progressions showing just how bigger bodies can train Natural Movement.
Physics and anatomy are real, and need to be considered when engaging with the various movements and techniques.
The average weight of males in the US is about 200lbs and females is about 170lbs. If you are weighing above either of those, let’s assume you are walking around with “x” weight sandbag on your shoulders with everything you do.
Let’s look at g-force for a 200lb male for walking, running and standing.
Having the strength to stand is one thing. Having the strength to handle the force of running is another. You can now imagine how much more strength is needed to jump, vault, etc. Being able to perform a squat to at least parallel demonstrates the range of motion needed to decelerate from a depth jump, which is great prep for running. Being able to go from a kneeling to tall half kneel to standing is a great way to build single leg strength, which is also foundational to walking and running safely and effectively.
Anatomy, more specifically limb and waist circumference, will impact ranges of motion, gait, etc. If you have a larger waist and thigh circumferences, you will not be able to sit as deep in a squat as someone with smaller waist and thigh circumferences. Not having a super deep squat can make Squat Get Ups a little more challenging.
In MovNat, we often start with ground-based movement. This can be challenging for the bigger body. I tend to take the Get Ups and reverse them—starting with standing and working lower and lower to the ground. Once we feel strong enough with that approach, working from the ground up becomes much easier.
Here are 4 movements to help build a good foundation of strength:
- Prone Get Up (hinge work)
- Squats to Squat Get Up
- Kneeling Get Up
- Tripod Get Up and Vault
Once we have built some of the Get Up strength, we can then focus on power in the form of eccentric loading. As we discussed earlier, this is crucial for handling the load of a bigger body. This is where Downward Jumping helps prepare the body to handle the added force.
Larger waist circumferences and excess abdominal weight strain the core muscles and can create low back pain by pulling the spine and pelvis forward. Back pain, or any pain for that matter, can create fear of movement. Training the core with a couple different throws and a few variations of carrying can help strengthen the entire torso helping to keep the core strong and stable, preventing low back pain.
Two great exercises to help strengthen the core:
- Single Hand Carry
- Side Swing Throws
Individuals carrying excess weight may have additional alignment issues, forward head posture, rounded upper back, tucked pelvis (posterior tilt) and external rotation of the feet with internal rotation at the knees. These all need to be addressed when taking folks through movement patterns.
Heavier bodies that are not strong enough to safely and effectively move are at increased risk of injury.
The misuse (bad alignment, lower physical competence), and disuse (sedentary lifestyle, pain) are great examples of what we call the “Deconditioning Cycle.” You can break out of the deconditioning cycle even if you have a heavier body.
The best part about training in the MovNat methodology is that it will help to correct many of these misuse and disuse issues because of what MovNat calls the “Formation of Technique.” Good technique is formed from proper position and breathing, sequence and timing, and appropriate tension and relaxation.
An underlying success factor for technique is also being strong enough to control your body so that you can focus on technique. This is why utilizing Volume, Intensity, and Complexity will help build needed strength and allow the formation of technique to occur.
For now, pay attention to your movement behaviors. Do you move a little or a lot? Do you change levels? Do you compensate or use momentum with movement? Do you avoid certain movements? Why?
About the Author
Brian “Rock” Hancock believes that exercise and physical activity should celebrate the body’s capabilities. As a Level 2 MovNat Certified Trainer, Rock has over 12 years experience working with various fitness backgrounds. He has assisted a range of clients, from the United States Marine Corps to those in corporate settings.
He practices what he teaches. A look into his home would prove that a 2×4 sits in the living room for balance practice. His favorite natural movement skills are lifting, carrying, and jumping. In his free time, he loves cooking for his wife and sons, and spends as much time as he can sharing meals with friends and enjoying the outdoors.
Get Started With Natural Movement Fitness – TODAY!
The MovNat Level 1 Certification is your entry point into the world’s official Natural Movement Fitness program. It equips you with the knowledge, skills, and methods you need to transform your movement & fitness and build real world capability from the ground up. You’ll learn not only the movements in the official MovNat curriculum, but also the methods to apply those movements to your unique needs, goals, and circumstances.
Over the last twelve years, MovNat has helped thousands of people from all walks of life restore their natural abilities and lay a foundation for a deeper, lifelong movement practice. We are the original, official, and only Natural Movement® Fitness certification, with thousands of certified professionals and dozens of MovNat Licensed Facilities all around the world.
Whether you’re completely new to Natural Movement Fitness, or a seasoned veteran looking to expand your skillset, the MovNat Level 1 Certification is your launchpad to a deep understanding of natural human movement, how to integrate it into your training and lifestyle, and help others do the same.
Want to get started at home? Start today with our MovNat Level 1 Fundamentals E-Course