Why MovNat Benefits Athletes in All Sports
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The following is a guest post by Khaled Allen of Warrior Spirit:
No matter what sport you do, MovNat can help you improve. That’s because MovNat, as a comprehensive physical education system, addresses everything from strength and power to coordination and awareness, developing all of your skills in tandem. Unlike some training programs that focus on one or two elements of fitness, MovNat seeks to develop a near-equalization across all fitness domains. This means that whatever has been holding you back, MovNat will help eliminate the weak links that undermine your performance.
Athletes from a variety of fields have tried MovNat and found that it noticeably improved their performance in their chosen sport. Here are a few testimonials, ranging from a BJJ instructor to an expedition leader, demonstrating just how comprehensive MovNat’s approach can be:
Bert Poffe, Expeditions
Training for an outdoor activity, it makes sense to spend as much of your time as possible outdoors. Years ago, I started the search for outdoor training for outdoor challenges. When I found Erwan’s YouTube video of his workout in Corisca, I knew that was what I had been looking for.
Preparing for expeditions or adventures is more than just a physical workout. You have to tolerate the natural elements as well - wind, rain, heat, cold, ever-changing environments, etc. MovNat motivates me to train outdoors, even when it would be more comfortable or ‘cozy’ to go to a gym.
Movements like crawling, jumping, barefoot running, balancing, climbing and “simply” moving efficiently in a natural environment are almost always present in workouts. I often do them with a loaded backpack.
I adore the road MovNat is taking. It’s much more than just the right way of moving; it’s a way of life, it’s about a healthy diet, about living outdoors. Now even bushcraft and basic survival skills are becoming part of it.
As far as I am concerned, MovNat is efficient, fun, and very good preparation for all kinds of outdoor sports, challenges, and adventures. Moving in a more functional, energy efficient way is important when moving in a demanding and sometimes hostile environment.
Josh Vogel, BJJ
As a Brazilian Jiujitsu instructor, I'm always searching for more effective and efficient ways to increase performance for myself and my students. I'm grateful that I was able to find a system like MovNat for the simple reason that it is a philosophy that encompasses all natural movement aptitudes. I move with the same points of efficiency as I do lifting and carrying heavy objects as I do throwing a training partner.
I find that in practicing MovNat, I have become more adaptable. I can be explosive vaulting over a park bench or a log, or jumping over someone’s legs to get into a dominant grappling position. I have greater mobility, balance, and mental acuity to quickly solve problems and adapt to circumstances - a crucial skill in grappling or running through unfamiliar woods. I find that each skill enhances the others while broadening my overall capabilities as an athlete.
MovNat fits Brazilian jiu jitsu (or maybe I should say that BJJ fits MovNat) like a glove in the sense that in both your goal is to grow physically and mentally in response to ever-changing contexts. You got choked by a purple belt in BJJ yesterday? Train, grow, figure out what you did wrong, evolve! You can pick up a 120lb. weight, but not your 120lb. daughter to carry her to safety? Train, grow, figure out what you did wrong, evolve!
As a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and a full time teacher and practitioner, I highly recommend MovNat to instructors as a means for training themselves and their students. If you apply the MovNat system well, your jiu jitsu won't stop at the edge of the mat, but continue as you climb a tree, crawl under a bridge, swim at the beach, or carry logs through the woods.
Steve Gangemi, Endurance
In my over twenty years of endurance racing, I’ve completed countless long-distance triathlon, cycling, and road and trail running races, including sixteen Ironmans. Endurance training and racing take a toll on the body. We are specialists in achieving a steady pace but unfortunately power, strength, and even stability are often lacking in endurance athletes as they spend so much effort developing a superior aerobic system.
I’m able to implement MovNat training into my endurance training without compromising the sport I choose to specialize and excel in. Now, rather than running a very long distance on a trail, I’ll add in some crawling, walking, and balance drills to help with my overall fitness and health. Not only have these skills made me a more efficient athlete, but they’ve also added a new level of enjoyment to my training.
Prior to learning MovNat, I’d rarely do any strength training, as I did not have the time or desire to perform traditional weight lifting activities. Now I use MovNat’s climbing, lifting, carrying, and throwing skills to supplement my endurance work. Carrying a rock or shouldering a log is part of my weekly training now, whereas prior to MovNat I’d at most jump over and around these objects!
MovNat is beneficial for an endurance athlete not just because of the components of aerobic and anaerobic conditioning present in the drills, but also due to the positive neuromuscular conditioning effects. This leads to efficiency of movement, resulting in such benefits as a lower heart rate response, decreased metabolic demands, and improved proprioception. Overall, MovNat training equals a more efficient athlete.
Joseph Simmons, Kickboxing
The development of an all-around skill set is very important in kickboxing. Punching and kicking skillfully is just a piece of what makes a complete and effective fighter. Some aspects of a fighter’s arsenal are easy to leave out of the training while adding more intensity to sparring sessions, bag work, and conditioning. This is a mistake.
Until I began my MovNat journey, something was missing from my training. Proprioception is extremely important for a practitioner in a situation where he or she must fight. The balance drills in the MovNat system are the best way that I have found to get students to understand how much balance improves their overall performance. These drills demand adaptation and a high level of skill as the practitioner improves.
Once I began to teach these drills to my students, they started to reap the benefits. They are more aware of their bodies, which allows them to generate more power by removing gesticulation from their striking patterns. Striking requires a great deal of sequencing and timing to generate power. Without proper balance in these techniques, a great deal of energy is wasted.
The great thing about MovNat is that it can improve performance in any sport when its principals are applied to the training schedules of the athletes. There is nothing else that will provide this type of complete proprioception for an athlete. There is nothing wrong with specialization, once you are skilled at moving naturally.
Michael Tijsterman, Freerunning
As a teacher of physical education, I am always looking for methodical and safe practice and play. MovNat not only added the finishing touch to my own abilities, but is also a safe method of teaching other people how to practice basic skills.
Many of the skills in freerunning can seem intimidating and dangerous to beginners. While we do have progressions for all our students, MovNat provides several practices that can help even the most inexperienced beginner establish a strong foundation of movement.
Mobility and ground balance is gained through the various mobility exercises and ground positions, such as sit transitions, low-walking, and crawling. These movements are safe enough that anyone can be comfortable practicing them, but challenging enough to help people grow.
Rolling is a skill that scares many people and can be discouraging. Learning how to roll starting lying on the ground, utilizing MovNat’s principles, has helped students overcome difficulties more quickly and comfortably than they would have otherwise.
These skills are easily adaptable for different levels of skill. They helped me get more mobile, enhance my front and backwards roll, and perfect my vault skills, and provided an easy way for beginners to learn rolling, vaulting, and getting more mobile.
MovNat and Your Sport
Many sports neglect certain essential elements of movement, such as balance, strength, coordination, or proprioception. Lacking dedicated training in these, athletes can end up wasting energy unnecessarily and degrading their performance. MovNat fills in the gaps.
If you are interested in experimenting with MovNat in your own training, a good place to start is with the warm-up. You can incorporate proprioception and balance drills with only minimal alteration to your regular training routine. This will allow you to reap some of the benefits without messing with a long-term training cycle.
Here is an example of a beginner level MovNat workout:
Just be warned: once you’ve seen the immense benefits of MovNat’s approach to training, you might want to rethink other aspects of your training as well.