Practical, Adaptable, and Efficient: 3 Natural Movement Principles
Using your body is liberating. Yet chances are you know someone who struggles to complete even the most basic, everyday movements without pain. Maybe that person is you. How do we restore these fundamentals and regain a base of support for more complex movements?
The MovNat Approach
MovNat founder Erwan Le Corre developed a unique approach to reconnecting you with these natural movement patterns. The MovNat model is based on a philosophy grounded in natural movement. Erwan Le Corre clarified what that means and why we need it in an interview:
Because it’s natural, people think, “Oh if it’s natural I don’t have to learn it.” But the way you jump can be effective but not efficient. The way we jump is loud, stiff, heavy, a heavy landing. People need to learn to move humanly again, with grace and power and agility, the same way a tiger has learned through instinct to become this amazing, powerful tiger. The thing is, we have become zoo humans, so it’s not so easy for us modern people anymore. You can’t just say, “Okay, I’m going to throw you in the jungle,” and I’ll have an amazing athlete after a few days. It doesn’t happen that way.
MovNat is grounded in fundamental movements that are practical, adaptable, and efficient. Those are great principles, but how do we apply them?
Here are Erwan's explanations of what they mean and some sample videos so you can see how they look in real life.
The practical element is what distinguishes MovNat from many other forms of functional fitness. Le Corre clarified how he perceives the difference between the two in our Twitter chat. Said Le Corre, "Let me put it this way: functional fitness isn't always practical, but practical fitness is always functional. You can train 'functional' fitness in a gym and never actually crawl, climb, jump, etc., in realistic ways. If you will, MovNat is functional fitness on steroids."
Le Corre expanded on this idea in one of our interviews:
Seek practical results first. Before modern fitness there was movement for survival, and our bodies are evolutionarily designed to move and perform in natural, practical ways. Natural movements skills such as running, balancing, jumping, crawling, climbing, lifting, throwing, and so on, were essential for our ancestors to survive in wild environments. Most modern fitness programs have lost sight of this necessity of training the body and mind for practical reasons. Practical movement means functional movement with a tangible, real-world meaning, and outcome.
What Practical Movement Looks Like:
Lateral Figure Four Sitting Reverse:
Deep Knee Bend to Tall Half Kneeling:
WORK OUT WITH THESE MOVEMENTS: Strength & Conditioning: Week 1, Day 1
Movement performed in nature usually includes unpredictable elements and obstacles. For this reason, one of the principles of MovNat is adaptability. Here's what Erwan had to say about what that means:
Adaptability requires high levels of mindfulness, and the beauty of it is that there is no way you can be disconnected from your physical action when your must adapt body and mind to the environment. You must immerse yourself in the moment, in the here and in the now, in a thoughtless, wordless state of awareness. In today's lives where our minds are too often cluttered with too many thoughts, this primal, quasi-meditative mindset is absolutely priceless.
What Adaptable Movement Looks Like:
A sample MovNat combo done in nature.
The MovNat model prioritizes efficiency as a way to prevent injuries and optimize quality of movent. Erwan explained the distinction between efficiency and effectiveness:
Fitness is the result. Movement is the practice. Make practice mindful and efficient, because you can't be efficient if you're not mindful. So, exercise through mindful movement, not mindless exertion. I repeat, strive for movement efficiency over brute exertion. Establish first movement quality, and then increase intensity, volume, or complexity based on this quality movement.
What Efficient Movement Looks Like:
Erwan performs an advanced MovNat combo
Just Get Moving
As Erwan put it, “[B]efore you can move 'heavy shit,' you must be able to move the 'heavy shit' that you are.” If you're looking for a structured way to do that, Erwan's workouts are a great place to start.
DO THE WORKOUTS: Strength and Conditoning MovNat Combos for All Levels
Strength, flexibility, conditioning, and agility start with you - not a barbell, yoga mat, treadmill, or any other kind of tool. The MovNat approach can shift the way we think about fitness in several applications and help prevent injuries.