MovNat: The 13 Movement Skills
If you are striving for excellence in human movement it is important to know which skills we need to improve. Identifying actions specific to our species means we can train them and build workouts which target these abilities efficiently.
The core fundamentals of MovNat are built on two pillars, the MovNat Principles and Movements Skills. The principles lay down the values of natural movement. The Movement Skills show us what moving natural means. For many, MovNat conjures up images of training in the forest, lifting heavy stones and walking with logs. However, what differentiates this from a traditional gym routine which has been taken outdoors?
MovNat is more than a Tarzan inspired workout. Taking your shirt and shoes off isn’t the defining feature. It is about freeing zoo humans and letting them loose in the wild. In time, how would they move? Like an animal in its natural environment they would move with skill, precision and efficiency. This is necessary for survival and is what it means to move naturally. If we can identify the innate physical actions specific to humans we can train them and excel.
“Be Well-Rounded, with Sharp Edges” ~Erwan Le Corre
Luckily for us, we don’t have to spend years searching for wild humans to study. MovNat have done the work for us. Built upon the 10 Families (skills) of Georges Hébert’s Methode Naturelle, Erwan Le Corre has defined 13 unique modalities which represent a full range of human-specific movements. These are divided in 3 categories: Locomotive, Manipulative and Combative. We’re going to look at how each category is broken down into the 13 MovNat Movement skills:
- Walking - The most basic of movements – yet we must still think about quality. Eliminate any slouching or hunching over. We want to be able to move with control in all environments and terrain.
- Running - Can you run efficiently at different paces? When barefoot (or wearing minimal shoes) we want to emphasise a fore-foot strike with a forward lean. See our post on Pose Running.
- Balancing - Developing good balance requires a relaxed body and a focused mind. We can improve it by walking along beams and logs. Try walking backwards or squatting for further progression.
- Jumping - An area often ignored in many people’s training. We can develop explosive leg power by jump training. Try vertical, broad, lateral and split leg jumps. Work on good landing technique, especially when jumping between objects.
- Crawling - Most of us wouldn’t have crawled since babies and this takes time to re-learn. Bear crawls, crab walks, and rolling will help us move in unexpected situations with ease.
- Climbing - Without effective technique, climbing can be an draining experience. Learning to move from a dead hang position and adopting good swinging techniques will help conserve energy.
- Swimming - Wading and learning in dive in deeper water are skills that could save your life.
- Lifting - Away from the easy-grip weights and bars in the gym, MovNat uses awkward shaped objects to test your lifting ability. Rocks and logs are great for improving lifting strength as well as adaptability.
- Carrying - Transporting an object over distances is one of man’s oldest skills. Moving logs for shelter or carrying your kill back home kept paleolithic man and his family alive.
- Throwing - Learn to thrown with power and accuracy. Try front swing throws or aim for a target.
- Catching - Catching a medicine ball thrown by a partner is a good exercise to develop hand-eye coordination. Cooperation is an important aspect that MovNat stresses.
- Striking - The art of self defence is an important concept. Learn how to strike an opponent with precision and with minimal injury to yourself. This well help build self-confidence and give you a greater chance of escaping dangerous situations unharmed.
- Grappling - Sports such as mixed martial arts (MMA) or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) are excellent for learning how to grapple, control and escape from an opponent.
Combining these skills together will help you become a strong, agile and efficient human – like a natural animal would be. While it is beneficial and fun to train outdoors, workouts can still be done indoors in a gym or at home. The importance is in the naturalness of the movements, not the environment. Training the 13 Movement Skills will help us become a well rounded person yet honed in these natural human abilities.
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