Move Primitively

Hiking and Pull-ups at Zion National Park

Hiking and Pull-ups at Zion National Park

Mechanistic machine-based fitness drills reduce exercise to a physical chore, whereas natural movements strengthen mind and body.” ~Erwan Le Corre, Founder of MovNat

To move primitively is to mimic the activities of the Hunter Gatherers of long ago. I am a firm believer that your body will accomplish amazing things if it does what it is designed to do. You will hear me say this over and over again. Your body is designed to move naturally. Walking, running, climbing, crawling, jumping, sprinting, and fighting are perfect ways to train and added weight is not necessary. Although I am sure primitive man did some lifting and/or carrying of heavy things, so I do encourage this on occasion. Some modern, yet primitive exercises I approve of are rowing, yoga, and some kind of organized sport that involves a ball of some sort; soccer, basketball, team handball, etc.

The primitive man was physically fit but it wasn’t because he went to the gym Monday through Friday to do 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer and a superset of bicep curls and sit-ups. He wasn’t fit so that he could look good for spring break. He was fit because he had to survive. He had to go out walking or running to harvest food. He had to defend himself in hand-to-hand combat or escape by running away. He had to get himself out of a hole that he fell into or evade an animal by climbing a tree. Primitive man had to pick up his/her child and run so that they may both be able to survive an attack.

My primitive training methods are based on natural movements. Below I touch on just some of the best methods for training. None of which really require a “gym”. You may want to find yourself a trainer or coach though.


I recommend lots and lots of walking. An hour a day would be good but now a days, with all the apps and smartphone tools, it’s easy to count steps. An active person will take about 10,00 steps a day. The average is 5,000 to 7,000. A couch potato or desk jockey will take less than 3,000 steps, if that. If you have a job that does not require you to be on your feet, I encourage you to find the time to walk everyday. If you are a mail man, you are excused. Did our primitive ancestors use a pedometer? No, but they didn’t have a job or a car either.

Why is walking so good for you? I don’t know. Remember that the basis to my theories are experience and common sense. Personally, some of the best results I have gotten in regulating my weight have been from walking. One of my many weight loss experiences came from walking for an hour a day 4 to 5 times a week. Another was from when I walked 10,000 steps a day. In both cases, when I stopped walking guess what happened? I got fat again. Common sense tells you that by design, walking is the perfect exercise for humans. We have two feet–perfect for walking! We are so designed to walk that we did it before “exercise” was even invented. I believe that when you do what your body is designed to do, amazing things happen. I feel walking is one of them.

Some ways to vary your walk:

  • Walk barefoot
  • Walk on a dirt hiking trail
  • Walk hills at the park
  • Walk with a backpack full of gear, books, etc.
  • Walk carrying your infant
  • Walk pushing a stroller
  • Walk pulling a wagon (full of kids)
  • Walk to music


Bodyweight Exercises

I had ideas for living a primitive lifestyle back in 2006 after reading Kevin Trudeau’s “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About.” Now, I know this wasn’t that great of a book. I don’t really recommend it to anybody but this book did get me thinking. It made me want to eat as naturally as possible and train as naturally as possible. Kevin’s book mentioned how good walking is for you. I already thought this but his book also put the idea in my head that bodyweight training could be equally beneficial. Like walking, I believe bodyweight training to be the most natural way to train and that our body is designed to lift our own body weight.

Now I have no way to verify this but I would have to say that the gymnast is pound for pound the strongest athlete out there. The majority of their training is through practice and what they practice is lifting their body over and over again in many different ways. Now granted, there may be athletes out there that can bench press 400 lbs. but can they lift their entire body off the ground? I used to say this to people and they would think I was crazy, but maybe I was just ahead of my time since now gymnastics are included in many of the training regimens out there.

It is well known that primates are several times stronger than the average human. Although it is said that the reason for this is fast twitch muscle fibers, muscle length, and the location of muscle attachments. I feel that it has to do with their exercise routine. Ok well it’s not really an exercise routine per se but they do get a lot of exercise and it consists of mainly lifting their own body weight.

I feel that bodyweight exercise self-regulates and therefore will keep injuries to a minimum as well as prevent excessive bulking; something most women fear and most men want, which in either case is not natural. When I personally took a hiatus from weight training, within months I was able to do the most bar dips and pull ups I have ever been able to do in my life and was possibly in the best shape of my life altogether.

Sprinting and Combatives

Get your butts outside and run your ass off! I don’t mean run a marathon or a even a 5K. I simply mean do some intervals of running as fast as you can for just a few seconds. You can break your intervals by distance or time but regardless, this is going to be tough and your body is going to love it.

Here are just some of the benefits associated with sprinting:

  • Burn fat and build muscles – Have you seen a sprinter?
  • Increased endurance and work capacity– Do you believe that some people train for marathons by running sprints only?
  • Improves insulin sensitivity– This helps with burning fat but most of all it helps prevent diabetes.

It just makes sense that the Primitive man would have to run for his life on occasion. With this in mind, I feel the opposite is natural as well. The opposite of Flight is Fight! If there are benefits to running for your life, then there are benefits to fighting for your life. You do not necessarily have to be trained in some type of martial art or fighting style, but you should be in good enough physical condition that you will outlast your attacker. If you are untrained then this will be your defense. Once your attacker is tired, it is at this point that you will be in the position to counter attack or escape. In either case, you will survive.

I am not saying go out and kick somebody’s ass on occasion for exercise. I am saying to train for the fight of your life. This can be as simple as going nuts on a heavy bag once a week or doing some type of martial arts training on a regular basis.

Get out there are move!

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