The Primal Movement Continuum: From Crawling to Sprinting
As human beings we go through many different developmental changes from infancy to adulthood. As infants we are born with a very mobile, pliable, almost plastic body that primes us and gets us ready for more dynamic movement. Stability in the body is “earned.”
The ability to run at maximum speed is part of the evolutionary survival physiology, as was the ability of our ancestors to walk long distances in search of food. The ability to be able to sprint, albeit over short distances, enabled our ancestors to catch small animals for food and also to avoid becoming the prey of larger predators. In summary, it appears, from close examination of the capacity for energy production in human skeletal muscles that our ancestors were long-distance walkers with the ability to sprint for brief periods as and when necessary. -Clyde Williams (The Olympic Textbook of Science in Sport, Chapter 2).
Through movement and exploration we gain body awareness. As the baby develops the necessary strength and stability in the neck (and the eyes), it is able lift the head and start looking around at this new world. The need to explore and investigate our environment is innate and is what allows babies to develop the entire neuromuscular platform.
The Primal Movement Continuum was developed to categorize the early stages of human movement from creeping, crawling, rocking, rolling, walking and all the way up to running, sprinting and jumping. All movement originates from the ground up meaning that we all learned how to move by feeling the ground and eventually pressing into the ground with our hands and feet.
Ask yourself: “Can I move well and do I possess the ability to move without pain and restriction?” Chances are that if you are having chronic pain or nagging injuries you will be well served by relearning how to move from the ground up. Past injuries don’t mean that you cannot run and sprint, but they do mean that you need to establish a better foundation of fundamental movements such as rolling, creeping, crawling, squatting, pushing, pulling, twisting and more.
Build the BASE first with mindful and graceful primitive patterns and then watch how well your progress in the more power based movements such as sprinting, jumping and explosive change of direction in any environment.
Many people these days exercising are “surviving” the movements rather than thriving from them. This can be seen by looking at the tension on the face (facial expressions) as well a change in breathing to overuse the accessory muscles of respiration (upper traps, SCM, Scalenes, Levator Scapulae, and others).
Primal Speed’s Goal
The goal with Primal Speed is to apply just the right amount of stress to the body to help nudge it out of homeostasis but not so much as to crush it and send it into a defensive or protective mode (i.e. startle response).
When building a house, a large and stable foundation needs to be the bedrock of the house before any building can occur. The same is true with the human body. The foundation must be built first if the body is to withstand the brutal forces of entropy and the more impactful and force producing movements such as sprinting, jumping, Olympic lifting and kettlebell training.
Once your primitive and primal movements are proficient than you can start STRENGTH and POWER training. You were never designed to just crawl and to just roll. You were also designed to lift heavy things and move them. You were designed to walk for long distances and keep your body in motion for long periods of time without excessive fatigue or lethargy.
Evolutionary evidence also supports the ability to climb and throw things. And finally you were designed to SPRINT and JUMP and move your body in all directions with precision and ballistic power. That is where Primal Sprint is now taking you! Enter the world of pure power and speed training. Because after all, being able to increase the velocity of your body is a natural skill that must be cultivated if you are to achieve your true movement potential and ability.
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