Best Animal Moves – My Top 7

Let’s start with the second post about Animal Moves. The first part was concerned with the natural movement intelligence of animals and what we learn from them when it comes to moving and physical activity. I described some important basic principles and advantages of Animal Moves. If you missed my latest blog post, click here.

This post is about hands-on experiences. I show you the best Animal Moves. As they are described in detail with images and texts you can try them straight away. Most Animal Moves train the whole body. However, some are more specific for certain muscle groups. Just give it a try!

Lizard Crawl

Lizards move flat over the ground. They move one leg and the opposite arm forward simultaneously. This is exactly what we will do in this exercise. Lizard Crawl strengthens mainly the upper body, in particular arm muscles and core stability.

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Frog Jump

Frogs use their strong thighs to leap forward. Compared to their size they can jump incredibly far. Thus, the Animal Move Frog Jump trains primarily your legs. In addition, the muscles in your shoulders and upper back play an important role.

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Scorpion

Scorpions are skilled hunters that can hurl their sting at lightning speed forward over their head in order to inject poison into their victims. During this exercise we will imitate this poisonous sting. The Animal Move Scorpion requires not only strength but also a proper portion of balance. It trains the whole body.

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Beast Walk

A lot of animals walk on four limbs, for example dogs. When they walk, they step alternatingly one hind leg and the opposite foreleg forwards. Their core is relatively stable. During the Beast Walk we try to imitate this movement. This requires especially our entire core.

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Caterpillar

I guess everybody knows the famous children’s book “The very hungry caterpillar” and from that caterpillars typical way of locomotion. The rear end of the body crawls forward causing the mid-section to bend. Then, the front end of their body crawls forward and so on. For humans imitating this movement it is the perfect exercise for a strong core.

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Monkey

In terms of moving, monkeys are allrounders. They not only have strong legs but also strong arms and backs. That’s why they can climb easily from one tree to another. With the Animal Move Monkey we train the whole body as well.

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Dolphin Push-up

Dolphins are great divers. With their snout forward they dive into the water. With Dolphin Push-ups we try to imitate exactly this diving movement. It is a good exercise for our triceps. In contrast to “usual” push-ups our shoulder muscles are highly involved as well.

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Functional Training – What is it actually? (Part 1)

Functional training is currently experiencing a downright boom and is turning the fitness world completely inside out. You have probably already heard of CrossFit, Freeletics and Calisthenics. Ultimately, these are about holistic and functional training, usually with your own body weight.

 

Put an end to monotone work on weight machines, which looks, for some gym patrons, to be about as exciting as were folding laundry. They make themselves comfortable on the leg press for three sets, and switch after 45. Repetition is boring, even for the machine. Is it any surprise then, that working out isn’t fun?

 

What exactly is functional Training?

The basic principle of functional training is: train movements, not muscles. The isolated targeting of single muscles is non-functional, meaning that there is no equivalent for it, neither in normal everyday life, nor in any kind of sport. Bicep curls or working on the leg extension machine at the gym are great examples of this. It is highly unlikely that we will ever have the opportunity to use those 2 muscles in isolation in real life. Our body doesn’t function through muscles. It functions through movement.

 

In functional training, therefore, the priority is on basic movements and the improvement of basic skills that are universal to all sports. It also includes abilities like stabilizing joints, speed and having good body awareness.

 

An essential component is the completion of these movements with good quality, for two reasons. First, completing movements incorrectly usually leads to compensating movements, which, over time, can lead to problems with posture, muscular imbalance and signs of wear and tear. Second, completing movements incorrectly usually means that we don’t complete the movement in its entire scope, and lose important training results. We could actually train much more efficiently.

 

Training muscle chains – movement instead of muscles

Functional training is based on the natural fact that, for almost all body movements, a wide variety of muscle groups have to work together. Therefore, functional training comprises especially movements that work as many joints and muscles as possible. In many gyms, it is customary to work isolated muscle groups. Functional training is different: it always demands complex interaction of muscles. This especially improves the coordination of muscles and is a much better approximation of natural movements of humans in everyday life and in many sports.

 

Stability

Whereas on traditional weight machines, various cushions give you support, in functional training, movements are completed without support. In normal life outside the gym, we will rarely find guide rails and cushions to stabilize the execution of our movements. This means that functional exercises are decidedly harder in the beginning. But ultimately, every small, stabilizing muscle and every deep muscle around the joint is trained in every work out. And also the core muscles, which are important for good posture and the correct execution of many exercises. I really want to highlight the importance of the core muscles at this point. Strong exercises for abs and back are part of almost every functional training work out.

 

Balance and coordination

Functional training distinguishes itself also in the improvement of balance and intermuscular coordination. On the one hand, complex movement patterns demand that a wide variety of muscles work together. In order to increase performance, muscles have to communicate better and work together, so that strength can be transferred efficiently. On the other hand, movements in open space and uneven surfaces strengthen the stabilizing muscles around the joints. The training of balance and coordination lowers the danger of injury to ligaments and tendons. In old age, this kind of training can clearly reduce the risk of falling.

 

Second Part

Stay tuned for part 2 which will be about exercises and training equipment.