Animal Flow is a ground-based, bodyweight only movement system that mimics various animal movements along with integrating some of the best elements of yoga and gymnastics.
Sounds hybrid… and it is.
Linear strength and conditioning exercises are still a very important part of any training regimen. Exercises like squats, pressing, pulling and deadlifts are important to build a functional base of strength.
But the human body is designed to move!
Animal Flow drills can improve a person’s movement capacity also. Improving your ability to interact with the ground, using nothing but bodyweight will help you as a mover, and probably make your traditional lifts better.
One the greatest benefits of practicing Animal Flow drills is how quickly a person can build confidence in unique and unfamiliar body positions.
A lot of people lack twisting and rotational movements in their workouts.
Rotation is a basic human movement action and training it consistently can provide some noticeable benefit with regard to performance and postural integrity. It’s quite common to have people comment that their “mid back” (aka: thoracic spine) feels locked up, maybe even achey.
Insufficient mobility at the mid-back region can cause excessive motion at the lower back, as the lower back tries to pick up the slack to make everyday movements possible.
Crab Reach is a great drill to reinforce mid-back mobility while opening up the hip flexors and activating the powerful glute muscles. The stretch from the hip to the shoulder is incredible.
Rotational movements like Scorpions, Crab and various transitions are multi-planar and bridge the gap that many lifts simply cannot fill.
Some refer to this type of training as “ground based conditioning” or “ground based movement”.
Animal Flow exercises and sequences can be scaled for beginners and progressed for elite movers alike.
Sequences are a series of pre-planned movements fused together. Like a movement sentence.
Using Ido Portal’s movement classification system, Animal Flow can be used in Isolation, Integration or Improvisation.
Beginners to Animal Flow will want to start by practicing each movement in isolation to work on the mechanics and adaptation. The range of motion can be modified to suit what you can comfortably handle, but this will improve with practice.
The human body is a brilliant adaptation machine.
Most of my early Animal Flow practice involved spending time focusing on 1 or maybe 2 movements in isolation. I like to work new exercises with a “do less but do it better” type approach.
As my movement efficiency improved, I began to string together 2, 3 even 4 exercises in a row, flowing and transitioning between each for reps or time.
If you haven’t yet explored ground based bodyweight training, you must. The benefits of training movements like you’ll find in Animal Flow will make you a better mover.
If you’re worried the movements don’t look like a hard enough, you’re mistaken. Every exercise has progressions leading up to mastery. The tempo of each exercise can also be manipulated to ramp up the cardio training effect.
Not a lot of people spend a lot of time crawling, or loading the arms using locomotion movements, so the training effect is quite profound.
Find yourself lifting weights a lot? Great! Keep that habit. Strength is important.
But open new movement doors, develop movement efficiency and economy using crawling variations, switches, back bending, twisting, reaching.
10-15 minutes of ground based movement training can leave you exhausted, particularly if you’re new to it and inefficient.
Soreness in the days after is to be expected. Newbies to ground based movement training should consider implementing such training before more linear resistance training takes place, when the body is fresh.
Training total body ground movements can improve all other areas of fitness.
If you’d to learn more about how Animal Flow can improve your movement, here’s a link to the official website.
Otherwise, give a few of these exercise and sequences a try and let me know how you made out…