Animal Flow is a brilliantly designed bodyweight fitness program that can challenge a beginner or someone looking to develop true movement mastery.
Created by Mike Fitch, Animal flow is a bodyweight ground-based movement training system that integrates several training methodologies into one unique workout experience.
If you look closely, you’ll see traditional and hybrid elements of yoga, ground-based locomotion, and various gymnastics drills fused into one flexible training system.
Animal Flow is made up of various Transitions, Switches and Traveling Form exercises, which are modeled after animal-like movements.
Of particular importance to me, is the fact that Animal Flow is scalable to any fitness level.
If only the really fit people can benefit from a workout system, what is the point? And vice versa.
Well designed, scalable training programs have limitless possibilities for progression. This translates into months and likely years of physical improvement.
Talking with my wife the other day, I mentioned that practicing movement keeps people younger for longer.
You’ve probably seen some of the movements…
Most people will be able to identify many of the traveling forms included in Animal Flow workouts. Of the three main traveling forms: Ape, Beast and Crab, only Beast has been more commonly referred to as “bear” or “bear crawling” in other areas of fitness.
Here’s a translation chart:
Animal Flow -> Other Fitness Names
Ape -> Gorilla
Beast -> Bear
Crab -> Crab
The really stuffy fitness crowd may be using terms like supine or prone, but for simplicity and memory of the Animal Flow movement catalog, animal names are best for identifying the patterns.
Adding Traveling Forms to my workouts…
Over the last few months, I’ve increased my weekly frequency of crawling and traveling forms from 1-2 times per week (only in warm ups), to almost daily and for much longer durations.
I’ve posted several videos on the Meauxtion YouTube page demonstrating 5+minutes of traveling forms/crawling. 5+ minutes seems like a long time to be fixed in a crawling position but when you’re focused on soft interactions with the floor and body position, the time passes quickly.
If you increase the tempo of the traveling forms (and transitions/switches) to initiate a cardio training effect, then yes, time drags on as it often does with other forms of cardio.
But crawling is an exercise thriving off of soft and controlled interactions with the ground. There is virtually no impact force while crawling.
Increasing the time spent crawling using it’s variation is more endurance related. The limiting factor for long duration crawling might be hand/wrist conditioning, upper extremity
How I use traveling forms…
When I’m looking to challenge my core and upper extremities with some loading but still engage in movement, crawling serves a valuable purpose. Particularly on days where I wake up and feel residual fatigue or muscle soreness from the previous day’s resistance training or metabolic conditioning workouts.
All three of the featured Traveling Forms have a couple variations:
- Fast or slow tempo
- Forward, Reverse or Lateral
If your new to Animal Flow exercises, slow and controlled tempo is a logical place to start, as it will allow for motor pattern education. With practice, it will not take long to establish control in these positions.
From there, the movements can be adjusted to a faster cadence in order to challenge your cardio.
A is for Ape
B is for Beast
C is for Crab
Another “Why?” behind including more Traveling Forms…
Here’s another reason for including more Traveling Forms in my workouts: I find it interesting and I look forward to it.
With regard to training, I am a chronic justifier. Meaning, in the past, I rarely train for the fun of it. Every exercise, set and rep scheme, weight, duration could be monitored and justified to have a specific purpose.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed the challenge of training, but I have never really stopped and thought, “Man, I am really having a great time right now”.
Animal Flow Traveling Forms injected some fun into my training regimen.
One of the secrets of maintaining a healthy relationship with your fitness is to partake in activities you look forward to. The human mind is too weak to sustain a workout regimen you’re not looking forward to. You’ll fizzle out on it in time.
Animal Flow and Ido Portal Method training re-ignited my interest in exploring my movement capacity. I love a good physical challenge, and these bodyweight ground-based movement patterns provide it every single time.
Engaging in more locomotion-based exercises reminded me it’s possible to leave a workout exhausted but REFRESHED, not beaten into a pulp.
Lizard crawling for 10-15 yards (Ido Portal Method) can leave your body feeling as if you’ve never worked out a day in your life. This is largely because it’s new and you haven’t done it before, I get that. But the challenge of such ground-based crawling, even shorter distances, can’t be denied.
One big benefit to learning the basics of Animal Flow is it’s rooted in bodyweight based training.
What does this mean? It means…
… everywhere you go, no matter what the circumstances or limitations, if you’ve got a little time and space, you’ve got an Animal Flow workout in your back pocket.
The anxiety relief in being able to workout wherever and whenever is HUGE. It may be hard to understand until you’re in the situation.
For more info, check out the Animal Flow website.
Cheers to the Basics of Animal Flow,