Basics of The Ido Portal Training Method

Ido Portal


Ido Portal

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Ido Portal is everywhere on the internet these days.  There is no shortage of Ido Portal movement videos on YouTube and commentary from bloggers and podcasters regarding his views on the health and wellness industry.

[I do not speak for Ido Portal in any way.  Ido is a man with his own original thoughts and ideas.  Anything I write or discuss on this blog is my interpretation of information he’s published on his social media page, his old blog, Youtube interviews and various other sources.]

My background…

I have a deep background in strength and conditioning.  It’s traditional in every sense of the word.  Probably too traditional in fact.  It’s taken years to drop my guard on these traditional ways and open up to other movement training philosophies.  Old habits truly die hard.  

From the moment I bumped into Ido’s work, I knew something was different about his philosophies.  The Ido Portal Method seemed to be an open platform, subject to change, subject to revision if there was a better way.  The movement standards were much higher than anything else I’d read about before.

Since my initial exposure, I’ve begun the slow process of digesting Ido’s information,  integrating many of his beginner movement drills into my own workouts.  The shift in my movement I.Q. has been profound (in a good way), despite not committing 100% to his programming.  

I’ve also played around with my own variations of his famous Lizard Crawl…IMG_4167 

It’s been humbling, frustrating and exciting to explore new realms of movement.

Here’s my interpretation of the “movement culture”.

Ido Portal Training Methodology…

If you’re looking to get the summarized view (“movement” is a hard topic to summarize) of what drives Ido Portal’s movement methodology, it’s generally accepted to resemble something like the following:

Isolation—>  Integration—> Improvisation

Step 1:  Isolation

Step 2:  Integration

Step 3: Improvisation

However, of what I currently comprehend about Ido’s training philosophies, the transition from isolation to integration to improvisation serves as the fundamental backbone of the movement system.

It’s a higher standard and a logical progression.  Here is how each section can be described further…


Isolation based movement for Ido Portal is what’s being taught by most traditional personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches, although this is slowly shifting.  Squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, pull-ups, glute ham raises, unilateral training (single arm push ups, pistol squats, etc) rows, planks, crawling, hip hinging etc… are all considered isolation exercises.

Bicep curls, triceps push-downs, “skull crushers” and crunches are seemingly child’s play.  Good luck spotting them anywhere in the Ido Portal Method catalog of exercises/drills.  

Use the right tool for the job of course, but I haven’t seen a single machine based exercise in his programming.

For Ido, the translation of isolation is simple:  Isolation = movement patterns

Grey Cook’s life’s work is centered around establishing better movement patterns.  Better squat patterns, lunge patterns, rotational core stability patterns, etc.  The Functional Movement Screen is a fantastic movement screening system, but it’s incredibly fixated on isolation movements.  Anyways, elaboration on movement patterns will have to wait for another article.  

The lightbulb moment and humbling part for me initially was the lowest rung of Ido’s movement classification system represents what are commonly viewed as the highest rung of the ladder for most anyone else.  This is a positive shift for the health industry.

The Ido Portal Method makes stopping number based training (adding more weight, doing more reps, finishing the same amount of work faster, etc) look mediocre and complacent.  

Once you know, you cannot unknow.  That’s how I feel at the moment.  To each their own of course, but it’s important to understand that training methods like this exist.  Methods that are highly effective and systematically achievable through proper guided progression.  

Your relationship with your physical practice might be different than mine, which is fine, let’s honor and celebrate this uniqueness.  That being said, I feel a curiosity, maybe more of a duty to explore the outer fringes of my own movement capacity.  

Ido has swept the dust off this sort of thinking and deserves credit for spearheading the movement.


Integration is the where we begin to form sentences from the words (isolation).  A squat is no longer just a squat.  The squat is a movement pattern that flows into other movement patterns, or maybe a series of movement patterns.  There is a heavy capoeira influence in Ido’s teachings, no doubt about it.  

Here is a great video example of what I’m referring to:

I might sound like a psychotic fan, but this stuff is a revolutionary paradigm shift in fitness.  Something  I believe the world will slowly beginning warm up to.

Nike has…

Ido Portal Nike

Ido often refers to himself as a “mover”, thus the name of his crazy expensive yet popular and consistently sold out training camps, “MovementX”.

It’s been said a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe this video is worth a million.  Another example of integration…

Integration builds on the physical preparation from isolation training.  Inside of the integration portion of Ido’s training philosophy is pre-planned movement sequences.  Think about a dancer that has a choreographed dance routine.  It’s still a very difficult routine, but it’s planned, you know what’s coming next.  

I’ve probably watched the above “Locomotion Research” video 50+ times and it never seems to get old watching someone move like water.  All of the movement sequences shown in the video are difficult, especially if you think you’re just going to throw on your running shoes, drop down and flow it out as a party trick.  Not happening.

You’ll be humbled by the amount of integrated mobility, stability, and strength needed to complete the moves.  It’s 3-Dimensional movement requiring a level of proprioception, range of motion and muscular firing most people have never experienced.  


Ido has commented on numerous podcasts that improvised movement represents the highest form of human movement.  I couldn’t agree more.

Dominating isolation helps the transition to integration.  With hours of practice, one will arrive at the final progression of Ido’s movement philosophy… improvisation.

World-class gymnasts (pound for pound the strongest people on the planet) aren’t expressing improvised movement during their competition routines.  It’s all been practiced and choreographed prior.  I’m not trying to take anything away from gymnasts (because they represent the top 1%), I am just bringing to light the fact that they are executing routines that have been practiced hundreds, if not thousands of times before it’s viewed by the public eye.

Regarding improvisational movement, Ido has mentioned several times he thinks there is a dimension to be explored beyond it.  

Where do we go after improvisation?  Ido wasn’t quite sure, but the feeling is that something else exists…

Bringing it home…

Ido Portal represents an incredible shift in the lens with which we view and define fitness.  Humans are engineered to move (climb, run, jump, roll, carry, etc) and I think there is an emerging sector of people who want to experience the thrill of moving again.

Traditional physical fitness methods aren’t going anywhere soon, nor should they.  

If isolation represents the foundation on which higher levels of movement are built, we still need to be encouraging the execution these basics of isolation.  There is still a place for technique driven power, strength, stability, and mobility based exercises/drills.

A stronger, more stable, more mobile, more resilient human is an improved human.  

Since this initial evaluation of Ido Portal’s training methodology, the fans are still waiting for published work from Ido.  Unfortunately, nothing yet.  

But, there are other movement programs to explore, which will bring you very close Ido’s teachings.

After sifting through dozens, I now promote only 1 other movement training program for building up locomotion patterns: Animal Flow.

Animal Flow: Isolation, Integration, and Improvisation

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Animal Flow is a brilliant ground-based bodyweight training system that teaches many of the elements you’ll find inside The Ido Portal Method.  Particularly the locomotion patterns.  

* Of course, Animal Flow is not Ido Portal Method.  

That being said, the animal influenced locomotion exercises found in Animal Flow is very similar to what Ido Portal is teaching at the base level.  

Ground-based, body weight locomotion drills. 

[Another thing… and this isn’t a jab at Ido by any means, but he didn’t invent his training methodology from scratch.  The Ido Portal Method is a melting pot of the best movement ideas from around the world, combined and refined into a system.  Even the documentary “Just Move” talks about Ido traveling the world to learn from the best in different movement sectors.  He is a brilliant mind made up of a collection of movement ideas.]  

So, if you’re new to movement training, Animal Flow is an ideal place to start.  The Ido Portal Method, as great as it is, hasn’t produced a training program for the masses to practice.  You could train in private with Ido, if you’ve got $2000+ to fork over.  The fact is there are GREAT programs teaching similar ideas for a fraction of the cost.  

As Ido commented in his recent movie premiere, very little of what he’s teaching is new.  It’s merely absorbing, improving and integrating ideas from pre-existing movement disciplines found across the globe.  

Much like The Ido Portal Method, movements are initially practiced in isolation and later strung together to create movement sequences and flows.  The tempo of workouts can be adjusted to create a cardio-strength type training effect or a dynamic yoga-like experience. 

I stumbled onto Animal Flow not long after finding The Ido Portal Method.  I was initially drawn to Animal Flow because how well it was structured.  It’s completely turn-key, loaded with progressions and regressions.    

Most of all, it represented a vehicle to help me gain an understanding of the value of body weight ground-based training.   

Mike Fitch (creator) also peaked my interest as his movement capacity is world-class.  

Over the past few months, I’ve cherry-picked basic exercises and movement sequences from Animal Flow and worked them hard.  Exercises like Beast, Crab, and Scorpions are now a part of every workout, serving as either a warm-up or as the workout itself.

The first few sessions sucked, mainly rotational transitions.  My spine was stiff as hell from years of “bracing”, “rigid neutral spine”, stability training, etc.  However, it is amazing how quickly the body adapts to what is consistently practiced.  Spinal flexibility is improving every single day. 

The confidence in my movement has increased 10-fold as my body understands previously unfamiliar positions and locomotion drills.  

If you have even an ounce of interest in the buzz surrounding Ido Portal’s work, Animal Flow is worth an evaluation as a convenient, train anywhere, cost-effective alternative. 

Here is a link to the Animal Flow website.


If you’ve enjoyed the material here, make sure you check out other M(eaux)tion content:



Cheers to the Basics of The Ido Portal Training Method…




A Simple Kettlebell Swing and Jump Rope Workout for You to Try

Quick Tips

I love simplicity and this workout doesn’t disappoint on that front.  

When I am not training to build raw strength, I love work capacity style training sessions to improve cardiovascular performance, maintain my strength and probably best of all… stay lean.  I don’t have to sacrifice muscle with work capacity training sessions that use resistance-based exercises.  This is important to me as my goal is to keep bodyfat low, not lose muscle mass.

Keeping muscle mass is the reason that most people stay lean in the first place, it is a calorie consuming tissue.  It takes more calories to sustain muscle than it does to sustain fat.  Keep trying to build more muscle at all costs.

I will never deny that work capacity training is unreal for people who seek fat loss or those who have already lost fat and just want basic maintenance training.  I hold the opinion that we can organize these work capacity workouts to be just as effective without all of the risk of injury.  Choose exercises and the variables wisely (rest periods, work periods, load, etc)  

That is an idea worth pursuing in my humble opinion.  Keep people safe and while getting rid of fatty tissue at a rapid rate.

You get the vibe.   

Let’s get into the workout.

So here is what you’ll need on hand for this workout:

–  Small space (8x8ft or so)

–  Jump Rope

–  Kettlebell that you can swing 20 times with no problems (lighter than your best)

–  Interval Timer or any other timing device


Here is how the workout will be structured:

1)  You’ll be working in 2 minute segments, alternating between the following drills w/o rest in between:

  • 1 minute of jump rope
  • 15 Kettlebell Swings

2)  After your last rep of kettlebell swings, rest for the remainder of the 2 minute block.

3)  Catch your breath, towel off, grab a drink and set up for jumping rope once again.

4)  Once the clock reaches the 2 minute mark, you’ll begin jumping rope for 1 minute followed immediately by 15 kettlebell swings.

*** There is NO REST between the transition from jumping rope and kettlebell swings.

 ***Just so I can make sure that you understand the structure of the rounds, you’ll begin the next set of jumping rope (after 20min) at:  18min, 16min, 14min, 12min, 10min…etc.  Does this make sense?  


Why do I love workouts like this?

Because I can get the cardio training effect that I want while staying vertical and using a movement like kettlebell swings to elicit a near total body muscular contraction.  Kettlebell swings are notorious for being a great method for decreasing body fat, and jumping rope is a skill that everyone could stand to get better at.  Vertical cardio work like this is highly functional if I do say so myself, especially when you compare it to other forms of cardio that involve fixed machines like elipticals, treadmills and recumbent bikes.  

Staying on your feet while working through fatigue has great carryover to the demands of life.  

I value this aspect of a workout like this.  

Holding posture during the later rounds of the jump rope will be challenging, but it’s important to control your breathing patterns as you fatigue.  It’s not as bad as you think it is, so relax, stay vertical and let the air flow in and out.  Focus hard on technique with the kettlebell swing.  If it gets sloppy, stop the set and rest until the next bout of jumping rope arrives.  


—>  Beginners

If you’re a beginner, you can scale the workout back a bit to better suit your abilities.  Try jumping for 30-45 seconds and swinging for 8-10 reps.  You could even knock off a few rounds, and work through say 8 rounds instead of 10.  It’s up to you how you want to work it out.


—>  Advanced

If you want to ramp it up beyond the original workout listed above, your best bet is to add a few rounds or increase the weight of the kettlebell.  I have done as many as 15 x 2 minute rounds (30 minutes total work) which got a little long I must admit.  

This is a great workout that can truly breathe fresh air into your currently training schedule.  If you are sick of boring ass cardio, give this a shot.  A workout like this will have a far greater impact than jogging or biking for the same about of time.  It’s important to know that you have alternatives to traditional cardio training.  

Trade the treadmill for a kettlebell and a jump rope.  Then get to work. 

Simple training tools, simple exercises and simple workout structure… Enjoy!


Cheers to swings and jumps!






5-10-15-20-15-10-5 = Fat Loss Work Capacity Lottery Jackpot

30 Minute Workouts

I will waste no time here.  Tear through this one folks…

Chin-Up x5

Push Up x10

KB Swing x15

BW Squat Jumps x20

KB Swing x15

Push Up x10

Chin Up x5

Beginners:  2-3 complete cycles with 90-120sec rest.

Intermediate:  3-4 complete cycles with 75-90 sec rest

Advanced:  5 rounds cycles with 60sec or less rest.

Equipment:  Some kind of pull up bar, kettlebell (optional but recommended)

Including a full warm up which takes 10 minutes and the actual workout itself which takes 16 minutes, this entire training session will cost you 26 minutes of your life.

Throw the time excuse out the window I guess, right?

Watch out for the swings on this one.  If you do not have kettlebells to play with or you are not comfortable with your kettlebell swing technique while fatigued, I would suggest substituting some kind of lunge.  Lunges are still a hip-dominant movement.  The only loss will be the explosive aspect that the kettlebell swing brings to the table.

I will talk about why I am a fan of kettlebell swings for loaded cardiovascular type work in a future posts.

If you were in a pinch, a properly prescribed dosage of kettlebell swings a couple of times per week might be all you need to strip fat.

This is of course assuming that your eating HABITS are in check.