Natural movement is a lens through which we look back in human history to see what activities were essential in the evolution of our bodies. It is a belief that we can not effectively train our body through isolation of body parts and muscles, but only through regular practice of whole body movements that are varied, complex, practical and adaptable.

So what are natural movements?

From many anthropological studies we know that humans were great movers and even better manipulators of tools. In fact, it is our ability to work with tools that may have forced us to be more up right creatures so we can squat, stand, or sit while manipulating something in front of us and then carry our valuable tools with us. Through this evolution we became great walkers, runners, throwers, strikers, squatters and carriers.

Further, we didn’t evolve to run and walk on evenly paved sidewalks, but through complex terrain that involved skills such as jumping, crawling, vaulting, climbing, and swinging.

How do we use natural movement in modern fitness?

Since the reality is we no longer need to, or have time to run through the woods all day naturally challenging our bodies. We must imitate these movements in a gym to increase skill and strength in a way that is closest to our innate movement. We can practice sitting, squatting, lifting, carrying, jumping, throwing, crawling, swinging, vaulting and any combination of these activities.

Audit a class at Ascent to try for yourself.

Physical training and natural movement are not a new practice.

Ancient people tracing back to the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians and later the Greeks and Romans used physical training and education primarily for the purpose of preparing for battle. These systems practiced natural movement and various forms of fighting to stay in shape.

During the industrial revolution the early versions of modern exercise and physical education were born known as – calisthetics and gymnastics. The early gymnastics and calisthenics prioritized practical skills, with effective applications to the real world: running, jumping, balancing, crawling, climbing, lifting and carrying, throwing and catching, swimming, boxing, wrestling, horse riding, stick fighting, and fencing. Later these sports evolved to their modern focus on acrobatics and strength conditioning.

Since the early days of physical training exercise has been through many trends, fads and evolutions. From specialization in sport to powerlifting and bodybuilding. While all these trends are fun and physically challenging, we believe it is through the practice of natural movement that you will get the most well rounded state of health and fitness.