3 Ways to Use Natural Movement to Boost Athleticism and Fitness

In this week’s episode, I’m going to teach you even more about how to use natural movement to build athleticism and fitness very, very quickly, and to gain coordination skills that will serve you well the rest of your life. If you want to be a modern-day athlete who can hone ancient skills to be ready for anything, then this episode is for you. Prepare to get inspired to leave the gym and take your fitness routine to nature—to climb, swim, skip, throw, and jump their way to your own heroic feats.

Ben Greenfield
6-minute read
Episode #241

The Natural Method promotes the physical qualities of natural, asymmetric forms of resistance, such as awkward rocks and logs, combined with muscular coordination and speed, being able to walk, run, jump, move on all fours front wards, backwards and sideways, and having the physical capability to climb, to keep balance, to throw, to defend yourself, and to swim. These skills are combined with the mental qualities of courage, coolness under pressure, respect, willpower, and the ability to overcome obstacles, such as the fear of falling, fear of jumping across distances, fear of plunging into cold water, fear of walking on an unstable surface, etc.

A typical Natural Method training session would be composed of exercises belonging to ten fundamental groups:

1.      Walking

2.      Running

3.      Jumping

4.      Quadrupedal movement (crawling)

5.      Climbing

6.      Equilibrium (balancing)

7.      Throwing

8.      Lifting

9.      Defending (wrestling, boxing, etc.)

10.   Swimming

So, a training session might consist of finding an outdoor park and walking, then jogging, then sprinting, then jumping, then crawling, then climbing on something like a park bench or playground equipment or a tree, balancing on a fence or swingset, picking up a rock and carrying the rock, tussling with a workout partner (or your dog), and if any water is around, swimming. During something like Parkour, a movement practice that I first described in “5 Ways To Get Smarter While You Exercise,” this might consist of doing everything spontaneously with a group of friends on some unspecified route through the park, forest trail, or even urban environment like a skateboard park. During an outdoor boot camp or nature workout, this might all be organized into a structured 20 to 60 minute workout. During an obstacle course race, it may even be a timed event that includes pre-built structures like balance beams, ladders, and rope swings.

How to Get Started With Natural Movement

Sounds like fun, eh? So, how can you get started with natural movement?


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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