What Are Paleo Exercises?

Learn all about paleo exercises and get a sample paleo workout so you can exercise like a caveman.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #44

It seems that there’s been quite a bit of talk about paleo diets and paleo nutrition lately.

What Is Paleo Eating?

The basic idea behind the paleo style of eating is that you avoid many modern agricultural foods, such as bread and cereal, and also avoid highly processed foods, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and just about anything that our caveman ancestors wouldn’t have recognized as real food.

Though there are good arguments both for and against a paleo approach to eating, one important question for fitness enthusiasts is: if I’m going to eat like a caveman, how do I exercise like a caveman?

What Are Paleo Exercises?

Ancient man did not likely have access to Pilates reformer machines, fancy weight-lifting machines, or a posh gym membership. Although there are certainly advantages to these modern day fitness conveniences, it is possible to build a very impressive and fit body using a range of movements that are called “functional” or “multi-joint” exercises. These paleo exercises incorporate the same types of movements our primal ancestors would have had to perform in order to survive in an unpredictable environment, whether being chased by a lion, throwing a spear, moving heavy logs or rocks, or fighting.

How to Exercise Like a Caveman

Paleo exercises can be broken down into the following seven movements:

  • squatting,

  • bending,

  • lunging,

  • pushing,

  • pulling,

  • twisting, and

  • running (and other gait exercises).


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.