The Principle

PrimalThenics is a unique training style that uses nothing but your bodyweight to deliver improvement in mobility, strength and cardiovascular fitness. It seeks to improve symmetry in your body through movements that require equal sided body strength to progress.

The movements are designed to expose your weaknesses and force you to confront them as it requires you to work muscles and joints through full ranges of motion whilst under load to increase mobility.

PrimalThenics not only works to improve your strength and conditioning but also targets the neurological aspects of movement control through greater stimulation of the pathways between your brain and muscles.

The Application

The training can be tailored to your level of conditioning, mobility and ability. There are always two or three levels with each exercise that provide easier or harder options. The key is to have the humility to go backwards before you go forwards. To expose your weaknesses, confront them, and embrace them.  To get the greatest success from PrimalThenics you require the humility to regress before you progress.

Each session takes you through a Prepare, Hunt, Kill, Feed and Recharge section with each part having a specific purpose.

The Technology

Training sessions are delivered to you via online video streaming so you can download sessions to follow along as if you were at a class at a time and place convenient to you.

Training sessions can be completed anywhere as they require no equipment, just you, water-bottle, towel, your iPad/device and a few square meters of space.

The sessions feature unique guests to provide inspiration and help motivate you to train. Olympians, weekend warriors, ex professional athletes, professionals – teachers, nurses, doctors, bloggers, CEO’s, parents and every day people like you and me.

 
 
What is in a Session
 

1. Hunt

The HUNT section is the Primal idea of chasing down our prey. It is not Block 1 with 3 sets of 8. It is the premise that as humans we move to find sustenance and live. The HUNT section involves strength endurance elements; the aim that to succeed you don’t need to be the strongest or the fastest, just the one who does not stop. Grind through this section. Take rest when needed, just work to the best of your ability.

2. Kill

You have done the hard work, you pushed through the HUNT, now we take the intensity up a notch and we go hard and fast for the KILL section. By doing the extra hard work here, we get the sustenance we need. HIIT can create massive shifts in your metabolism, strength and conditioning. This will enhance your health and fitness and this is what training is about. Let the aesthetics follow because of the work and health changes.

 

3. Feed

Finish off with the reward. After doing the HUNT and KILL you are now ready for the FEED. Training results are always dependant on the last effort you put in following on from the bulk of the work. The last reps are the ones that count the most, so make the last set the best set.

4. Recharge

HIIT is a stressor to your nervous system which is why we generally don’t do it every day with PrimalThenics. Use the RECHARGE to calm the body down, release a few tight muscles, glide some nerves to facilitate relaxation and reduced muscular tension. Take the opportunity to congratulate yourself on the work you achieved and take that thought process into your day.

Be prepared

First, we Map the Joints and the eyes

By mapping a joint you can increase the joint space. In doing so the joint can then send better signals to the brain, telling your brain where it is in time and space. As such the joint receives better commands from the brain and it becomes a more stable joint.

By engaging in eye exercises we stimulate the largest sensory input to the brain.

Second, Move.
 

In the movement section we seek to identify restrictions, begin to work through mobility drills, and incorporate nerve glides to so that you can begin to move better.

Three: Explore.
 

Explore movement in two fundamental positions, the squat and the push up position. Here you will easily identify movement insufficiencies, body asymmetries, tight spots and weak spots, and restrictions. We now know where to start breaking them down. 

 

Four, Crawl.

The development of basic crawling strength and awareness further activates the brain body connection. A crawling pattern allows for multiple sensory inputs, hands and feet as opposed to just normally feet, and challenges the visual and vestibular system in a different position. 

Five, Activation.  

Activate muscle groups they are prone to tightness and weakness and that play a huge role in posture and stability, the gluteals and the abdominal core. Unfortunately, these muscles take a beating as a result of sitting all day, poor shoes (high heels, or sneakers with arch support and heel lifts) and lack of training.

These five steps are an effective way to get you ready to train. They serve as the warm up, The Prepare section of my training. Following on from this is where the hard work begins; The Hunt, The Kill and The Feed.

Dorky, right? I know but I wanted to move away from the whole set 1 and round 1 thing. Training, should be more than just about sports performance for most of us.

It is a primal necessity. It is where we get the ability to live and move confidently. 

 

Training, should be more than just about sports performance for most of us.

It is a primal necessity. It is where we get the ability to live and move confidently.

 
 
Principles of Training
 

Train with humility and intent

Seek to expose your weaknesses, work at your level, don’t be concerned if you can’t do it, just regress and work on it, do your best. This is a growth mind-set, a paradigm where by you acknowledge you can improve if you commit to consistent work and effort.

No heroes

We train to burn fat, build muscle and have fun. We train to expand your fitness through movement. We train because it is a privilege, a responsibility, an integral part of our health and who we are as a species. We are not here to wreck people, ruin their days, or leave them incapacitated for their life. If you are in pain, STOP. Train with intent and humility.

Share the session

Include, interact and engage with others as you train. Share with others what you have learnt and inspire others to get moving.

 

IDEOLOGY

PrimalThenics is about reclaiming your freedom to move and train. It is the combination of primal crawling based movements and high intensity calisthenics. 

One of its base premise’s is the training of joint and muscular strength and stability through a full and active range of motion whilst under the load of your body. As such it places a firm emphasis on restoring natural and healthy movement capabilities as well as seeking to enhance the clarity of the sensory and motor maps of the body that reside in the brain.

+ Read more

All power output is determined by the amount and clarity of information the brain receives – input. This input is comprised of the visual system, the vestibular system and the proprioceptive system. The quality of these inputs determines the clarity of the map, which then determines the quality of the output – power/skill.

The body is represented in the brain in the sensory-somatic cortex, and is referred to as the sensory homunculus man/women.

The sensory cortex plays an integral role in posture because the sensory cortex receives stimulation from stimuli such as proprioceptive signals and mechanoreceptor signals from complex movements. In fact the worst thing for your sensory cortex is a lack of movement. A reduced amount of stimulation to an area of the sensory cortex, causes the sensory map to “blur” creating less representation of that body part in the brain.

Have you ever had an injured knee? Did you wear a knee brace that limited your range of motion? This limited motor output of the knee would have lead to less tactile and proprioceptive feedback from the knee, causing the brain to blur its representation of the knee whilst also increasing the representation of the hip and ankle.

+ Soreness

Furthermore, when we are in constant pain/tight/sore/overworked/injured these areas of inflammation or injury become highlighted in the brain map of the body (the homunculus) and impede other areas and impair the natural map of the body. They in essence become little ‘red zones’ on the body map, and, as such, take focus of other areas on the map thus reducing their ability to be utilised for their function. If the brain cannot see them clearly it cannot engage them fully.

Think sore back. Red Zone. The abdominal core muscles and the gluteal muscle/s become diminished on the map, the hip flexors become overactive as they seek to stabilise the pelvis and further motor coordination (the muscle’s ability to engage properly) is impaired. Due to the altered map!

+ Creating a better sensory-motor cortex map

The ability to create better maps is provided by mechanoreceptors in the body sending more information to the sensory-motor cortex. These mechanoreceptors are employed when we move. The more we move, the more complex the movement the more mechanoreceptors engaged. The more mechanoreceptors we engage the more information our brain can receive. When the brain receives more information it creates a better map. Conversely, when we cease to move, limit complex movements and engage in poor movement or movement that is compromised because of joint stiffness and immobility, the clarity of the maps in the brain deteriorate. This is the strength and conditioning application to the neuroplasticity term ‘use it or lose it’, which refers to the brain’s ability to retain skills/health if it is engaged frequently.

Improved mapping, Healthy movement capabilities, and the ability to be strong at your weakest point in a complex movement, allow for the improvement of more focussed endeavours like sports, weightlifting and running.

It is easy enough, and a common sight at any gym, to see people force a weight that is too heavy for them into a lift. Think of a squat or deadlift or bench press. The body can contort under the bar, and over compensations in other areas not related to the movement, combined with terrible technique, can allow the person to lift a weight far outside of what they could or should be lifting. Furthermore, it is often the case that many if not all of us have multiple asymmetries in our bodies. One side of our back tighter than the other, an old ankle or shoulder injury on one side of the body, a gluteal group that is not firing/activating on one side of the body.

The Map encompasses the neural structures that reside in the brain that provide information about where the body is in time and space.

Picture this in the form of the map in your brain:

If you are then to put a heavy bar on your back for a squat, perform a bench press or dead lift or shoulder press, what happens to that weight distribution as a result of poor biomechanics, asymmetries, and non-firing muscle groups.

Is the weight evenly distributed down your spine, through your hips and into your feet when squatting? Are your shoulders comfortable or safe lifting a bar above your head?

+ Conclusion

Combine all the above issues with our understanding of body maps in the brain and you can see why issues occur when people don’t train properly or seek to undertake corrective exercises.

PrimalThenics seeks to address these issues. It can be a sole system of training, or as a prelude to further training (weights, running, sports), or as a rehabilitative measure following years away from training, aches and pains, or training plateaus.

 

THE GREATNESS OF CRAWLING

The crawling drills incorporated into this program are more than just warm up drills, cool names, or different ways to get you tired. When performed with intent and correct technique, the crawling movements are intense full body exercises that stimulate the brain and create high levels of strength and conditioning, coordination, flexibility, mobility and motor control.

Crawling movement patterns have permeated all sports to a degree, but particularly the realms of wrestling, gymnastics and martial arts. Their beneficial effects though should not be limited to just these athletes, but to everyone interested in optimal health and fitness.

Primal crawling positions create links between your muscular and nervous systems to keep you strong, healthy and functional. Primal crawling positions are versatile and don’t require much space or any equipment, as well, crawling represents the most basic form of movement.  It simultaneously loads every single joint in the body whilst challenging full body dynamic stability and mobility.

Basic Neuromuscular Development

As a result of evolutionary achievements, the goal of neuromuscular development is to progress to two feet and walking. The ability to utilize the fundamental movement patterns that allow bi-pedal movement such as crawling, kneeling, being supine, rolling and various forms of locomotion close to the ground have for most been greatly diminished due to a sedentary lifestyle. As a result, commonplace activities like moving, walking, running, engaging in complex movement and living pain free elude most.

Despite this, our abilities to engage in such activities are still there we just need to employ efficient and effective ways to ‘re-program the system. If we are able to re-engage these primitive movement patterns, then activities higher onthe ‘movement hierarchy’, such as running, jumping, lifting heavy objects and further complex movements, become more achievable.

PrimalThenics seeks to re-pattern, regain and re-learn our fundamental primitive movements.  

One of their primary benefits crawling movements offer is their ability to stimulate the brain. By placing the body in an inverted position (face down) the vestibular system, visual system and proprioceptive system all receive a different stimulus from being in such a different position/s. The addition of movement forces receptors in the hands, fingers and elbows as well as the feet to provide information to the brain on where you are in time and space. Additionally, the spine and abdominal core are forced to act as both a stabilisers and force transferor’s.

The use of the hands as load bearers forces the upper body musculature to engage and partake of load bearing. When this is then put into a crawling pattern such as the bear, whereby, the contralateral foot and hand (i.e. left foot, right hand) maintain ground contact and are the body stabilisers, the abdominal core and spine must act as trunk stabilisers, force transferors. They have to maintain and aid (not inhibit) force production and transference from the lower body to the upper body, from one side of the body to the other, as well as from to back.

The implementation of contralateral movements of the hands and feet is also a great tool to increase the brain’s motor skills application. Using the opposite foot and hand engages cross-hemisphere networking in the brain; as in, right motor cortex in the brain will control left hand moving, whilst left motor cortex in the brain will control right foot moving.  Whilst the right motor cortex is sending signals to the left hand it is also sending signals to the right brain stem to stabilise the right side of the body, additionally, the left motor cortex is sending signals to the right foot to move whilst also sending signals to the left brain stem to stabilise the left side of the body! All this happening in the basic pattern of crawling.

The brain is the receiver of all sensory input in the body, as well as the determinant of all power output potential in the body. Therefore, tasking the brain to receive more input from both the hands and feet on the ground as load bearers, forcing the spine and abdominal core to act as reactive stabilisers, and the inversion of the visual and vestibular system which forces them to engage in new and challenging positions is a good thing. Why? Because, it sends more signals to the brain. By sending more signals to the brain, the brain has a greater map of the body with greater clarity. With more information, more points on the map and a map of greater clarity the brain can and will allow for more power out put.

Crawling = better maps = more strength = more awesomeness because you crawled.

Other benefits

  • hip flexibility and mobility
  • anti-rotation/extension/flexion strength of abdominal core
  • force transference from lower body to upper body through spinal and abdominal core stability, strength and mobility.
  • wrist, hand, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, rotator cuff, chest, upper back, mid back and abdominal conditioning, strength, stability and mobility
  • gluteal, quads, adductors, hamstring, calf strength, stability and mobility
  • the ability of the body to move under load through a full range of motion = full body stability and mobility
  • scapulae movement, stability, mobility, Improvements in eccentric, concentric and isometric protraction, retraction as well as elevation
  • FULL BODY CONDITIONING