Our primal brothers and sisters may well have been on to something…. Now theres no evidence to suggest our ancestors did any exercise to get fit or loose weight, and thats largly due to the fact that we have never found remains of our early ancestors that suggest obesity.
What we do know is that they lived long, happy, healthy lives, well into their 80’s, with no modern medicine or a treadmill in sight.
The reasons for this are vast and complicated, something Authors such as Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf and Paul Chek can explain much better than myself, But one aspect I will cover in this post is how to exercise, to try and replicate the fitness of our cavemen ancestors:
We are constantly bombarded with new exercise contraptions, Curved treadmills, super pogo boots, Sauna vests, Vibrating platforms etc etc yet we still have an obesity epidemic? Maybe it’s time we tried something old?….
4 functional movement patterns
Pull – It is a basic human function to be able to pull. Pull objects towards us, or pull ourselves towards something. “Pulling” works primarily the posterior chain of our body, (The back) large muscles that take many calories to use and maintain, but also are very useful for maintaining good posture.
The caveman way – Ancient man would often have to pull themselves up trees to avoid a predator or pull their prey home to the tribe.
How we can replicate – Pulling movements are easy to replicate, yet no-body does them? Here are two of my favorite ones
The caveman way – To throw a spear at their prey, or to push themselves away from a rival tribesmen
How we can replicate – Pressing exercises tend to be reserved for the bodybuilding fraternity, but don’t let that put you off, if you couple these exercises with the other functional movement patterns featured in this article you will have a well balanced physique Fred Flintstone would be envious of.
Over head press
To lower our body weight towards the floor and then lift it back up to a standing position is a basic human function, yet many many people struggle getting up from the sofa let alone if they had to quickly lift their bodyweight from the floor to run from a predator. Good thing we’re top of the food chain.
The caveman way – Cavemen, and to this day many traditional societies of the world, hold a deep squat position for hours on end, whether it be to play cards with friends or just as a relaxing seated position we would also have had to squat into a jump to climb trees and cliffs.
How we replicate – Go to any personal trainer and they will get you to do squats, they just work. Their growth hormone releasing properties coupled with their exercise of some of the bodies largest muscles make squats the most superior exercise in peoples quest for fat burning.
Bend – Bending to lift something off of the floor is an every day task, yet this is an exercise that aggravates back pain in countless numbers of modern day man. However thousands of years ago our spinal health was fantastic coupled with (from what research suggests) no back pain.
The Caveman Way – Bend over and lift prey over shoulders, bend over to pick up and move rocks
One arm one leg Deadlift (advanced)
Lunge – Lunging is not something we practice an awful lot these days, with the exception of sports people (Tennis in particular) Lunging is great for balance coordination and lower body strength and stability.
The cave man way – After lifting his prey over his shoulders the caveman would make his way back to the tribe crawling lunging and climbing over various obsticles on the way. He would also have to lunge explosively and quickly in various directions while hunting.
Lunge with rotation
Practice these exercises with our Bristol personal trainers and in no time at all find yourself swinging through the trees, Tarzan style. Have fun!