Category Archives: Philippe Til

Legs Training Preparation

Leave a comment
Photo from The Natural Method: Fundamental Exercises (Book 2) translate by Philippe Til

Last week I listed the many benefits of jumping. Let’s jump back, pun intended, to the fundamental exercises listed in the second book of The Natural Method trilogy, the jumping chapter being part of the 3rd book on functional training (in its “complete” meaning, not the reductive misunderstood concept of asinine drills often seen and described as “functional”).

As Hébert wrote, the drills in the second book constitute a primer, a prerequisite for proper development and preparation of the joints, muscles and movement patterns associated with the major aspects of being a well-rounded athlete: walking, running, jumping, swimming, climbing, lifting, throwing, self-defense and games/sports/manual labor.

Photo from The Natural Method: Fundamental Exercises (Book 2) translate by Philippe Til

So, in order to be able to jump well, it is important to not neglect the training of the legs. Here’s a excerpt (abridged from the chapter on leg training) from the Fundamental Exercises:

“Main benefits of the leg movements.

 Toe elevation acts on the extensors of the foot (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles making up the calf).

 The elevation of the leg mainly works on the thigh flexors (iliopsoas, anterior forward of the femoral triceps), the leg extensors (femoral triceps) as well as foot extensors, and secondarily on the abdominals and trunk extensors. 

 The lateral elevation of the leg works on the abductors of the upper leg (buttocks), the abdominals and especially the lateral trunk flexors (lumbar quadratus, external and internal obliques, core). 

The elevation of the leg backwards works on the extensors of the upper leg (buttocks), as well as the spine and the abdominals. 

 The angle of lean of the body in relation to a vertical line must be very small in order to not lose balance/equilibrium, during a movement.

Flexion of the lower limbs works on the leg and foot extensors (quadriceps, gastrocnemius and soleus). Flexion with spread legs laterally has an extra action on the adductors and the thigs.

The forward slit has an action on the straightening of flexion of the spine and stabilization of the shoulders.

Example of a movement combining leg and arm movements.

Photo from The Natural Method: Fundamental Exercises (Book 2) translate by Philippe Til

Forward slit: 1) with both arms elevated in line with the trunk. 2) with one arm up, one arm back. 3) With both arms extended backwards. 4) with lateral straight arm raise, palms facing up.


The backwards slit has a very intense action on the abdominal muscles, which workt through by getting shorter, if the alignment of the Upright Stance is repected.

The lateral slit works on the oblique musculature and the sacral-lumbar muscles on the opposite side.

in all leg movements, the trunk is never flexed at the hips, not forward, not backwards, not laterally.”


Five reasons you need to jump

Leave a comment

Why jump?

The question rather should be: why not jump, if you are capable?

Lately, I’ve been just bored of squats and deadlifts, or any leg training exercise. Just a matter of staleness. My musculature is lean and proportional, and I’ve been always conscious to maintain balance. But there are times when I need to make training fun and set discipline to the side for a little bit. Actually, strike that: I still am disciplined, I just need a bit of variety. And I remember how powerful and sculpted my legs were when I was doing more martial arts. For my general activities, I don’t need to power lift and while I have enjoyed it for years (the process, the lifts, but not for the goal of competition as I am not that athlete). And power generation is just a measure of application of power and methodology.

I am leaning more and more to a natural approach, in the sense of chasing my kids and running around. But, if you’re experiencing some staleness as well with your lifts and need something to give you a nice (neural) break from the traditional, here’s what Georges Hébert has to say about jumps (and I should post what he says about running too, something that is making a comeback with new -old- findings). And, since I live in Southern California and as a personal trainer, having the year-round ability to train outdoors with the available training equipment the various parks offer, like pull-up bars, monkey bars, parallel bars, why not take advantage? Anyway, read up on the 5 reasons why jumping’s good for you!

Jumping consists of giving the body a sufficient impulse in order to cover a distance or any obstacle in one leap.

It is important to distinguish:

1)   The educative jump on a prepared surface with a predetermined obstacle.

2)   The applied jump with real obstacles.

These two types of jumps are also useful, both from a practical standpoint as well as physical development.


The effects of jumps on the body are the following:

1)   They engage the most important parts of the body, particularly the cardiorespiratory functions;

2)   They have a powerful action on the muscular development of the lower limbs and the abdomen, especially jumps without momentum;

3)   They develop agility and hand-eye coordination;

4)   They strengthen the feet and ankles and train the body to sustain various kinds of impact;

5)   They promote flexibility and a sense of equilibrium/balance to avoid bad falls.

Book Two is here!

Leave a comment
The Natural Method: Fundamental Exercises

The second installment of The Natural Method: Fundamental Exercises is here available to download!

With proof of purchase, I will also send you 6 lesson plans (and the pdf of the book if you wish), done-for-you training sessions where the order and configurations of the book’s laundry list of exercises is already planned into 6 out of 7 sections. The 6th section will be your individual program (I’ll be happy to design it for you for a fee 🙂 )

You of course can read a bit more about the book’s content by visiting this page on my web site, not just the amazon link.

The major upper body exercises, lower body exercises, trunk and core exercises, as well as breathing and more are all outlined in detail in this training guide.

A must-read for less than a cup of java at a major coffee chain, whether you are a personal trainer, group instructor, pro team coach or just a fitness enthusiast, this will help you rediscover true joy of movement, a birthright of yours many have lost over time.

“Keep the goal the goal” -Dan John

Leave a comment

I believe Dan John said that, and even if he paraphrased it, it doesn’t matter, I attach it to him.

Dan was recently also #1 on the top 40 list of most relevant trainers. I never met the guy, which is kinda funny considering I’ve attended most workshops offered by Pavel Tsatsouline, who lives near me and with whom I had coffee recently to catch up. Together they authored “Easy Strength” and I am even following a program of Dan’s, a 5 days a week program revolving around 5 chosen exercises (in my case, the barbell Bench Press, the barbell Deadlift, the kettlebell Clean & Jerk, the kettlebell Snatch and the double kettlebell Front Squat).

The expressing titling this blog post extends beyond that of a fitness goal, or how to stay on track with a workout plan with discipline, motivation, commitment and vision. It actually applies to the release of the second installment of The Natural Method trilogy of books based on Georges Hébert’s Practical Guide to Physical Education. My goal is the release of the book in Amazon’s Kindle store, which as of now is 5 days behind schedule. Its release remains the goal nevertheless.

In fitness much like in life, we experience setbacks, roadblocks, challenges as well as favorable currents. An injury, like an ankle sprain or tennis elbow or shoulder pain can set back our training. Then, we can, with the help of a qualified physical therapist or a personal trainer, get back on track. The goal remains the goal, which is to achieve it, to see the task to completion.

The content of the book is done: the upper body exercises with the arm movements and arm positions; the lower body exercises with leg flexion, extension, single leg balance; the trunk stability and mobility (which lack thereof are too common issues people experience and need to be addressed in injury prevention) and of course the break down of proper breathing patterns and breathing exercises. It doesn’t matter where you train, whether you’re a personal trainer in Los Angeles or in Minneapolis (well, I guess it matters when building up resistance to cold, my money is on the trainers in Minnesota vs the trainers in Southern California!)

The cover, the html formatting for the Kindle, the option to download some training lesson plans on the web site and the logistics associated with that are the slight delays, as well as my webmaster’s recent bout with the flu and the business of New Year’s resolutions (yes, many people make resolutions not just in fitness, but also in business and he got swamped). And just like in fitness, where a personal trainer can choose to establish a business around injury prevention and proper movement patterns, with a well designed workout plan, there is still the element for the unknown, the accumulation of circumstances (like the cumulative injury cycle) that lead to a delay.

But if you have a plan, a solid plan, get back to it, adapt or adjust where necessary and your vision is focused on that clear goal, following the plan will get you to that goal.