What are Natural Movement Patterns?
The natural movement patterns in our bodies enable us to do things like running, fighting, lifting. We evolved in an environment where we needed to do intense short exertion with lots of rest or ‘active recovery’ in between. We might have hunted, fought, run away etc. and then spent the afternoon sitting under a tree or gathering berries… We’re still the same human beings we were over 200,000 years ago! It’s just that we started to farm when we became sedentary, introduced a bunch of ailments, nutritional deficiencies and more as a result for about 10,000 years, and since the industrial revolution, we became modernized, caged humans, akin to living in a zoo! (And we know how animals are meant to live in cages…). Evolution-based fitness systems teach us how to train utilizing the innate gifts nature bestowed upon us that we societally ruin by not using them (entropy). It takes us 9 months to come out perfect and a lifetime to undo it. Evolution-based fitness is about learning how to take full advantage of our movement systems, among others (which I will cover in other posts).
How to Move Pain Free:
The key to getting a lean and pain-free body is to mimic the movements and intensity that our bodies are designed for. The movements that you do most often: standing, walking, running, or whatever sport you do e.g. biking, are those which will have most effect on your body. Doing certain stretches or isolated exercises may help to alleviate pain but you have to change your movement patterns to change the load to your structure and therefore heal or prevent injuries.
Taking Care of the Shoulder (TCS):
In today’s blog post, I want to talk about one of the most commonly affected body parts: the shoulder. Injuries there can be passive, or recurring, chronic or acute, although in my personal belief, if you take care of it and understand its design, you’re less likely to injure yourself under circumstances where you have a semblance of control over your environment (unless someone is purposely attempting to hurt you), like when you ski, climb, play sports or lift (if an accident occurs then, it’s usually a culmination of judgment errors).
Our primate cousins’ shoulder girdle is designed of brachiation (picture apes swinging on vines, like Tarzan). We may not swinging on vines daily, but working on expanding our gluteal real estate hunched our desks isn’t what we’re meant to do either when movement is in mind. The majority of our shoulder injuries come from the fact that, due to the lack of brachiation in our daily movement patterns, especially certain body building movements design to “build” the shoulder, our scapula has developed a downward rotation (sagging shoulders, poor posture, tight chest from too much bench pressing…).
Stretching movements (like Yoga or Superjoints, Z-Health as well as a series of “wild” or natural movement patterns) aimed at allowing more range of motion can give you the flexibility and mobility you need to open the shoulder girdle. In training, you need to learn how to compress that same joint in order to keep it stable and avoid leaking or dissipating strength by not “connecting” your shoulder, “corkscrewing” it into your torso. That “leakage vs linkage” concept is what keeps you strong and help reduce the risk of injury.