Primal Pattern Movements: Week 1Primal Pattern® is a term I use to describe the seven most important movements for optimal human functioning. Primal Pattern® movement patterns were necessary for survival in our natural habitat many centuries before cars, washing machines, flush toilets and the countless conveniences of modern life.

Although we have many conveniences that make our lives less physically demanding, our bodies are still anatomically the same today as they were thousands of years ago!

To thrive as a healthy, functional and resilient human being now, you must achieve a Primal Standard, a baseline to perform all seven Primal Pattern® movements efficiently using your body weight.

Here are the seven Primal Pattern® movements:

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Bend
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Twist
  • Gait (walking, jogging, running)

All other movements can be made from combining these patterns. For example, getting into a car is a one-legged squat (with a lateral shift) combined with a twist.

Clearly, many people achieve a higher level of functionality than just meeting the Primal Standard. Athletes, firefighters, nurses, construction workers and many other professions demand levels of functionality that meet or exceed the needs of their work or sports environment.

For example, competitive tennis players require emphasis on twist and lunge patterns, while construction workers may need more emphasis on bend and push patterns.

Exercises based on Primal Pattern® movements can create an entire workout! This functional training conditions the nervous system to move in patterns that translate directly to life, work and sport situations, in addition to aiding postural alignment, balance and coordination.

Some important tips to follow when incorporating Primal Pattern® movements in your workouts:

  1. Consult with your health care provider first before starting any new exercise program.
  2. Perform each exercise with a moderate tempo.
  3. Although suggested repetitions for each exercise are listed, it is more important to follow the Form Principle – only select the level of exercise that can be performed with perfect technique and stop each set before form breaks down.
  4. Only select the level of exercise that can be performed with the perfect technique and stop each set before your form breaks down.

Over the next six weeks, I’ll be focusing on the mechanics for one specific exercise that incorporates Primal Pattern® movements.

Primal Pattern Movements: Week 1This week, I’ll show you one more way to use the Swiss ball, one of the most effective and versatile exercise tools at your disposal.

Swiss Ball Supine Lateral Ball Roll (Twist)

Starting Position: From a sitting position on a Swiss ball, roll back so that your head and shoulders are supported by the ball. Lift your hips up so that they are in line with your knees and shoulders. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth.

Action: Hold your body in perfect alignment (hips and arms should stay parallel to the floor) and shuffle your feet as you roll to one side, then pause and return back to the center. Move only as far to the side as you comfortably can while holding perfect alignment. You may find that you can only move an inch or two, but that’s fine.

Suggested reps: 6-10 on each side.

Make it harder: Move further to each side.

Purpose: Exercises based on the twist pattern are important to include in an exercise program to work the body in the transverse plane. The Swiss ball Supine Lateral Ball Roll is an excellent core rotational exercise.

Love and chi,