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Primitive Human

The primitive human was a different kind of animal than the one you see today. Today’s human is tame, civilized and chained to a chair. In terms of movement this has produced an animal that is barely animal at all. In modern times humans are unable to move the way our ancestors did.

Take a look at any wild animal. A panther, tiger, mountain goat or a rabbit. They move naturally. Each of these animals has a characteristic way of moving, a set of skills that is innate and natural to that animal. They can jump, climb, run and move with grace, unhindered by sore knees, tight hip flexors, lower back pain etc. Are these problems uniquely human? Well yes and no. Take a cheetah and make it lazy. Feed it processed food, provide no space to run, no incentive to climb and sit it in a comfortable chair made especially for cats. Do this for several years. Now, after 10 years of this send it out to do what cheetahs do. Make it hunt, climb, run etc. What do you think will happen? I am willing to bet that our cheetah friend will suffer aches and pains and will barely run at half the speed of its wild cousins.

This is essentially what has happened to the human animal. We are no longer the primitive human that we once were. Movement has become a lesser priority in favour of sedentary tasks. Our lives revolve around passive activities and professions. Many humans work at a desk in a seated position all day. We travel by mechanical means that require no exertion whatsoever. The heaviest thing many people lift is a paper bag containing a big mac, large fries and a cheese burger.

On that note take a look at the food. Food no longer resembles food. It has gone through multiple chemical processes to turn it into something else entirely.

Humans are no longer animals in the physical sense.

Lets bring back the primitive human.

The aim is to learn how to move again, how to live a physical lifestyle that carries over to every other area of our life. How do you do it? Certainly not by taking up a standard gym programme involving machine weights set in fixed planes of movement. In order to learn to move effectively you need to think in uncivilized terms. Think like an animal. A leopard has certain skills that are innate. They are born into a wild world and need to adapt to their environment and move efficiently in order to survive. Look at the way they move. They are fast, powerful and incredibly strong. The same is true of any animal living in the wild.

The human is no different, it’s just that we were born into a world of comfort. We have some kind of gadget, machine or technology that does just about everything for us. Getting food is not a great effort. We simply drive our car down to the supermarket, put the packaged food into a shopping trolley, take it to check-out and head on home. Not one bead of sweat required. What about survival? Well rarely are humans in physical danger in the same way an animal is. We don’t need to avoid the neighbouring pride of lions through fear of them taking over our territory. There is no large predator trying to eat us. A drink of water is not an event requiring a vigilant awareness of our surroundings, it’s just a trip to the kitchen tap.

All of things has caused our instincts and ability to move to atrophy and waste away to almost nothing. We need to think differently and change our habits. So the following is a step by step guide to becoming a primitive human. Does it mean you need to give up all modern things? Do you have to move into the wilderness and give up your house and start hunting your prey? Not at all. However you must think like an animal that does have to do these things.

Enter the art and science of human movement…

1. Build a Foundation

In other words you need to get back to basics. Learn to effectively squat (get a toddler to teach you, they do it properly) and do it all the way down, start walking places again, build up your running ability, both long distance and sprinting, get out of your chair and either sit on something unstable like a Swiss ball or stand for a portion of the day, jump in a pool or the ocean and start swimming, you may be surprised at how difficult this is if you haven’t swam in a while, generally just move more and do basic things the physical way.

2. Loosen Up

Humans are far too tight and timid. We are afraid to run and jump off a small height through fear of blowing out a knee. We won’t sprint at maximum pace through fear of a hamstring tear. These things will not kill you, as long as you build back up to them. Loosen up and experiment with movement. Stretch, lunge, jump, climb, reach, throw etc. Get used to doing more with your body and make it progressively more difficult.

3. Introduce Complex Movements

By this stage you should be comfortable and confident with your own body and how you move. Begin to learn difficult callisthenics exercises, start sprint training, go on longer runs, perfect running and jumping technique etc. Begin to work on efficiency of movement. It’s time to eliminate clumsiness. The primitive human is not clumsy, he/she is able to move gracefully in a natural flow.

4. Become a Ninja (optional)

For those that really want to get back to primitive roots and move like an animal in the most efficient and impressive way learn something that requires great skill, strength, speed, power and agility in moving the human body. Here it is time to add gymnastics, parkour, martial arts and a level of free-flowing acrobatic ability. Take up a new sport, perfect your sprint, learn parkour etc. Begin thinking differently and applying yourself to something physical and free-flowing, as opposed to the same fixed movements, activities and behaviours.

In addition to all that we need to learn to eat properly again. Forget anything that comes in a packet. Eat more meats, nuts, legumes, eggs, vegetables, fruits and food in its whole form. Forget counting calories and macros.

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Primitive human

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YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons

Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Sprint Ninja, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.

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