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Fitness movement inspired by the animal kingdom

Mohamad Kadry (kadry@khaleejtimes.com)
Filed on August 23, 2014
Fitness movement inspired by the animal kingdom

The man behind the movement, Mike Fitch, developed the system by incorporating many of the movements that animals make in the wild, which I found slightly bizarre yet intriguing what other workout asks you to prowl like a jungle cat?

Photo: Agencies

Photo: Agencies

The delightful phrase “train like a beast” is thrown around excessively in the world of fitness, but it seems that some athletes are beginning to take it quite literally.

In my quest to discover the latest gym trends making the popularity rounds this summer, I came across a new workout called Animal Flow that’s based around total bodyweight training. The man behind the movement, Mike Fitch, developed the system by incorporating many of the movements that animals make in the wild, which I found slightly bizarre yet intriguing – what other workout asks you to prowl like a jungle cat?

Animal Flow is inspired by a lot of mainstream disciplines like parkour, break-dancing and gymnastics. The foundation of its training system has taken influences from the animal kingdom to develop sweat-inducing moves that include such gems as crab walks and crocodile rolls. It’s all about moving the body using natural motions rather than sitting on a gym machine, which makes for a challenging workout that’s less stressful on the joints.

Because the nature of this high-intensity workout is fluidity, there are a bunch of great moves inspired by the wild that will have you working out all those muscles that are often ignored. What Animal Flow preaches is a return to form by inducing movements that are simple and easy to do.

Because Animal Flow doesn’t require any equipment, I decided to head outdoors and practise some of its movements in the local park. I figured the best way to channel my primal instincts would be in the midst of nature where I could growl at my own discretion.

Every part of this workout forces you to use multiple planes of motion, stretching and reaching in all directions. I started out doing 30-second intervals of the ‘forward-travelling crab’ with my feet and hands planted on the ground and hips about an inch above the surface. I could feel my core burning as I forced my body to stabilise.

Next there was the ‘ape reach’ that had me squat down while sitting on my heels and knees open. With the arms stretched out and shoulders pulled back, I held the position for about ten seconds before moving my arms forward in front of me to continue the hold. As I fought for balance, my legs and abs did most of the work and I was surprised by how intense it felt.

Then there was the ‘scorpion reach’ which is just as fun as it sounds. In a press-up position with the legs bent, I kicked up one heel up and over my back and held it for a few seconds before switching sides. Working out the glutes as well as chest, I found it to be infinitely better than the average squat and far less strenuous.

Finally I got into position for the ‘forward-travelling beast’. On all fours, I crawled my way forward by keeping one knee and one hand (i.e. right foot and left arm) off the ground. If there was ever a time to howl at the moon, this would be it.

Working out should never be complicated and Animal Flow simply promotes natural body movements that have always been around. While leading a sedentary lifestyle we forget about the benefits of basic motions like crawling and standing on our hands, lost somewhere in our childhood perhaps. But if the appeal of using weights and equipment is lost on you, it might be time to get in touch with your primal side.

For more information visit www.globalbodyweighttraining.com or check out Animal Flow on YouTube