5 Essential Movements Strength Training
The 4EM are Pushups, Pullups, Squat, and Plank. Each has a series of progression exercises to eventually master the basic movement, and then a series of advanced exercises to go beyond the baseline essential movement for advanced exercisers. Your PBF Guidebook you received at PrimalCon contains extensive details about the Five Essential Movements as well as the Primal Blueprint Fitness philosophy of blending frequent low intensity movement, regular brief, intense strength training sessions, and occasional all-out sprints.
Billy Vives – Kettlebells
Billy’s high energy presentation was a great contribution to PrimalCon 2011! Here’s his summary message: “I created Primal Strength Project to get people to get off the couch, out of the gym, and take their workout to the park. I specialize in kettlebells, because they are perfect for this, and anyone can use them.Kettlebells are portable, indestructible, ultra-versatile, and just plain cool! There are two crucial secrets that I employ – even as I keep it rugged and intense – that make my approach unique:
- Attention to Quality of Movement
- Keeping it Fun (Play!)
“Quality of Movement” means fine-tuning the training to ensure that all trainees are learning and maintaining good posture, which is the foundation of efficient movement. “First move better, then get stronger!” Programs that stress high reps or even moderately challenging weight right from the start often sacrifice the safety and comfort of anyone (even experienced exercisers) who are new to the protocol.
The kettlebell training I teach is a “from the ground up” approach that allows trainees to work on understanding how it feels for their body to move right. The trainees flow through the complementary aspects of stability, endurance and dynamic power, while learning how even a relatively light weight ( the KB’s we’d be using are only 18 pounds…) can be an easy warm-up – or a challenging test of strength and coordination.
Mark Sisson’s message of being savvy enough to go hard, have fun, and avoid over-doing it in training perfectly dove-tails with my understanding of what kind of training is truly enjoyable, sustainable, and results-producing.
The discussion of the importance of play in the Primal Blueprint was what inspired me to collaborate with Mark, and become a presenter at PrimalCon. In the fitness industry, nobody talks about play – it’s all about pain, strain, and desperation. Even so, nobody gets in shape- they just get hurt or disheartened after overdoing everything. It drives me nuts! This 8KG/18 pound kettlebell is such a nice size and shape for doing all kinds of various movements that I have innovated, so that was my choice for PrimalCon.
Running Form/Sprinting – Michael Stember
Michael talked about the concept of “Movement Accuracy”: running with maximum efficiency and avoiding the strain, tension and lost energy that comes from overstriding, the most common problem among runners of all levels according to Michael.
Tips for Accurate Movement:
Dorsiflex the foot when you lift it off the ground, then put it back down quickly right under your balanced center of gravity. Lift the foot straight off the ground along the same plane as the grounded foot. Avoid the “lazy foot” where the leg extends behind your body, the toe is pointed down (someone can see your sole from behind) when you push off, and your center of gravity shifts to and fro during the stride
- Place your feet under you like you’re pedaling a bicycle, rather than thrusting your foot back and then lunging forward. Keep your shoulders and knees on the same plane, as you do in the “ready position” for many other sports: basketball, baseball, football, etc. Lean forward only slightly and keep the same technique regardless of whether you are sprinting or running long distance, as Stember demonstrated marvelously. Consider the running movement a series of half-squats, where the upper body is constantly balancing center of gravity
- When going full speed, resist the temptation to “try harder” and tense up. Stay relaxed and focus on accurate movement. Tighten your core to provide leverage for the legs to act as whips for additional speed. Keep the legs and arms relaxed and generate power from tensing your core. Avoid overstriding and keep your hips and shoulders facing forward always – no lateral movement of upper body.
- Proper arm technique is about moving your arms in a straight line. Pivot from the shoulder after finding a comfortable angle at the elbow and locking it in. This reduces lateral movement which will increase efficiency. The hand position should be in a relaxed fist with the thumb above the index finger. A great product to help with proper form is an “e3 grip”. Practice arm swing in a mirror
Mark Sisson – Primal Blueprint Diet, Exercise, Lifestyle Laws
One of the best summaries of the ten Primal Blueprint laws is found here.
It’s all about insulin – regulate insulin production to reduce body fat, maintain ideal body composition, and avoid a variety of serious health problems associated with the Conventional Wisdom high carbohydrate diet
Eliminating grains (and processed sugars) is the single most important dietary modification you can make to promote robust health. Grains contain anti-nutrients (lectin, gluten, phytate) and stimulate excess insulin production.
Eat according to the (recently modified) Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid.
- Meat/Fish/Fowl/Eggs are now promoted at the base level.
- Vegetables at the next level as the bulk of dietary emphasis
- Healthy fats such as avocado and macadamia nuts are next. Cook with saturated fats (temperature stable, won’t oxidize) such as butter, coconut oil and animal fats. Consume locally grown, first cold-press extra virgin olive oil as your best oil choice. Eat oily cold water fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, wild salmon) for omega-3 boost. Supplement with omega-3 fish oil capsules to help that omega-6:omega-3 dietary balance.
- Moderation – fruits: stick with locally grown, in-season fruits, especially high antioxidant fruits such as berries and stone fruits. Avoid year-round consumption of heavily cultivated and sweetened fruits, especially if you are trying to lose weight
- Moderation – other nuts, seeds and their derivative butters. Exercise some moderation due to Omega-6:Omega-3 dietary balance concerns
- Moderation – high fat dairy product. Find raw, unpasteurized, and highest possible fat content for your dairy products. Eliminate nonfat, lowfat or fruit sweetened dairy products.
- Moderation – starchy tubers and wild rice. A good choice for athletes and heavy calorie burners without body fat concerns who require additional carbohydrates to replace frequently depleted muscle glycogen
- Top Level – herbs, spices and extracts: not many calories but great nutrition/antioxidant, and flavoring benefits.
- Top Level – sensible indulgences: red wine and dark chocolate should be chosen carefully and enjoyed to the fullest. They offer excellent antioxidant benefits
- Top Level – supplements: strategic use of supplements can help balance the dietary challenges of modern life and boost health. Favored categories are multi/antioxidant, fish oil, probiotic, vitamin D, and primal-approved meal replacements.
- Exercise according to the three Primal Blueprint exercise laws for optimal gene expression and prevention of the all too common burnout that comes from the Conventional Wisdom approach of Chronic Cardio and Chronic Strength Training.
- Move Frequently at a Slow Pace – its not really about the calories burned, it’s about the movement
- Lift Heavy Things – brief, intense workouts lasting 30 minutes or less and featuring full-body, functional movements. Eliminate the complexity of machines and body part isolation in favor of simple, Primal exercises.
- Sprint Once in a While – stimulates rapid breakthroughs in body composition (provided you are eating Primally) and fitness. Only sprint when you are 100% rested and energized.
Chef Rachel Albert: Cooking Demo
Chef Rachel led two outdoor cooking demonstrations at this years PrimalCon 2011. She prepared four family-friendly recipes from her paleo diet book, The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook, including a Blanched Crudité Platter of Seasonal Vegetables, a Spicy Almond Butter Dip and Salad Dressing, A Cashew Dill Dip & Salad Dressing, and her delicious Dark Chocolate Dipped Date Nut Truffles. She shared her favorite motto: “shop ahead, chop ahead, and cook ahead so you always have healthy food on hand when hunger strikes” and explained about the virtues of cooking with two or three days or meals in mind so you can mix and match leftovers and fresh foods for fast and easy primal meals and snacks at home and on the go. She talked about freezing extra portions of dishes for future meals, demonstrated a cool way to cut and de-seed bell pepper to reduce prep time and clean up, and presented a few knife safety tips.
Esther Gokhale – Gokhale Method Posture/Movement Technique
Esther described how modern culture promotes poor posture and movement and showed photos in her book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, of third-world people with extremely physical lifestyles who model impeccable posture and ergonomics. She demonstrated many movements and postures that we can use to improve our functional ergonomics throughout the day.
- Bottom is behind you, sitz bones supportd by a wedge created from folded towel or flannel. Make a higher wedge if pelvis tucks under.
- Roll one shoulder back at a time – forward, up, back and down
- Chin angled slightly down with the back of the neck long
- Sitting should not be rigid or tense. Set pelvis comfortably so you are upright and also relaxed.
- Feet and knees slightly turned out.
- Weight on the heels. This is key!
- Relaxed (not locked) at the knees and the groin/hips
- Lower ribs flush with torso and not jutting out – if you have a sway, you will have to do a bit of work in the obliques to keep the ribs down.
- Shoulders rolled back.
- From good standing position, press off the back leg, using the glutes for propulsion. Hips in line with back leg, not reaching forward. Land softly; walking is a series of propulsions, not falls. Use muscles, spare joints!
- Spine is natural J shape – quite straight until the lowest disc (only bottom angles back). S-shape spine is NOT natural, but is common in western society, largely due to poorly designed furniture, loss of kinesthetic tradition, and our tendency to mimic people around us with poor posture.
- Babies and toddlers have great posture, no tension or rigidity.
- For details review egwellness.com “Gokhale Method”. That’s “Gokhale (Go-Clay)” …not “Grokhale”!
Angelo De La Cruz – VitaMove Morning Energizing Session
Angelo introduced principles from yoga and Tai Chi to deliver a VitaMove session of gentle movements to energize the body, a great way to start the day. The objective of these movements is to lubricate your joints, increase tissue elasticity, open lymphatic and blood vessel flow to muscles and organs, and increase oxygenation of brain and body. Engaging in VitaMove exercises will improve your body control and awareness (proprioception) and create and upbeat physiological state for a productive day. We then engaged in some high intensity functional and fun exercise with the Gorilla Ninja training.
Slow down any basic, circular movement (dead lift, pullup, etc.). Maintain good balance, center of gravity and move with the least possible amount of energy and maximum control. Gently increase range of motion with each repetition. Think of a subtle “reaching” with limbs and spine instead of “stretching”. Calm unused muscles and always maintain a sense of control with your movements. You should be able to stop in the middle of the movement at any time.
Barefoot Ted Experience
“The hallmark of my barefoot running philosophy is regaining connectedness, mindfulness, and presence in your running and in your body. Barefoot running is not about blocking or pushing through pain. Rather it is about tuning-in to your own body’s highly sophisticated set of integrated awareness systems, systems that communicate through feelings and senses that are being collected in real-time as you move. The first key is to start slowly, incrementally and avoid over-exuberance. Avoid being driven by your ego.” Here three goals for barefoot running:
- Master gentle, quiet, forefoot-centric landings, silent and smooth:Learn to move with no hard edges, no pounding, by making landing impact flow through the entire foot, starting in the forefoot and quickly spreading through the legs smoothly. Notice how silent your movement becomes. Imagine the movement of a big cat. Watch your dogs trot. Let them be models for tuned-in, flowing movement that wastes little energy on pound or sound.
- Quicken your cadence: Running in bare feet encourages this naturally: Some shoe runners are plodders. You can hear them coming! Lots of wasted energy on poorly timed impact. Quicker cadence ends up making sense when you realize that your ability to absorb and recoil energy through elasticity in your body dissipates quickly and is lost if not used. Learning how to get back in touch with the sweet spot of optimal recoil efficiency is easier to find when you can feel your feet, feeling that encourages a landing phase with foot more in line with your center of gravity (thinking about how you land if you jump down onto a hard surface in barefeet, not on your heels!). Overstriding is discouraged, nearly impossible barefooted.
- Stable upright posture: balanced head, core engaged, unbent torso, the feeling of balance, relaxed, yet strong: I think that good running can be judged aesthetically. It should look good, not painful. When you see someone moving or running well, it looks smooth and fluid and graceful and efficient. The opposite looks painful, when someone is hunched and stiff, robotic and plodding. Indeed efficient running is tall and stable, the upper body acting as the fulcrum from which the legs and arms can move freely with a serious lack of bouncing or swaying of the head.
Move quietly both externally (like a stalking animal) and internally (quieting the mind). Try running barefoot on pavement so you can really realize the error of technical errors, such as overstriding and heel striking, which might be less apparent on soft surfaces.