Maximize Safety and Efficacy: Train your Whole Body with the 7 Primal Movements

January 03, 2018

Hinge, Squat, Lunge, Push, Pull, Rotate &  Walk

If you keep in mind all seven of these movement patterns during every workout, you will be more “functionally” trained than any run of the mill workout enthusiast at your local Big Box gym. 

You won’t have to worry about getting over-trained and will reduce the risk of injury while getting your pump on! 

What I hope to convey is the simplicity of these movements and how the body is meant to do them, hence the Primal aspect. Let’s start with the Hinge pattern:

The Hinge
Sit down in your chair, now get up. Welcome to the Hinge pattern =)

We do it so much everyday and yet it is overlooked, or dare I say, underdeveloped in some fitness programs. Most people are so locked up in their hips and Thoracic spine (upper back) that hinging becomes a problem for them without doing some compensation of a hunch and low back flexion. 

This is bad and an epidemic within our society. Learn to do a proper Kettlebell Swing and the regressions for the Swing and your hinge pattern will be light years beyond most. 

Now that you are hinging you can Squat. 

The Squat
Watch any 1-year old and check out their beautiful squat. Now go get your hips and ankles mobile and do the 10 minute Squat test. This isn’t do as many squats as you can in 10 minutes, this is doing ONE Squat and staying there in the low-end position for 10 minutes. 

You will soon find how out of shape and immobile you are in this movement pattern. If you can do this (you should be very very proud!!), start doing 1 leg squats, also known as Pistols. This exercise is a beautiful movement that everyone should do to retain their youth and vitality. 

The Lunge
Ahhh the Lunge. The most overused exercise on the (fitness) planet. Want to feel like you "worked-out” the next day, throw in 5000 lunges. Please don’t do this! Just do the Lunge correctly! 

Place one knee on the ground while in the Lunge position, lift the front foot off of the ground to ensure you are all the way to the ground, give a stomp with that front foot, then stand up.

The Lunge is to get you off of the ground so simulating this action by getting off of the ground will do wonders for your range of motion and strength in your butt and hamstrings. 

Push yourself off of the ground after you have tripped and you have done the next of the 7 Prime Movers. It is primal because you can’t skip this movement if you are going to start to crawl as a baby.

We also learn to defend ourselves from mashed greens beans by pushing them away when mom is trying to feed us something green as a baby. Nope this movement wasn’t dreamt up in Boot Camp class doing Burpees. Babies pushing strength is not to be messed with! 

Pulling isn’t just for pull-ups. We were all able to pull our weight as a very young child. The need for pulling up your body weight decreases as we age and get taller. No need to pull ourselves up to see what is on that dining room table. I truly believe EVERYONE should be able to do at least ONE pull-up. It is never too late. I have taught 70-year olds to do a pull-up for the first time in their entire life. 

Rolling over from your back to your stomach is your first taste of rotation training. Now that you can do that go swing a bat, throw a ball, twirl your dress around and keep rotating. 

Just swinging your arms front to back is a great morning warm-up for your spine. Then swinging your arms around your body will keep away a lot of pain from getting a stiff locked up spine. 

Chopping wood, Medicine ball throws and Turkish Get Ups are my go to exercises. (I will whack a tire with a sledge hammer for the wood chopping action. Not to much wood chopping where I live in San Diego.) 

Now that your young self has learned these 6 primal movements, it is time to Walk (Gait). Learning to walk will then use all 7 Prime Movers within a matter of seconds. Ah, the joys of learning to walk. 

It is great to throw in crawling as one of the Primal Movements also and an even better idea to practice to crawl ALOT! Like the saying goes: “You must learn to crawl before you can walk. You must learn to walk before you can run.”

Are you currently training all 7 Primal Movements? If you are, how are you challenging your Primal Movement patterns? Feel free to comment below or contact me directly via Twitter @robertbudd16.


Robert is a former RKC and Strong First Team Leader. He’s the creator of “Kettlebells at 10,000ft” video workout series and Kettlebell Training: The Basics (Apple App). You can reach Robert at

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