A fitness program based on evolutionary biology
The reasoning behind the creation of the Movnat training method by Erwan Le Corre is explained in details on our Approach page but at it simplest is this recognition: our bodies evolved to be performant and stay healthy within a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. If we depart from such a lifestyle, fitness and health decrease. So with our modern urban lifestyle, we need to be physically stimulating our bodies in ways that are reminiscent of this hunter-gatherer lifestyle if we want to optimize our health and fitness.
A repertoire of techniques to train and practice
Our goal would then be to examine the physical stimuli placed on the bodies of hunter-gatherers on a daily basis and then try to emulate these through a fitness method that is achievable within our current modern lifestyle. That’s exactly what Erwan did with Movnat. All the techniques and domains worked on in Movnat are directly coming from activities that were necessary in the previous, natural, human lifestyle.
Natural Movement is simply the catalogue of Movements that our bodies have adapted to and become proficient at throughout evolution, because these movements were the ones necessary to survive on a daily basis. All techniques map to a corresponding activity: climbing trees to collect food and evade predators, crawling to stalk prey, ground movements at camp sites, etc. This article goes in much more details about the daily physical demands of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle if you want to dig deeper.
Movnat gives us a training repertoire that is the optimal one for long-term health benefits simply because it was created to do exactly that, based on sound evolutionary biology principles.
That’s also why the Movnat techniques can be applied easily in everyday life and why they cover such a wide range of domains and an incredible number of variations. Physical stimuli on a daily basis were high in volume but even higher in terms of diversity, and Movnat is matching that.
A training method accessible to everyone
Beyond the individual techniques, Movnat is also a training method that is accessible to everyone, even sedentary adults, and challenging for everyone, even elite athletes. The key is to use the programming structure and progressions/regressions to match the intensity of the training to your own fitness level.
There is a recommended training session format which is structured with a warm-up, emphases (technical work on one movement) and combo (higher intensity combination of several techniques). Each technique also has recommended regressions to make them easier or progressions to make them more difficult.
There is even a simple but very efficient way of progressing nearly any technique by increasing either its volume, intensity or complexity.
A philosophy and principles applicable to other domains
Movnat is actually even more than that. It is a whole philosophy towards physical activity and even other domains of your life beyond that. The principles below are taken directly from the Movnat website and explains briefly what’s behind each but I encourage you to click through and read the individual articles behind each of them. They are dense and very insightful description of the power behind each principle if you choose to apply it to your own life.
Yes, it is actually useful. If a movement isn’t helpful in everyday life, we are not very interested in it. From carrying the groceries to fleeing from danger, our movements are based on real life needs.
Movement depends on context. This is essential. All of our movement aptitudes are based on interaction with specific and ever changing environments and situations. Learning to adapt is what MovNat is all about.
We practice efficiency in all things. The movement aptitudes practiced are performed skillfully (i.e., with efficient technique), greater performance, higher energy conservation, and increased safety.
Movement comes from the inside out, and it stems from awareness of ourselves and our environment. Mindfulness is the gateway to efficient, adaptable movement through perception, concentration, and mental toughness.
The movements help keep us safe. They are useful in times of emergency.
Movement is instinctual. Technique is not. While nobody starts from scratch, we learn technique so we can turn instinct into skilled ability.
We are naturally social creatures. We teach in a group environment based on support. Our movement principles can help a group accomplish what no individual is capable of. Practice can be done alone or with others – but the intent is social.
The movement aptitudes are regularly practiced outdoors in order to maximize health benefits and increase well-being and connection with nature.
The way we move has not changed. Our health is tied to moving, as it always has been for the human species.
The movement aptitudes are practiced in order to acquire and maintain a near equalized, well-rounded skill set and conditioning level.
Movement is for everyone. It belongs to every human being regardless of origin, gender, age, social class, or belief system.
Movement is progressive. And the best progress is made when your training is neither too easy nor too hard, but adequately challenges both your skill level (i.e. competence) and conditioning (i.e. capacity).
If you want to discover all that Movnat has to offer, please have a look at this page listing all the free resources you can use to start on this journey.