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The 7 Primal Functional Movements

September 18, 2023 4 min read

The 7 Primal Functional Movements-VPA Australia

There’s nothing like going back to our roots and moving like our ancestors in a world where we spend most of our days sitting and slumped behind our desks and hopping into our cars to take us from home to work. In today’s article, we discuss the importance and benefits of incorporating primal functional movements into your fitness routine.

What are Primal movements?

Primal movements, often referred to in the context of exercise and fitness, are fundamental human movements that are based on natural, functional patterns of motion. These movements are inspired by the way our ancestors moved in their daily activities and are considered essential for building overall strength, mobility, and functional fitness.

Primal movements are often used in functional fitness training to improve physical performance and address imbalances in the body. While there are variations in the classification of primal movements, the following are considered the seven primal functional movements:

1. Squats

Squatting involves bending at the hips and knees while keeping your feet flat on the ground. It's a foundational movement for activities like sitting down, standing up, and lifting objects.

2. Hinge

Hinging movements involve bending at the hips while keeping your spine straight. This movement pattern is essential for activities such as picking up objects from the ground with proper form. Deadlifts and kettlebell swings are hinge exercises.

3. Lunge

Lunging involves taking a step forward, backward, or to the side while maintaining stability with the other leg. Lunges help improve lower body strength and balance.

4. Push

Pushing movements require extending the arms to push objects away from the body. These movements target the muscles in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Push-ups and bench presses are common push exercises.

5. Pull

Pulling movements involve using the upper body to bring objects toward the body or pull the body upward. They work the muscles in the back, biceps, and shoulders. Pull-ups, rows, and lat pulldowns are examples of pull exercises.


Rotational movements involve twisting or turning the torso. These movements enhance core strength, stability, and agility. Russian twists and cable wood chops are examples of rotational exercises.


Gait movements replicate walking and running patterns. These movements focus on leg strength, coordination, and endurance. Walking, jogging, and sprinting are part of gait movements.

Primal movements are designed to be functional and practical, helping individuals develop strength and mobility that can be applied to everyday activities. Many fitness programs incorporate these movements to create well-rounded and balanced workout routines. By including primal movements in your exercise regimen, you can enhance your overall physical fitness and reduce the risk of injury.

Benefits of Learning Primal Movements

These movements are designed to mimic natural, everyday activities and promote functional strength and mobility. These practices integrate the whole body and can be performed with little to no equipment, so they are not only convenient but also cost-effective for anyone who wants to add these to their fitness regimen.

However, here are some more of the key benefits of incorporating the seven primal functional movements into your exercise regimen:

Improved Functional Fitness

These movements are practical and closely related to daily activities like sitting, standing, bending, and lifting. As a result, they enhance your ability to perform these activities with ease and reduce the risk of injury during everyday tasks.

Enhanced Strength

Each of the seven movements targets specific muscle groups, helping you build strength throughout your body. For example, squats strengthen the lower body, while push and pull movements target the upper body.

Better Mobility and Flexibility

Primal movements promote a full range of motion in your joints, which can improve flexibility and mobility. This can be especially beneficial for maintaining joint health and preventing stiffness as you age.

Core Stability

Many of these movements engage the core muscles, leading to improved core strength and stability. A strong core is essential for maintaining good posture and preventing lower back pain.

Balance and Coordination

Lunges, twists, and gait movements require balance and coordination, helping to improve these aspects of physical fitness. This can be particularly useful for reducing the risk of falls, especially in older adults.

Increased Muscle Activation

These movements often engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, leading to efficient and effective workouts. This can help you get more out of your exercise routine in less time.

Functional Independence

By training your body to perform these natural movements effectively, you can maintain independence and quality of life as you age. You'll be better equipped to handle the physical demands of daily life.

Injury Prevention

Practising these movements with proper form can help prevent injuries by strengthening the muscles and joints and improving overall body mechanics.

Weight Management

Functional movements can contribute to weight management and fat loss by burning calories and increasing lean muscle mass.

Mental Well-being

Regular exercise, including these movements, can have a positive impact on mental health by reducing stress, boosting mood, and increasing energy levels.

Versatile Workouts

Primal movements can be adapted to various fitness levels and goals, making them suitable for individuals of all ages and abilities.

It's important to note that proper form and technique are crucial when performing these movements to maximise their benefits and minimise the risk of injury. If you're new to these exercises, consider working with a fitness professional to ensure you're performing them correctly and safely. Integrating the seven primal functional movements into your fitness routine can lead to a well-rounded and functional level of fitness that supports your overall health and longevity.


Incorporating primal essential movements into your fitness routine can unlock your true strength and mobility. These exercises offer a wide range of benefits, from increased functional strength and improved mobility to enhanced core stability and improved mental well-being.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, primal essential movements can be tailored to your fitness level, making them accessible to all. So, put on your primal mindset, embrace these natural movement patterns, and unleash your full potential.

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