What Are The Benefits Of The Primal Fitness Trend?

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Nowadays, there are dozens of ways to get in shape and maintain your current fitness level. If you like guided, at-home workouts, you can select an online program. If you prefer to exercise with others, you can get a membership to a gym, recreation center, or fitness studio. Then there are the different types of fitness classes to choose from, ranging from yoga to pilates to Zumba to cycling and so on.

While all of these options offer a number of benefits to the mind and body, some people are getting back to the basics of fitness. Before the days of gyms, treadmills, booty bands, barbells, and dumbbells, exercise involved nothing more than the weight of our bodies. It involved natural everyday movements like pushing and crawling — movements that most of us learned how to do as babies.

These natural activities are referred to as primal movements, which Pinterest predicts will be among the fitness trends for 2023. They include pulling, pushing, squatting, twisting, lunging, walking, and bending, as Primal 7 explains. But what are the benefits of primal fitness that make it so trendy? There are actually several.

Some of the moves are used in everyday life

Exercise in general is loaded with benefits for the mind and body, but, and let's be honest, there are certain moves that nobody actually performs outside of that exercise. Take the Karnapidasana (knee-to-ear) and Sasangasana (rabbit) yoga poses as an example. Both are great stretching poses, as Yoga Practice explains, but they probably won't help much with picking up your toddler or rearranging the living room furniture.

Primal movements are different. They involve intentionally performing a series of natural movements, so you'll be able to better perform those same motions as you go about your day. One of the moves involved in primal fitness is the crawling kick-through, as Movement Parallels Life demonstrates. This workout is very similar to the motions involved in standing up from a seated position on the ground.

Another movement is the bodyweight squat, which is just what it sounds like. Performing squats using only your body weight as the resistance. If you have a 30-pound child who wants to be held, you'll need to squat down to pick him/her up. So, if you're regularly getting practice with performing basic, bodyweight squats during a primal workout, it won't be challenging when you actually need to squat during the day.

There's no bulky equipment required

Ellipticals, treadmills, and rowers can give you a great workout, but there's usually a price involved in using these machines, whether they're used at your home or in the gym. Plus, you obviously can't pack any of them in a suitcase when you leave town.

With primal fitness, there's no bulky equipment required. This allows you to perform the workouts almost anywhere. But you do always have the option to use small accessories for some of the movements if you wish. Most of them are small enough that you can pack them in a suitcase when you travel. Some of the accessories commonly used for certain primal workouts include a mat for the floor workouts or bands that can be placed over your door. While you certainly don't need these items to get a great primal workout, they can add comfort, support, and variety to the movements.

It can improve your functional movement ability and range of motion

Primal fitness can also improve your functional movement ability and range of motion, especially quadrupedal movements. Of course, this mean the ones in which you use both hands and both feet. Examples of quadrupedal movements include the bear crawl. This move involves getting down on your hands and knees, lifting your knees off the ground a couple of inches, and crawling.

Dr. Jeffrey Buxton, an assistant professor of exercise science at Grover City College, led a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2020 to better understand the benefits of primal fitness. The study evaluated two groups of college students that exercised regularly for eight consecutive weeks. One group incorporated two hours of quadrupedal movement training (QMT) into their workouts every week while the other didn't. At the end of the study, the students that incorporated quadrupedal movements saw more improvements when performing regular everyday movements. They also experienced a greater range of motion with their movements than the other group.

Certain movements can strengthen your core

Another benefit of the primal fitness trend is that it can strengthen your core muscles. Just as quadrupedal movements can lead to improvements in functional movement and range of motion, they can also result in a stronger core as well (via Nike). One of the moves that can benefit the core includes the bear hold, which is similar to the aforementioned bear crawl, minus the crawling. The knees should be lifted off the ground a few inches without moving. This isometric move activates several muscles in the core, including some in the lower back.

Having a strong core is about more than just building abdominal muscles to show off in your summer bikini. The Mayo Clinic claims that having a strong core can help you have better stability, which can benefit you during other exercises and sports, including bicycling and rowing. It can also help you with your normal at-home activities like lifting heavy items.

Many of the movements are easy and can make you feel like a kid

Remember, primal fitness involves seven basic movements: walking, lunging, bending, pushing, pulling, squatting, and twisting. You perform most, if not all, of these movements every day at home, work, or school when you're not exercising.

Have an alarm on your nightstand? You probably need to twist toward it to turn it off. Walking into the office and need to tie your shoe? Can't do it without bending over. Planning on picking up a 48-pound bag of dog food at Sam's? You'll have to pull it off the shelf to place it in a cart, push the cart to your car, and then pull it out of your car and carry it into your house. You get the idea.

Primal fitness includes a repetition of many of these same basic, natural moves. That means you'll likely find many of the moments fairly easy to perform, but of course, the more reps you do, the more challenging the moves become — in a good way. And if you want an added challenge, there are other more advanced movements in primal fitness that you can try, like the animalistic ones. So, why not give this trend a try?