As we age, as we become more sedentary, and as we become more specialized in our movements we develop restriction patterns. Over our lifetime certain muscles may get tight while others get weak. We start to compensate in our movements and those compensations perpetuate this cycle of tight and weak muscles. Eventually there is break down in the system of movement. When there is break down inefficiencies and injuries occur.
Before entering any program, one should be properly screened. This may be even truer for the Primitive Initiative® because the program is designed around normal human movement patterns. Movement patterns that potentially have not been done since a person was a child. Not only do we have to be concerned with someone’s ability and preparation for such movements, but we must also be concerned of what a person just physically can’t do. If a person is restricted they are unable to move normally. It’s an issue of can’t and not “this is hard because I haven’t done this in a while”.
Because of this we must first eliminate restrictions of movement and teach the Primitive Initiative® training in a progressive manner. I call this the foundation phase, or a more familiar term to most will be the General Prep portion in the Preparatory Phase of a Periodization scheme. Regardless of what we call it the goal is the same: to prepare the body for the work ahead. To lay a solid foundation so that when higher intensity training is added the body will be able to handle it.
To start this we should do a functional assessment. I can’t emphasize enough how important a functional assessment is before beginning a program (see my previous blog “The Value of Functional Assessments). Movement screens will help identify areas of dysfunction. Exercises will then be given to help eliminate such areas. The number of restrictions a person has will dictate the length of time they dedicate to these exercises. The more restrictions the longer this phase of training will last.
While the largest part of eliminating restrictions will take place in the foundation phase, these exercises will always be a part of the training at varying degrees. To have quality movement, one must continually maintain corrective exercises. These can be a part of the warm-up, as their own circuit, or added throughout the workout.
Outside of eliminating restrictions we must prepare the body to move like it hasn’t done in years (because it probably hasn’t). We will work a lot with isometric holds, slow eccentric contractions, and stabilization, balance, mobility and core exercises during this phase. Teaching technique of movements and what the body should be doing will be crucial. Moving slow to fast will help this, as well as knowing/teaching the proper progressions of the 14 fundamental movements.
Without a solid foundation, a million dollar home will collapse. This is true of any training program (cliché I know….but it is pretty much law at this point). The Primitive Initiative® aims to add human movement patterns back into exercise to extend peoples quality of life. If the body isn’t used to human movement patterns and they are introduced too quickly we risk the potential of reducing quality of life. If we don’t prepare the body, then the body will break.