From the Ground Up: Strengthen Your Foundation and Build Better Movement

By Abby Corriveau

In my last article, Beyond Strength: How to Incorporate Natural Movements In Your Strength Routine, I talked about natural movement and shared different get-up variations that you can be added to your current strength training routine. Today I want to take a step back and play with different natural movements that you can do while on the ground.

What are the benefits of getting down with ground movements?

Ground movements promote both mobility and stability in the body. The practical value of ground movements is found in building ease and comfort in basic seated positions, kneeling, and get-up variations that you may find yourself in on a daily basis, whether you’re the mother of young children, someone with a physically demanding occupation, or simply an active individual. Ground movements include variations of rolling, rocking, crawling, kneeling and sitting. Here are some examples:

Foot Hand Crawl:

Side Bent Sit Reversing:

Tripod Transition:

Practicing ground movements helps you become more competent in your positioning, which in turn can help you unlock tight hips, stretch the hamstrings, improve shoulder health, massage the back while creating a supple spine, and strengthen the wrists and hands. Your body will feel supple and ready to take on the day—or workout!

Natural Developmental Sequence (NDS)

In MovNat we teach a sequence of ground movements referred to the Natural Developmental Sequence (NDS), which sequentially links one movement to the next, starting from a lying position all the way up to standing. It is very similar to how we learn to move from the ground up as a child. The videos below demonstrate NDS sequences for a beginner and for those with a little bit more advanced strength, balance and mobility.

You will notice some of the movements shown above in these beginner and intermediate sequences:

Ground Movement Flow

Once you’ve developed these positions and transitions you can step out of your sequence of movements and begin to explore a variety of ground movements in what I call a ground movement flow or gmflow. A ground movement flow is a sequence of different ground-based movements intuitively linked together.   There isn’t a right or wrong way to do a gmflow. It’s all about mindfully connecting to movement and flowing freely in and out of different positions. In the video below, you’ll notice a range from more basic movements like side bent sent to more advanced movements and transitions like rocking and single leg squats.

We humans are extremely adaptable animals, and that is both a strength and a weakness. We have adapted to a life of chairs and tables in our modern day life, and this adaptation has has left us with few reason to get down on the ground to sit or move. To regain these fundamental human movements we once mastered in our early years of childhood, we need to re-train our bodies to get into the different positions and perform these movements. Sitting is a new skill now that we all have to master again.

By adding more ground movements to your training you may start noticing a change in your lifestyle as well. You’ll rely less on chairs, you’ll see more opportunities to move in areas outside of your typical training environment, and you’ll explore and rediscover the world from the ground up—something we don’t really get to do much these days.

Play, explore, and most of all, enjoy moving well in your body.

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About the author:  Abby Corriveau

Abby is a movement therapist and the founder of Sustainable Movement. She's a Nutritious Movement Certified Restorative Exercise Specialist, Level 3 Certified Trainer (MCT III), and a Girls Gone Strong Certified Pre & Postnatal Coach (CPPC). Her mission is to help humans move more and move well by making movement and exercise more accessible and inclusive for all. Follow with Abby on Instagram and learn more about her on her website.

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