If you’ve never heard of Animal Flow don’t feel like you’re out of the loop.  Given that this style of training is less than a decade old very few have heard of it.  In fact I was only introduced to it about 3 years ago and pursued a certification shortly after.  So what exactly is this style of movement all about? At a glance many tend to assume it’s some variation of yoga, I’ll admit that was my first thought as well.  But that is a very small portion of what Animal Flow has to offer. I’ll give a brief history here but I encourage you to look up the founder and his website to learn more.   And better yet seek out an Animal Flow certified coach to learn from. I am one of many worldwide.

In simple terms I describe Animal Flow as the love child of all the most dynamic body weight activities that have ever existed.  Mike Fitch (creator of Animal Flow) went to great lengths to study the movements and benefits of gymnastics, parkour, martial arts, yoga, breakdancing and traditional progressive body weight training.  Animal flow combines elements from each creating a style of movement that is relevant regardless of goal or fitness level.

Animal Flow is a style of exercise that I use with my competitive powerlifters, my martial artists, my runners and everyone in between to help them reach their goals and feel great along the way.  Continue reading to understanding how and why you should start incorporating animal flow or contact an Animal Flow certified fitness pro.

Increase Flexibility & Prevent Injury

I would like to start here for two reasons.  1) It aligns with most people’s first impression of Animal Flow making it an obvious starting point 2) Because flexibility and mobility are the foundation of every good training program.  Regardless of your goals you must have the prerequisite mobility to reach them and endure the training necessary to get you there. 

Given that Animal Flow includes elements of yoga it’s easy to see how it can lead to improved mobility.  However, the mobility animal flow provides is a result of much more than lengthening postures & deep stretches.  The mobility gained comes from the multi-planar, or multi-directional movements that this style is comprised of. Virtually every movement in animal flow travels through more than one plane of motion simultaneously.  

You might be wondering how this is going to make you more flexible and mobile.  Well our bodies are designed to do much more than the average person’s daily activities require.  We’re capable of so much more than sitting, standing, walking, running, & flexing. We’re designed to be able to bend, twist, reach & pivot in every conceivable direction.  However like anything else you must “use it or lose it”.  

Fortunately lost doesn’t mean permanently lost.   Introducing dynamic multidirectional movement can help to regain some of the amazing movement capacity that your body hasn’t been given the opportunity to express.  However just because something is meant to help prevent future pain and injury doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt if you rush the process. Just like you can’t go from being unable to touch your toes to deciding you want to be more flexible and just yank your feet behind your head.  The safest route here is to seek a fitness professional that is certified in this style of movement to guide you. Feel free to reach out and schedule a free call with me to learn more about how to get started with Animal Flow

Build Strength With Animal Flow

Ok so you’ve been working with an Animal Flow coach & you’ve built the prerequisite mobility to kick things up a notch.  Should Animal Flow still be a part of your program?

YES!

Animal Flow has the ability to progress into more dynamic strength focused activity as well.  Because one of the components of Animal Flow includes elements of gymnastics you have the ability to shift the program to focus on strength while still maintaining the mobility benefits.  Animal flow places emphasis on perfection of movement and stability in various forms encouraging improved muscle control & recruitment. Incorporating this level of movement works to strengthen your core and train you to brace against external forces in all directions.  The most basic strength form is called static beast and is similar in nature to a plank with more demand from upper and lower body in order to maintain proper posture. Simply advancing through traveling movements in the basics forms (Crab, Beast & Ape) alone can build strength and stability that translates to improved strength in activities ranging from callisthenics to olympic lifting and powerlifting.

Improve Your Endurance

Endurance and stamina is a common goal for most people.  Even if you don’t verbalize it most of us would love to have a little more energy and get winded a little less often.  Realistically many activities can improve cardio endurance but very few can simultaneously work to improve muscular endurance.

All that’s necessary to improve cardio endurance is simply to perform an activity, really any activity, for more than 4 minutes (always aiming to increase time) without rest.  The lower intensity components that come from yoga and dance make this easy to work toward. However, what about muscular endurance?

Typically when improving endurance common activities are biking, jogging, rowing erg etc.  All of which place significantly more emphasis on lower body endurance training (yes even the erg). This can lead to a less than favorable imbalance in muscle development.  In contrast because Animal Flow is a body weight ground work activity, most forms require support from upper and lower body and the ability to fluidly transition from one to the other.  So getting the cardio training is fairly simple all while allowing you to maintain balanced muscle development throughout your entire kinetic chain. 

Online Personal Trainer
Cassie Therrien | Certified PT Nutrition & Life Coach

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” – Rikki Rogers

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