Since few years, the ‘’movement’’ workout get more famous. Animal Flow, Mace Training, Calisthenic, Gymnastic…There are lots of people who teach it : Agatsu, MovNat, IdoPortal … but is it worth it to put it in your strength program ?


First things first. What is ‘’movement’’ workout?

Instead of a specific and classic exercise in the gym, like the deadlift which is a specific kind of movement in a specific Range of Motion (ROM), movement exercises can be done to get a diversity in the movements and the ROM in the same set just like they can be done for a specific kind of movement in a specific ROM. You can use them just as you like.

Most of them are bodyweight, but you can use some stuff also you want (kettlebell, dumbbell, balls, etc.). They can be done alone or in group.

What kind of exercises are they? As much as your creativity can create.

For example, we can use


  • Fighting Monkeys
  • Bear walk
  • Step Vault
  • Hanging to the bar
  • Roll & Fall
  • Kettlebell double Turkish get up
  • Double mace 360

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What’s the idea behind? Is it something serious or just fashion way to train?

The idea behind can be summarized by Shawn Mozen who said ‘’Mobility and flexibility are your foundations. If they are weak you will never be strong’’. Of course, Shawn Mozen himself integrate some strength and conditioning to his workout, but he knows the foundations. It just means that if you aren’t enough mobile/flexible and stable for a strength exercise, you wouldn’t do it.

Before anybody comment here something like ‘’you don’t need to be a gymnast to be a powerlifting’’. Yes, you’re right. You should give time on movement for your specific kind of sport. Does it mean you can’t go further? No. Movement exercise don’t necessarily require full workouts of this.

What to think about movement training? Well, here’s some of the good, the bad, the ugly:


The good :

It increases your ROM. More range of motion means prevention of injury (if well done: go read the bad section), but also increase the potential of getting stronger.

If you try to touch your toes and stop at the middle, well, at this point, if you do Romanian Deadlift (RDL), it might be possible that it is harder for you. If you increase your ROM and can touch your toes, you might also be able to go lower on your RDL, so you wouldn’t have to compensate for a lack of ROM. Same story for snatch. If you can’t even do an overhead squat and it looks more like a 45 degrees angle overhead squat … well, it can help you.

Depending of how you manage your movement exercises, it can bring you lots of benefits : increase of neural response, increase of strength, increase of ROM (just like said before), can help to build more muscle …. But also add something new you can go further workout after workout, and it can never end if you like it 😊 Something else pretty cool, it can be easily mixed up with strongman training. In fact, ‘’movement exercise’’ can be some sort of modified strongman exercises


The bad:

You have to know HOW to add movement exercise in your training. Too much people still continue to put 30 seconds of stretching in their workout even if there are enough scientific studies to prove that it’s more harmful than helpful. In few words, a static stretch force the Golgi Tendon Organ to give less nervous signals to the brain, which lead to a slower response in the joint, which lead to an unbalance and unsafe joint.

Another problem is about how to make a good planification with movement exercise. Is it worth it and transferable to the sport? Doing some handstand work for a powerlifter isn’t the best idea, but putting some bench press with weight attached to the bar with bands to work stability for the shoulder is more interesting. Doing some splits for a football player, it might not be necessary (even if it maybe might be interesting for some prevention), but doing some Turkish get up should be more interesting.


The ugly:

Just like said in the last section, you have to know HOW to add movement exercise in your training. Movement training isn’t doing barbell squat on a bosu ball, but at the opposite, isn’t necessarily doing some ninja warrior workout.

Another thing is the ‘’myth’’ of strength movement training. Let me explain. Some people say they can build strength from bodyweight workout and they can make more complex to continue to get more strength, so they do just this for building muscle and strength. Not fully true, not fully false. They can get strength, you can even get more muscle with this, but the thing is, you can’t expect working out like someone and getting results as someone else. I mean, even if you get muscle, it won’t be the same thing as a bodybuilder, just like the strength you get from some muscle up bar for example, which isn’t the same as a powerlifter bench press. Know your things and expectations to get the results you want. It’s pretty funny seeing a ex-bodybuilder (for years) promote movement workout to get muscle like him … Each kind of training brings its benefits, but has its limits.


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So, how do we manage movement exercise?

Primo: Look at your purpose. If you want to workout to build muscle or prepare a specific sport, you won’t manage the program the same way.


Here’s some examples

Bodybuilding: Aim to increase and work the full ROM, in different plans for a specific muscles group.

Strength: Aim to work in different plans (frontal, lateral, transverse) and go get different athletic qualities (stability, speed, strength, power…).

Fatloss: Aim for volume and long-in-time set through complex movements.


Secondo: Look at your physical health. If you have some chronic lack a mobility, flexibility, strength, pain, posture or whatever, do therapy first and some that is specific to your purpose.


Here’s an example.

You’re a fighter and have some difficulties with your extensors and always react-fall on your right.

If you have an INP Neurotherapist in your team, he might check your neural system (feet, vestibular system, eyes, muscles, primitive reflexes…) to reactive & stimulate the neuro-muscular system to be more precise, fluid and powerful in your movements.

Institut Neuro Performance


Then, you can add up some movement complex to warm up joint and activate the neural system, like shin the box get up, some joint distraction, rolls, falls, Turkish get up, animal flow…

At this point, you should also know if you should go for strength or mobility. Where’s the biggest lack? If you’re strong but can’t move and need to do some gymnastic competition in few months, well, you know where to start.


Tierto : Look out for the basic information required for your program.

Is it for the 18 weeks off season of an athlete player or just a bunch of people want to get in shape ?


If it is the athlete player, you have to manage to program to get him evolve and make sure at the last week he’s optimal. In this case, you can use movement exercises in pre-workout, conditioning, accessory exercise or even strength exercises depending of the sport.

With the bunch of people, you can make them evolve session after session with no stress, just make sure they have fun and workout well to get results.

At this point, you have to know some movement exercises (and let the creativity and the research for other kind of movement exercises work), but also be able to know what can be transfer to the purpose.

For an Offensive Lineman Football Player, you can think of different animal flow (different kind of walk & crawl like bear, pigeon, reptile…), Shin the box, Turkish get up for example. At the beginning, he’s on start position: he wants to be lower than the D-Line in front of him, getting back his buck to use his hip and arms to push up and back the D-guy. So, there’s lot of ankle-knee mobility, hip movement & power, shoulders stability and arm-fascia tension-strength.


Here’s an example of 3 days / week – program for an Offensive Lineman Football Player IN season. So, I don’t go over 80% effort, put effort on power & speed, but also those point named before


Day 1 – Push

A1) Kb Turkish get up 80% 4×3/3 one side at time, rest 150 sec (a part around 25 min).

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B1) Trap bar deadlift 60% 4×5 4012, rest 75 sec (b part around 15 min).

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B2) Shin the box get up 4×5/5 alternate, rest 75 sec.

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C1) Log bar Z-Press 60% 4×5 3210 from pins, rest 60 sec (c part around 15 min).

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C2) Hollow complex with plates in hands 4×10, rest 60 sec.

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D1) Straight arm strength front lever 3x 15-30 sec, rest 60 sec (d part around 5 min).

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For more difficulty: Put feet on a box.


Day 2 – Pull

A1) Neutral Chin up 80% 6×3 40X2, rest 120 sec (a part around around 15 min).

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B1) Bent over row 75% 5×5 3010, rest 90 sec (b part around 10 min).

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C1) Wide Row Machine 75% 4 x 8 3010, rest 90 sec (c part around 15 min).

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C2) Bag Spider pull 4 x 10 m, rest 90 sec.

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D1) Facepull 70% 4 x 12 3010, rest 60 sec (d part around 12 min).

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D2) Crawling 4 x 10 m, rest 60 sec.

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Day 3 – Total

A1) Toss over shoulder 2 reps per side.

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A2) Fireman carry over a shoulder 10 m / 10 m.

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A3) TRX row 8 reps.


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A4) Push up 8 reps.

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Rest: 60 sec, 8 sets (a part around 20 min).


Rest 10 min


B1) Prowler 60%.

10 m / 15 sec for 4 minutes, rest 120 sec, repeat 4 times (around 10 min).

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Rest 5 min


C1) Cable bent arm powell raise 70% 3 x 12 3010, rest 30 sec (c part around 10 min).

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C2) Trap 3 70% 3 x 12 3010, rest 30 sec.

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I hope you enjoy the article guys, like it, share it and comment about your progress and thoughts! Thank you 😊


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Charles Vaillancourt

Naturopath – Neurotherapist – Personal coach

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