Get ready to do the Animal Flow Training Routine!

Get ready to do the Animal Flow Training Routine!

Whether you’re wanting to exercise for your own good, train with a professional or participate in group classes, Animal Flow has something for all tastes. Want to find out what’s involved?

What is Animal Flow?

Animal Flow is a programme of movements based and performed on the ground; it’s fun, challenging and effective.

The system is designed to improve strength, power, flexibility, mobility and coordination in sedentary and active people.

Animal Flow includes a variety of movements and combinations grouped into categories, the “Six Components”.

Natural movement

Each component is designed to achieve specific results.

The six components can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways, allowing you to incorporate one, some or all of them into your workouts.

These include:

  • Wrist mobilisations.
  • Muscle activations.
  • Form specific stretches
  • Traveling forms.
  • Switches and transitions.
  • Flows.

What do you need to do Animal Flow?

Generally, you only need a few things for the effective and efficient practice of Animal Flow:

  • A Certified Coach.
  • Individualisation and Assessment of work.
  • Motivation.
  • Consistency.
  • Open space.

Benefits for your body

  • Progressive and individualised training.
  • Reprogramming of lost mobility as a result of a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Increase in spine flexibility.
  • Improvements in joint stability.
  • Increase in body awareness and control
  • Strengthening of the upper and lower body, as well as the core.
  • Inclusion of full and low joint impact movements.
  • Useful tool for warm-ups and muscle activation
  • Generation of accessory movements in a strength and resistance programme aimed at improving health or performance.

Crab reach

Animal Flow is a physical conditioning programme through the exclusive use of one’s body.

What does the science say about Animal Flow?

Study 1

Buxton et al., (2020) evaluated the impact of a commercial QMT (Quadrupedal Movement Training) programme on functional movement, dynamic balance, range of motion, upper limb strength and endurance.

To do so, 42 young and active subjects were organised into two groups (QMT and Control).

The QMT training consisted of an 8-week Animal Flow level I programme, during which there were 2 classes/week of 60′ duration, in addition to regular physical activity.

The results indicate that QMT can improve FMS scores and various ranges of hip and shoulder movement.

Study 2

Matthews, Yusuf, Doyle & Thompson (2016) determined the effects of a new 4-week four-legged movement training programme on markers of cognitive function and sense of joint repositioning in healthy adults.

In relation to this, 22 physically active sports science students were divided into two groups: a training group (TG) and a control group (CG). The TG group was subjected to a QDP (Quadrupedal) training regime 3 times/week where a variety of closed kinetic chain exercises based on Animal Flow were performed.

Finally, these authors showed that performing a novel, progressive and challenging task, which requires coordination of all 4 limbs, has a beneficial impact on cognitive flexibility and on the sense of joint repositioning.

Study 3

Pyka, Costa, Coburn & Brown (2017) compared the effects of static (STA), stationary (STN) and travelling (TRV) trunk exercises on muscle activation of the rectus abdominis, rectus femoris, external oblique and spinal erector by surface electromyography (EMG).

To demonstrate this, 17 active women and 23 active men performed 3 exercises in order to determine the maximum voluntary contraction of them. The data showed that there was greater muscle activation in all the muscles evaluated in the stationary and travelling exercises compared with the static ones.

As a practical application, strength and conditioning trainers could use stationary and mobile forms of trunk stabilisation exercises as a viable strategy to increase muscle activation.

A training method to try at home

Quadruped motion training (QMT) is an emerging style of body weight training that is gaining popularity in the fitness industry.

The quadruped movement training incorporates postures and movements that mimic the sequence of neurodevelopmental and animal postures and movements (e.g. crawling, rolling, postural transitions, etc.)

Many elements of QMT are used in:

  • Physical rehabilitation of injuries;
  • Treatment of neurological diseases; and as part of
  • Dynamic warm-ups or as accessory exercises.

Currently, there are various commercial QMT systems available, including Ground Force Method, Ginastica Natural, Original Strength, MovNat and Animal Flow (AF).

AF is a novel form of QMT that consists of dynamic quadruped movements that are practiced, sequenced with other movements and finally choreographed into a flow (a series of linked AF movements).

Animal Flow is the perfect training method to do at home as it combines joint mobility and muscle activation work, basic and advanced movement patterns, dynamic movements with high muscle demand, global stretching and movement flows.

Bear crawl

The great COVID-19 pandemic has caused several situations of confinement or mobility limitations, and as a result, people have reduced their physical activity and active lifestyle.

Animal Flow can be an appropriate training program during a confinement or as part of a strategy to avoid enclosed spaces or congregations of people, helping people to improve their physical condition and working as a preventive measure of COVID-19.

Animal Flow positions

Animal Flow positions are based on different categories grouped into 6 training components.

The different types of work and exercise examples are presented below:

Wrist mobilisations

These are simple but effective movements used to prepare hands and wrists for the challenges of Animal Flow.

Healthy wrists are a basic determinant of success for both experienced and beginner athletes.

  • Wrist Rolls.
  • Wrist Waves.
  • Prayer Stretch.
  • Wrist Shakers.
  • Wrist Relief.
  • Quadruped Wrist.

Animal flow movement

Joint mobility work will always be the first component to be developed during training.

Activations

These activations are a way of “waking up” the body getting it ready to move.

AF practice uses two activation positions, Beast and Crab, which are fundamental forms in the overall programme.

Form specific stretches (FSS)

FSS are global stretches that start at a base position of the animal and then move through various ranges of movement.

  • Loaded Beast Unload.
  • Loaded Beast Wave.
  • Ape Reach.

Exercise animal flow

The aim of FSS is to promote a combination of flexibility and stability (i.e. mobility) throughout the body, developing “strength through movement”.

Traveling forms

Travelling forms are movements that are animal locomotion movement.

They represent the way we imitate animals to improve the function of the human animal. We group these forms in the ABC of animal movements: Ape, Beast and Crab, and their variations.

  • Forward/Reverse Beast.
  • Forward/Reverse Ape.

Ape flow

Forward Traveling Ape.

Switches and Transitions

The S & Ts constitute the grand part of the “Flow” in AF practice.

These are dynamic movements that can be linked to form infinite combinations, or they can be independent as a Skill or power exercise.

The four basic categories of S&T are Underswitch, Side Kickthrough, Scorpion and Front Kickthrough.

Flows

Flows are where all the components of AF come together. Flows can be done in many ways, but there are 3 main styles:

  • Choreographed.
  • Call-Outs.
  • Free Flows.

Front kick through

Front Kick Through.

The potential combinations within each style are almost infinite!

Animal Flow Routine

Finally, all the information gathered, explained and presented above is captured in a practical and visual way in the form of a micro training cycle aimed at the general population, in order to improve physical condition through Animal Flow.

The work structure (Mobilisation, Activation, Form Specific Stretching, Traveling Forms, Switches & Transitions and Circuit) could extend to 6-10 weeks, within which there should be an individualisation and progression of the training load.

Bibliography

  1. Fitch, M. (2019). What is Animal Flow?. Animal Flow. Recuperado de https://animalflow.com/what-is-animal-flow/
  2. Entrenamiento Natural (2020). Animal Flow: Recupera tu naturaleza interior. Entrenamiento Natural. Recuperado de https://www.entrenamientonatural.com/animal-flow-3-2/
  3. Buxton, J. D., Prins, P. J., Miller, M. G., Moreno, A., Welton, G. L., Atwell, A. D., … & Elsey, G. E. (2020). The Effects of a Novel Quadrupedal Movement Training Program on Functional Movement, Range of Motion, Muscular Strength, and Endurance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
  4. Matthews, M. J., Yusuf, M., Doyle, C., & Thompson, C. (2016). Quadrupedal movement training improves markers of cognition and joint repositioning. Human Movement Science, 47, 70-80.
  5. Pyka, D. T., Costa, P. B., Coburn, J. W., & Brown, L. E. (2017). Effects of Static, Stationary, and Traveling Trunk Exercises on Muscle Activation. International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science, 5(4), 26-32.

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About Ivan Sotelo
Ivan Sotelo
Iván Sotelo is a specialist in Physical-Sport Prevention and Rehabilitation, he has experience with professional football clubs. He writes articles in the HSN Blog and advice for workout routines.
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