The Primal Movement Workout Routine is another example of a trend sweeping the fitness industry in recent years, where people take things back to basics.

The idea is to develop the body in the most natural way possible, with popular examples like the paleo diet having broken into the mainstream.

While there is some debate as to how these methods compare to more modern approaches to working out and body development, there is no doubt that many of them can produce positive results for most people.

That’s why today I want to examine one such method with you, the Primal Movement Workout.

Comprised of what are considered the 7 primal movement patterns, we will look at what each is, how it effects the body, and determine just how effective each movement pattern can truly be.

What Are Calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a form of strength training that focuses on training the major muscle groups in the body by utilising your own bodyweight as a resistance to train against.

Developed as a street workout, the lack of a need for any equipment has made it extremely popular, as it can be performed anywhere and at any time.

Although there are different types of calisthenic training, most revolve around a similar set of movements and exercises.

Many of its most common exercises are well-known and simple to perform movements, such as push ups, sit ups, squats, calf raises, leg raises, and planks.

However, it also has many advanced options as well, with things like pull ups, dips, muscle ups, levers, hyperextensions, l-sits, squat jumps, planches, and handstands.

There are even exercises that focus on aerobic conditioning as well, including burpees and shuttle runs.

This versatility makes calisthenics an option available to all, no matter your ability, goal, budget, or any other constraint that may be stopping you from exercising in more traditional ways.  

While not as common, you also now have home gym systems that merge the idea of calisthenics into a more traditional looking piece of fitness equipment. This makes it possible for people to do calisthenic workouts without even leaving their homes.

What Is Primal Movement?

Primal Movement is a type of exercise routine developed by fitness coach Peter Lakatos. It is designed around what he calls the 7 primal movement patterns.

Each movement pattern replicates an action that you may use in everyday life, allowing you to develop functional strength and flexibility that will improve your health and quality of life, by performing calisthenic movements.

The routine is also designed to be fun, with each of the primal movements symbolic of those used by children when they play.

You then use your own body weight as a resistance and smoothly transition from one movement into the next.

The Background Of The Primal Movement Workout

The man who invented the official Primal Movement Workout, Peter Lakatos, is a highly experienced and well-respected fitness coach and kettlebell instructor.

He initially developed the routine in order to turn working out into a game.

The idea behind this was that it would encourage those who otherwise wouldn’t work out to get into fitness, enabling them to improve their health and quality of life.

The exercises themselves were based on movements common in the daily lives of our ancestors. Peter believed that as humans have become more sedentary, they have lost some of the abilities that they would naturally have.

By reintroducing these movements, it should improve mobility and freedom of movement back to how our bodies were naturally designed to be.

What Are The Benefits Of Primal Movement?

There are a number of benefits to following primal movement patterns to work out.

For starters, the fact that this is a functional style of training means the improvements are directly transferable to the rest of your life. This means day to day tasks and activities will become easier as you progress.

Another benefit of primal movement patterns is that they benefit your body in a number of ways.

The calisthenic strength required to perform primal movements will build strength throughout the entire body, the positions themselves will help to improve your flexibility, while transitioning between the 7 primal movements will help to improve your balance.

This means using primal movements will not only increase your physical limits, but they will also boost your health and wellbeing too.

The lack of equipment required to complete the workouts means there is very little stopping someone from performing them, no matter where they are or what they have available. This makes it a type of training that is incredibly inclusive, as anyone from all backgrounds and ability levels can take part.

The final benefit is that the primal movement routine is designed to be a fun, game based, play oriented exercise system.

This ability to make exercising an exciting occasion, whether you train on your own or with friends, will make it appeal to those who may otherwise avoid exercising, as they feel it is a poor use of their limited free time.

Are There Drawbacks To Primal Movements?

The main drawback to primal movements come from the fact that they exclusively use your own body weight as the resistance.

This means that the upper level is finite and may even decrease when you improve, as you burn fat and lose weight.

While equipment like weighted vests or ankle weights are options that can increase the difficulty, they can also make some of the movements more awkward to perform.

This means it is a routine better suited to those not looking to make dramatic increases in muscle size or strength.

Additionally, the flowing nature of the workout will have you moving around quite a lot during each and every workout.

This means that, while you won’t need much equipment to complete the workouts, you will require a sizeable amount of free space.

Are Primal Movements Good For You?

Primal workouts are incredibly beneficial for the human body, as they replicate movements that we would naturally perform on a regular basis.

This ensures that the parts of the body we use the most are strengthened in a way which ensures regular tasks put as little strain on the nervous system as possible.

The free-flowing nature of the workouts means they will also train your cardiovascular system in addition to the strength benefits they have for your muscles.

This combination will pay dividends across the board, with improved posture, strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility benefitting your physical capabilities, reducing the amount of stress you are under, both mentally and physically, and limiting the potential for injury.

The Components Of Primal Movement

The components of primal movements consist of 7 primal movement patterns, each of which features a range of exercises.

As you are using your entire body, some of these exercises will even cross over and incorporate more than one primal movement at a time.


A pushing movement is performed with the upper body and involves either pushing something away from your core or pushing your core away from something.

Pushing movements generally involve the triceps, chest, shoulders, or forearms.

While not as important as they may once have been, pushing movements are incredibly important for self-preservation.

They can help you to move heavy objects, stop you from becoming trapped, or even repel dangers that may be pressing towards you.

Example Exercises

  • Push Ups
  • Handstand Press Ups
  • Diamond press ups
  • Close grip dips
  • Dips


Pull movements are the exact opposite of push movements and usually utilise the biceps, back, traps, and forearms.

They involve pulling an object towards your core or pulling your core towards an object.

These play great importance for your posture, as they stop your shoulders from becoming rounded and help you keep your head up straight.

Push and pull movements are normally performed by muscles that work in antagonistic pairs.

That means while one is shortening, the other is lengthening, working in unison to complete the movement.

Example Exercises

  • Pull ups
  • Chin Ups
  • Body rows
  • Levers


A squatting movement is one that uses the legs, specifically the quadriceps. While keeping the rest of your body straight, you lower yourself down by bending the knees.

After bringing you buttocks as close to the ground as possible you then push yourself back to an upright position.

Squatting movements are essential to our posture and spinal health. With the quadriceps being such large muscles, this movement allows us to lift heavy weights from the ground, without putting our back under any unnecessary stress.

Example Exercises

  • Squats
  • Hack squats
  • Single leg squats
  • Squat jumps
  • Goblet squats


The lunge is another lower body exercise, although this one places additional emphasis on the hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

It involves performing a movement where you step forward with one foot while the other leg trails behind and then lower yourself towards the ground. You then do the move in reverse to stand back up, before repeating it with the other leg.

Lunge movements build the strength in the legs that drives you forward. This is useful for helping you move while carrying heavy loads.

Example Exercises

  • Lunges
  • Walking lunges
  • Static lunges


The bend is a movement that works the core, particularly the lower back. It will involve keeping most of the body still, straight, and steady, while bending forward at the waist, bringing your upper body closer to the ground.

Performing exercises that strengthen our lower back are imperative to protect our spine and give us more core strength.

This will both improve your posture and make you less likely to get injured when lifting heavy objects.

Example Exercises

  • Hyperextensions
  • Good mornings
  • Deadlifts
  • Romanian Deadlifts
  • Stiff leg deadlifts
  • Single leg Romanian deadlifts


The twist is another movement that uses the core, although this one focuses more on the abs and obliques.

It can be done from a range of positions, but always involves moving through the transverse plane of the body (for example, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee).

Because twist movements train your entire abdominal area, as well as surrounding muscles like your serratus, they are essential to having a strong core, which is important for posture and the health of your organs.

Example Exercises

  • Russian twists
  • Toe touches
  • Rotating side plank
  • Elbow to knee crunches
  • Wood choppers


The gait refers simply to a person’s pattern of walking. These exercises involve anything where you place one foot in front of the other to move your body either forwards or backwards.

Ensuring you have a strong gait will go a long way to improving your posture, as well as ensuring the health of the joints in your lower body.

Example Exercises

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Jogging

Which Muscles Do Primal Movements Work?

One of the major reasons that the prial movements workout is so popular is that it helps to develop every muscle in your entire body.

With every part of the body covered by exercises in at least one category, and some exercises incorporating more than one of the 7 movements, you are guaranteed to not have a particular body part get left behind.

How Does The Primal Movement Workout Compare To The IDO Portal Workout?

The IDO Portal Workout is another exercise routine that focuses on flowing movements which use body weight as a resistance. It again works the entire body, and can help build both strength, flexibility, and endurance.

There are 2 main differences between the two routines, the first of which comes from the fact that the IDO Portal Workout focuses on movements found in dance, gymnastics, and yoga, as opposed to natural human movements.

The other difference is that rather than simple movements, the IDO Portal Workout focuses largely on more complex movements.

Exercises like muscle ups, single arm push ups, human flags, single arm body rows, and pistol squats are staples of the routine.

As a result, the IDO Workout is much better suited to more experienced athletes looking for a challenge, as opposed to those just looking for some basic improvements who want to have some fun with their workouts.


The Primal Movement Workout is a fabulous option for those who want to have fun while they exercise.

You can train your entire body, improve your strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance, and there are no limitations based on your circumstances.

There are certainly drawbacks to the primal movement workout that can’t be ignored if your aim is for elite levels of development.

Things like muscle growth and strength gains require significant resistance to produce, so a workout completely reliant on your own body weight can only take you so far.

That said, if you are just looking for a way to keep fit, boost your quality of life, improve your body, and have a little fun, either on your own or with others, then it is something you should definitely consider giving a try.

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