The wonderful thing about natural movement fitness is that, in general, very little equipment is required. Natural movement, by definition, is all the ways that the human body can interact physically with our environment. Therefore all the tools necessary can be found in nature:
- Trees (to hang from and climb)
- Rocks (to lift and to climb over)
- The ground (to walk, run and crawl across)
- Other people (to play with)
However, we don’t all have access to the natural world as much as necessary to meet all of our movement needs. If you are practicing natural movement for health and fitness, it is useful to have a few items at home to facilitate these movements.
Something to hang from
Having a pull-up bar in your home, for me, is a must. A lot of natural movement fitness routines incorporate a bar to train hanging and climbing-related movements. Hanging is such an essential movement for opening up the muscles of the chest and shoulders. Having a place to do it right in your home means that you can easily fit some hanging time into every day.
Some things to hang onto
It is important to vary what you are hanging onto. If you only hang onto the same metal bar, that is all your hands will be adapted to. Including a few simple tools in your hanging set up will allow you to train a much wider group of muscles and abilities.
The following can all be easily suspended from your pull-up bar:
- Metolius Rock Rings
- Climbing “power balls” or “baubles” in a few different sizes.
- Homemade grip tools such as short, thick branches tied on with cord
Some things to lift
Chances are, you will already have enough heavy objects around your home to be able to fulfill most of the lifting / carrying portion of your natural movement fitness routine. But it can be nice to have some tools specifically for this purpose. You can make, buy, or find all of the following things quite easily or cheaply:
- A rock
- A log
- A sandbag
- A medicine ball
- A kettlebell (or several)
Check out this article for more details:
Something to sit on
Many people in the Western World lack the hip mobility and hamstring length to sit comfortably on the floor for any length of time. This means that we don’t sit on the floor very often, which leads to further lack of hip mobility and muscle length.
Having a few tools to aid comfortable floor sitting will encourage MORE floor sitting – a vital component in any natural movement practice.
Something to crawl on
The floor is your best tool for ground movements, and, luckily, most homes come with these as standard! If you have a hard floor, however, it can be more enjoyable to use a mat of some kind. A standard yoga mat is great, but their linear shape tends to limit movements to a linear plane. Far better would be a large, wide, or circular mat, which allows you to move in all directions.
Some things to balance on
I am a big fan of setting up indoor obstacle courses as part of my natural movement workouts. Everyday household objects (pillows, books, chairs, sturdy coffee tables) can be employed for this purpose but the following items are also really useful. Many of them can also be used as “sitting tools” (see section above).
- Half foam rolls
- Yoga blocks
- Two by four beams of wood
- A BOSU (this is a fantastic balance training tool!)
- A slackline
Here is a throw-back from my student days – balancing while learning about micronutrients!