From the Caveman Diet to the caveman workout: Could Paleo-fitness get you into the best shape of your life
20:51 GMT, 10 April 2012
Since yoga and Pilates became a mainstay in exercise culture, much emphasis has been put on conditioning the muscles using the body's own weight and focussing on core strength.
But one workout promises to take the body's natural abilities a step further by returning to the basic functions it performed back in the days of the caveman.
The 'Paleo workout' as it has come to be known, is based upon the range of motion that the body used when it had to survive in the wild, and includes exercises like sprinting, clambering on all fours and lifting heavy objects.
Old school: Paleo-fitness is the latest workout fad that is based on the 13 basic skills a caveman would use to survive including sprinting, carrying and climbing
Erwan Le Corre is an expert in the field of evolutionary fitness and founder of its branded incarnation, MovNat.
According to his teachings, human beings possess a set of 13 skills that helped paleolithic man hunt animals, build and defend himself from enemies.
These skills include walking, running, balancing, jumping, crawling, climbing, swimming, striking, grappling, lifting, carrying, throwing and catching.
Grouped into three categories – locomotive, manipulative and combative – they are all part of what Le Corre calls our 'evolutionary birthright'.
Scramble! Students at a MovNat class learn how to move naturally with grace and ease just like our caveman ancestors did
And if reintegrated into our lives as an
exercise activities, they will lead us to
optimum fitness and health through the ease, grace and power of the movements.
Fittest man alive Founder on MovNat and expert on Paleo-fitness, Erwin Le Corre
Rather than waste time lifting dumbbells
at the gym which work only one muscle group at a time, Paleo fitness
has people clambering along the ground like monkeys, sprinting as if
escaping from a tiger and climbing walls as part of a complete
cardiovascular and strength workout.
The regime can be improvised in the outdoors with trees, lakes and heavy boulders and when it is, male participants are encouraged to endure external challenges like weather and rough terrain.
When New York author A.J. Jacobs decided to try it out as part of his quest to become the healthiest man alive for his new book, Drop Dead Healthy, he met the Frenchman in Central Park where he was told to take his shirt and shoes off.
Describing his experience for the Daily Beast he recalled shivering at the outset and picking up splinters from broken glass on the ground.
But he also wrote how he felt 'alive' and 'fantastic' by the end of the the session.
'I’m not trying to give you a hard time,' his trainer, Le Corre laughed however. 'But I am being the healthiest man alive. Not trying. Being.'
Thankfully for women, Le Corre also takes workshops around the world teaching followers how to train the Paleo way using indoor equipment.
And we suspect, clothes.