Unzoo Movement

Unzoo Movement

Engage the movement garden; practice, play and push an eclectic movement mix for mind/body zen!
Unzoo = undoing the zoo. Rather than "nature versus technology," it should be "our technology working with our nature". Unzoo is about reverse engineering the negative impacts of civilisation on our natural evolution. Unzoo movement is just one aspect of The Unzoo Concept that can be actioned, but it can be a powerful step in the Unzoo process. The process is threefold; beginning with the self, rebelling against conventional wisdom, and engaging with the primal movement experience.

What is Unzoo Movement?

It is an eclectic blend of concepts that form an philosophy and structure to movement practice within the Unzoo mantra of "working with nature". The key concepts are; natural movement, full spectrum fitness, and seasonal variation. 

Natural movement; MovNat is a physical education and fitness system based entirely on using the full range of our evolutionarily natural, human-specific movements.  It involves the combined training of walking, running, jumping, balancing, moving on all fours, climbing, lifting, carrying, throwing, catching, swimming and defending oneself (striking and grappling skills). Other mentors include Rafe Kelly of Evolve, Move, Play, and Ido Portal.

Full spectrum fitness; The CrossFit system has popularised this;  The CrossFit definition of an athlete is;
"a person who is trained or skilled in strength, power, balance and agility, flexibility, and endurance". Aside from the breadth or totality of fitness the CrossFit Program seeks, our program is distinctive, if not unique, in its focus on maximizing neuroendocrine response, developing power, cross-training with multiple training modalities, constant training and practice with functional movements, and the development of successful diet strategies. Our athletes are trained to bike, run, swim, and row at short, middle, and long distances guaranteeing exposure and competency in each of the three main metabolic pathways".  
Seasonal variation; this concept goes beyond the traditional thinking on seasonal training or periodisation.
Understand the role seasons play on the hormones and how that effects the body. The premise is that our bodies have growth and repair cycles, just like the planet.  During the spring and summer is when the planet grows.  Long days stimulate carbohydrate cravings and growth.  The fall is when nature rests and repair begins for the following spring. (Source: Critical Mass)
For me, I aim for progression within a season, and the seasonal changes are another form of progression, albiet in a cycle...

 All of my thinking here is influenced by Marks Daily Apple to some degree, but also my own experience. You need to have the heavy lifting, the fast sprint level activity, and the slower longer movement. But I have found that a stamina session is important also. I differentiate between heavy conditioning stamina sessions and pure stamina sessions. A heavy conditioning session involves moving something heavy as part of a stamina session, and has a completely different flow and feel, (not to mention effect!) compared to a pure (single mode) stamina session - which for me is typically running. Gotta have both.

 To Unzoo your fitness, you need to have the full fitness spectrum blended with natural movement, seasonal variation that links to our evolutionary context, and a nutritional profile that complements our biological imperatives.

Here's how I currently do it:

Winter (ZOO focus) Jun-Aug. Theme: Build Foundations. 


  • Fast; track sessions, or bodyweight Fran type sessions - for example;  40 meter sprint X 4 with 30 second rest between runs. 100 meter sprint x 3 with 1 minute rest between runs. 400 meter run x2 with 2 minutes rest between runs. 800 meter run x 1.
  • Skill; basic crawling, jumping, climbing and balance maintenance.
  • Heavy -Primal standard - Rock roll, rock shoulder lunges, rock push press, log cleans, rock deadlifts, log shoulder carry, rock waist carry, Nordic curls.
  • Long Journey; vary track 800's or off road running.
  • Combos; kettle bell foundations. One arm swings, clean & press, squat, snatch and turkish get up. 
  • Weekends can be rest, a run in the trails, or a session on the boxing bag. 

Spring (ZOO focus) Sept. Theme: Hone skills & metcon (short season so eat cleanest here)

  • Fast; track sessions extended into longer efforts up to 800m, & higher reps. For example 1-mile warm-up 2 x 800 meters - 1 minute rest between intervals 4 x 400 meters - 1 minute rest between intervals 4 x 200 meters - 30 second rest between intervals 800 meter cool down - light jog.
  • Specific skill development sessions, for example; Hurdling Technique. The hurdle is an under appreciated skill in parkour. Hugely useful and  highly athletic, the hurdle will improve your parkour game as well as provide a great way to add some athletic elements to your sprinting. Then, do 8 50-meter sprints with at least two hurdle jumps.
    Primal standard +sprint! Big rock deadlift, rock shoulder lunges, rock clean & push pressboulder to shoulder, Nordic curls. Then on field next door:6x100m sprint, 30 sec rest between sprints, 2 min rest after 6th set. 2x400m sprint, 2 min rests.
  • Long Journey; long intervals; eg - On a track, run for 4 minutes at 5-K race pace with a 2-minute recovery; repeat six times. 
  • Combos; classic metcons & Spartan sessions; for example - Murph: 1 mile Run, 100 Pull-ups, 200 Push-ups, 300 Squats, 1 mile Run. For time.Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Eg. 5 pushup/5pull up/5pushups/15 squats X20 rounds.

Summer (UNZOO focus) Oct-Mar (Daylight Savings). Theme: Play & Explore.

  • Fast; classic primal sprint activity, complex environments, or raw primal movement speed. For example; Movement in a Mindset. Find a place to train and work on moving with URGENCY. Pick a place to reach and get there fast 10 times. Pick 2 more places and repeat.
  • Play - jump, crawl, climb, explore. The key sessions for summer; a chance to go for free form flow, unstructured movement.
  • Heavy -Primal standard - extended version; Deadlift start then heavy rock rolling, rock shoulder lunge walks, rock clean & push press, log squat clean push press, boulder to shoulder, rock waist carry, log shoulder carry, Nordic curls,branch hug shuffle. 
  • Restorative. An ahhh! session; Hanging - arms/legs. Balance. Inversion, ground mobility.
  • Weekends should be packed with fun activity that makes the most of summer!

Autumn (UNZOO focus) April-May. Theme: Wind down.

  • Fast; more chilled Unzoo intervals; e.g.Rafe Kelly - Movement inspiration   - Speed Day. General Warm up. Joint prep, Skipping and kick drills to warm up the hips, Light flow work, 3×50 meter sprints 5 minutes rest between each sprint,  5×1 approximately 8-15 second course, this should not be totally new course or speed development will not be optimal. This should be familar and 80 percent or less of the max difficulty you can do a in a course finally make sure you have a 10 meter flat land start so you have to take the obstacles at near full speed.
  • Skill development. Try some new stuff. Such as develop the Hands Free Shoulder Carry Squat.
  • Heavy -Primal standard. Short version. Heavy rock deadlift, rock shoulder lunge walks, rock clean & push press,, boulder to shoulder, rock waist carry, Nordic curls. 
  • Long Journey; Unzoo off-road - long cycle natural parkour combined with manipulative. For example;  "Bear Grylls"1. crater - fallen tree - tree root cliff climb. 2. the grid - crawl under logs, climb trees/rocks. 3.grotto- high bridge test, branch scramble. 4. log wod thicket -rock & log carry up/down slope. 5. rabbit warren forrest - slope scrambles. 6. climbing boulder. 7. tree slalom. 8. wall/tree vaulting/balance.
  • Combos; Unzoo boot camp, such as "Alt. Go Stay"; 1 log shoulder carry along complex trail route. 10 log shoulders, 1 rock waist carry along same route., 10 Boulder to shoulders , 1 uphill bear crawl, 10 log c&sqt, 4 hurdles (out & back), 10 rock oh, down& up hill scramble, 10 climb up, climb the tree bridge over fence/depth jump/& back, 5 branch hug shuffles.