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, less commercialised, more grounded 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 or natural parkour. 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-Sept. Themes: Build Foundations. Hibernate - "Slumber Strength"

Goals: rebuild base cardio & strength
Method: shorter basic workouts
  • Fast; 100/200 's, 400's short track sessions
  • Body Movement; hangs, holds, basic crawling, push, pulls, squat movements for power and strength.
  • Heavy; 32kg Kettle Bell session of A) 10 mins on the minute clean & press. B) Heavy Kettle Bell walks- racked, waiters, farmers carry. C)  light rounds of Single Leg Deadlift, One Arm Kettlebell Swing, One Arm Kettlebell Power Clean.
  • Long; 10k road run 
  • Combo; Kettle Bell Foundational Skills (24kg) or other kb combos
  • Weekends can be rest, a run in the trails, or a session on the boxing bag. 

Spring (50/50 Zoo/Unzoo focus) Oct-Nov. Themes: Wake up/Stress

Goals: increase stamina
Method: ramp up intensity & volume, alternate Crossfit style week with Primal training week.
  • Fast; Either Crossfit double session of Tosh+ bodyweight Fran OR Primal sprinting.
  • Obstacle session; Either an obstacle style wall climb/jump session OR tree/fence natural obstacling.
  • Heavy; Primal Heavy Hi Vol: 4-6x “boulder to shoulder” lifts coupled with a fast tree climb and depth drop. (one for one). Log shoulder carry, rock carry (to failure), Then finish with high volume reps of rock push press, branch pull ups, shouldered log lunges and log cleans. To start with partition 50 reps into 10 rounds of 5's, building by 1 rep each week.
  • Endurance/Restorative; long intervals - 6-8 4min VO2 max runs with 2 min rests OR Primal Restorative; Breathing training, Hanging - arms/legs, swinging, Hip Hinging, Balance Training, Ground mobility,Optional Light flow & Key posture stretches; Samson, cobra, dog, pigeon, child, bridge.
  • Endurance Combos; 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 OR Primal Triathlon: 5k Trail/natural obstacling/heavy primal carrying.
  • Weekends; a run in the trails, building to off trail, and a garage gym session.

Summer (UNZOO focus) Dec-March). Themes: Explore & Play/Organic stress.

Goals: Engage the primal movement experience.
Method: More freeform -higher volume & complexity, varied intensity.
  • Fast;  primal sprint activity, complex environments, or raw primal movement speed.
  • Play - jump, crawl, climb, explore. One of the key sessions for summer; a chance to go for free form flow, unstructured movement.
  • Primal Heavy Hi Vol: 4-6x “boulder to shoulder” lifts coupled with a fast tree climb and depth drop. (one for one). Log shoulder carry, rock carry (max), Finish with high volume reps (5 rounds of 5 reps) of rock push press, branch pull ups, shouldered log lunges, deadlifts and log cleans.
  • Restorative. An ahhh! session; Hanging/swinging - arms/legs. Balance. Ground mobility. Light flow.
  • Explore; go off track, explore new terrain, try new skills.
  • Weekends should be packed with fun activity that makes the most of summer!

Autumn (UNZOO focus) April-May. Themes: Recharge/De-stress.

Goals: wind down.
Method: slower, technique, breathing & balance focus.
  • Fast; primal sprint activity, complex environments, or raw primal movement speed.
  • Body Movement; parkour/play mode - crawling, jumping climbing fun.
  • Primal Heavy Standard; rock rolling, shouldered lunges, push press, log cleans, boulder deadlift, boulder carry, log shoulder carry, Nordic curls. 
  • Long; hiking.
  • Combos; Classic Primal WODs