Global Bodyweight Training, animal movement exercises
"Forward apes" are a great full-body workout
The growing popularity of training using animal movements is a great thing. We’ve seen all different disciplines of bodyweight training mimicking our friendly fury critters in one way or the other. Whether you’re a yogi, a traceur, a B-boy, a strongman or an MMA fighter, we’re seeing more and more of animal forms popping up in training. So why are animal movements so beneficial and why should everyone be doing them?
To begin with, using animal movements is engrained in our DNA. Even though I sometimes hear it called “the next big thing” due its rising popularity, animal movement exercise is actually one of the oldest styles of movement in our history. Having been part of every step of human evolution, this style of exercise may actually be the original big thing! Here are some of the main benefits:



You probably already know that the crawling phase of babies is essential to development of coordination, strength, and muscles, so that they can progress to walking on two legs. But you might not know that there is still a lot to be gained by continuing crawling movements, using all of that great synergy between the upper and lower body for synchronizing movements. Sadly, once we learn to walk, we rarely go back to the ground, leaving us lower body dominant when travelling.

Global Bodyweight Training, animal movements exercise
"Travelling side kick thrus" build rotational trunk strength


When most people hear the word “stability” they think of “core” stability. While this is important, there are also a few other areas that are essential to performance and injury prevention. I like to think of it as the body’s four basic points of stability:
1) The scapulohumeral joint, or the shoulder joint, where the arm attaches to the torso;
2) The scapulothoracic, which is the relationship of the shoulder blade to the upper spine;
3) The lumbosacral joint, at the lower back, where the last section of the spine connects to the sacrum and pelvis; and
4) The hip joint, an often overlooked point which can affect the entire lower body, including especially the knee and ankle.

Rarely are we in a position that challenges or requires simultaneous activation of all four points of stability like in the animal movements. It’s a great way to work on some really essential components of your overall stability.

Global Bodyweight Training, animal movement exercises
"Side apes" are easy to learn, exhausting to do


Often times it’s argued that with increased flexibility or mobility we risk joint stability. However, when performed properly, we can use animal movements to increase range of motion at the joints while still increasing stability. You can look at it as dynamic flexibility while strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint.


When you spend significant time moving around on all fours, you can dramatically increase wrist strength, shoulder strength, and trunk strength. You’ll also strengthen all of the muscles in the lower body.

Cardiovascular Endurance

Before you say that animal movements don’t look like much of a cardiovascular workout, try crab walking just 50 yards. Your lungs will be gasping for more air! It’s simple: muscles require oxygen, and when almost all of your muscles are working at once, your body needs a whole lot of air. You can also change the intensity to get a more anaerobic effect.


Global Bodyweight Training, animal movement exercises
Challenged by the GBT Animal Flow Workout
So as you can see, the pros of using the animal movements can cross over into any sport or workout. Not only will you see incredible training benefits, but you’ll be incorporating some fun and new movements into your routine. That’s why I’m happy to announce that we’ve just finished up our very first instructional video called the “Animal Flow Workout”.
After countless hours of observing, studying and testing it out on myself, I’ve come up with my own unique style of an animal movement system. I base all of the movements around what I call the basic Four Pillar stance, where all of your arms and legs are connected to the ground in a set, stable form. From there, the body can move into an endless flow of movements, stretches, switches, combos, and travels. The workout is super challenging and you won’t believe the results.

Global Bodyweight Training, animal movement exercises
"Loaded beast" starts in the Four Pillar Stance

The DVD includes a comprehensive introduction to animal movements and detailed instructions on each form. After completing a step-by-step warm up, you’ll learn multiple drills and combinations. When you’re ready, you can move on to the sample workouts for both indoors and outdoors. One of the great things about the Animal Flow system is its flexibility, allowing you to perform it by itself or integrate it into your own training program. You’re going to be thrilled with the results!
Many thanks to Cody Patrick and Libby Weintraub for their help with the photos seen here, and with the video.
Check out the video details here: The Animal Flow Workout

Published by Mike Fitch

Mike is the founder of Global Bodyweight Training. He has more than 12 years as a fitness professional encompassing a wide range of disciplines which he draws upon to create the GBT system.

Join the Conversation


    1. Thanks for the response Matt! We will have info on pre-order next week. You’re really going to love this workout!

    1. Dave, your animal movements are solid. You’ve really been able to pick up the fluidity with your combos. Looking forward to teaching you some advanced forms and switches

  1. Can’t wait to see your program. I’ve been using animal exercises to train my soccer players for years with great results. Keep up the great work Mike!

    1. Hey Nolan, i’m glad to hear you’ve been using animal movements to improve the performance of your athletes for so long. Hopefully you’ll be able to pick up a few new tricks with the video. I’d love for you to send us a quick video of your players performing some animal movements, we will post it on the site. Stay well my friend.

  2. Hey mike great article, I have been using bear crawls with a weighted vest and resistance bands in my training for a while now,
    but obviously this is more about strength than fluid movement! really looking forward to trying forward / side apes, looks like fun
    keep up the good work.

    1. Hey Malcolm, the weighted vest and bands are an excellent way to increase intensity with animal movements. And if you decide to pick up the DVD, we’ll have some great new moves that will provide an even more serious challenge as you add those kinds of external resistance.

  3. Being a martial arts/combat skills practitioner, I am a bodyweight+Kettlebell enthusiast. I can almost visualize what your DVD can bring to my regime and enhance it – the anticipation is making me salivate (lol)!

    I am looking forward to the release of the DVD with eager anticipation and BRAVO for providing a much needed “pure application” in today’s hi-tech world.

    1. Hey Abhijit! Thank you for the enthusiastic comment! I have no doubt that the animal flow workout will enhance your already intense practice. We will begin pre-sales next week so keep an eye out for the trailer sometime after the weekend. I’d love to hear your feedback on the video and see how you incorporate it into your training. Be well my friend and keep up the good work!

  4. Looking forward to using the animal movement on the DVD. I am helping a friend get ready for basic training . The animal movement
    will help her reach her goals.

    1. I’m glad to hear you are using the Animal Forms to help your friend prepare for basic training. It will definitely give her an edge! We are launching the pre-sale for the DVD tomorrow with the official trailer. Check back tomorrow afternoon or you will receive a link if you’re on our mailing list. Thanks for the positive comments Larry!!!!

  5. Mike, your site is so great. I’m looking for new articles almost every day.
    Can’t wait for the release of the animal movement dvd.
    Will it be possible to order it international? (I’m from germany)

    Keep up the great work!

    Greetings from Germany

    1. Hey Markus, I’m really glad you are enjoying the site! Today we are actually launching the trailer for the Animal Flow Workout and pre-sale special. The video will be available in two formats 1. A downloadable digital copy that you can access as soon as we release or 2. A hardcopy DVD that you can order (that will also give you access to the digital download. This way you can cut down on the shipping costs if you want to go the digital route. Although i know some people like to have the actual DVD for their collection. Once again, thank you for the positive feedback. We will be in Paris working with some Parkour teams this week so check the facebook page for some pics and updates. Be well!

  6. Hi Mike,

    Reminds me a lot of Scott Sonnen’s Tacfit, Flowfit and Prasara Yoga. Have you studied with him or are you accessing the same sources? At this point I would have to see something that distinguishes your stuff from his, since I have already paid for his programs. Good luck with it though.

    Michael Simpson

    1. Hey Michael, thanks for the comment. I’m sure there are similarities, but just as in KB Coaches, or strength coaches, everyone brings something different to the table. Animal movements have been used by different disciplines and practictioners for a couple thousand years, so I imagine they all blend at some point. I know Scott puts out a lot of great info so big props to him! Thanks for the well wishes on the success of the DVD. -Mike

  7. Hey Mike,
    just saw the dvd promo, looks great. I really believe BW/animal movements are the way forward (looking back!) The secrets are in our evolutionary past, with some great additions like heavy ropes and kettlebells, our ideas about fitness and body control will change (for the better I hope)
    Keep up the great work, good luck with the dvd and website
    regards from Norway

    1. Hey Tom! I couldn’t agree more! Sometimes we have to simplify things in order to get back to our true nature and potential. I’m a huge fan of both rope and KB training. Keep spreading the good word my friend!

  8. Very similar to a mixture of Capoeira Angola , Ginastica Natural and some BJJ flow drills. I like it but it’s not unique- then again what is?

  9. I did many of these moves for parkour warm up. I tore my ACL in my left knee during a bad single leg landing doing parkour. I am 9 weeks post op, have full range of motion but am still weaker than my right side, which is normal at this stage, I am working very diligently on rehab and strengthening. Can these movements be modified? I think I can perform some of the movements now, others might be a little risky right now.

    1. Thanks JK! This was our first blog post on GBT, glad you enjoyed it…..twice!

    2. Hey Kathy, I sent you an email. Let me know if you have any more questions

  10. Mike,
    I am one of the people who preordered the animal flow workout. After years of battering my body with powerlifting, I was looking for a workout that was a workout as well as therapeutic for my joints.

    Your product delivers it all, I feel great after my first session and so do my hips, spine and shoulders. Eagerly waiting to incorporate your ideas and concepts into my training.

    Did I mention, it was a blast too. I cannot wait to hone the basics and get my own combos and free flows going.

  11. Mike,

    Yesterday I came across your demo video and was so impressed, that I immediately downloaded your series Animal Flow Workout series (two videos & pdf). Took judicious notes, and tried doing the Dynamic Warm-Ups and “ABC” movement from Download 1. Definitely challenging! I think my biggest issues are mastering contralateral movements, and, when doing the Ape, keeping my toes together (I have a natural tendency to walk with my toes facing outward. Also, w/ crab, learning how to move in a balanced contraleteral movement. I have some right wrist issues so I’ve placing that hand down as a fist …

    Haven’t tried “Transitions” yet; need to practice those. Want to practice them in front of PC, yet trying to figure out if there’s a way I can transfer your downloaded to my smartphone so I’ll have them when training outside.

    Secondly, don’t know if you’re aware of it or not, but there’s another excellent “Animal Workout” blogspot with about 12 exercises you can download for free (if you have free Real Player or other video download software.) Some are similar to your “ABC” series, others are completely different. The guy who invented them, Vishnu, two-time N.Y. Golden Gloves Champion world-class Tae Kwon Do Champion. He’s also been training luminaries in Hollywood and does stunt work Here’s the link:

    What I think would be cool is learning how to incorporate some of his animal movements–particularly the ones that are different than yours–with your innovative transitional movements such as the Underswitch, Scorpion Switch from Beast & Crab, Kickthroughs, etc.

    You’re far more knowledgeable and skilled than I. Experiment, try them out and let me know what you think.

    Thanks for creating Animal Flow Workout! I can’t wait to be able to do what you, Cody and Libby can do with ease, finesse and strength.

    Seriously: Do you think it’s possible for a 56 year old to obtain that level of skill/dexterity? I’m already doing Tabata-type workouts w/ kettlebells, “Combat Conditioning” (bodyweight strength exercises), a little yoga, etc.

    Robert ( or

    1. Hey Robert, I’m so glad to hear that you are enjoying the Animal flow Workout! First of all, not only can a 56 year old be abel to obtain the skill level needed to perform these exercises, but you absolutely should be doing these types of movements to increase your mobility, endurance and prevent future injuries.
      As far as the smart phone, I know you can watch the video on Iphones, so would have to know what kind of phone you are using and i’ll try to find out some more information for you.
      I’m not familiar with the practitioner you spoke of, but animal movements have been used for thousands of years so I’m always glad to hear of other coaches that are using them. There are many more forms that I use in my classes and will launch in the Animal Flow Workout volume 2, along with more switches and transitions that you’re going to love!
      lastly, just practicing the movements will help improve your weak points, especially the wrists! So If it’s painful, try to modify it and stay away from any movement that causes pain. thank you again for the comment my friend!

  12. I get the impression that your “beast position” easier or safer on the knees than Prasara Yoga’s “quad squat?” Do you agree?

    1. Hey Traven, It’s tough to say. Healthy joints should be capable of moving through all available ranges of motion, while load bearing it’s own weight. Regardless, I’m glad you’re enjoying the Animal Flow moves. keep training hard my friend!

  13. After a long term and serious research on the subject ‘who ‘created” ‘ginastica natural’ animal flow etc etc meeting people who made lots of money and listening to voices like ‘i invented and they robbed from me” and so on…i ran in to completely divided and no end streets to get serious info from serious sources on its origins,it costed me a few years..but I finally found all about it… if you care and have patience take a look at these all started with a mysterious individual who very few people manage to understand well..he introduced an indian system totally based on true animal movements in which himself showed by going in to cages with wild animals and establishing a form of communication using his own body..since he cared not for money but just survival,he taught to so many people that after he took of from Brazil started to say that they were the ‘ones” I found the man and told him all about in what has become nowadays..,to what he smiled and said.’if people enjoy the surface why go in to deep sea? since we were talking near a 20m cliff over the sea..he suddenly jumped in a double flip and dived in to the sea… nothing so incredible..except he’s now pushing 70…

    1. Very cool Jaffar. Feel free to send me more info from your research. I’d like to hear about it!

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