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The Primal Move Workout – Experience Life



– Workouts –

Based on the movements of young children, this play-based primal workout puts the fun back into fitness.

When was the last time you had fun working out — the kind of fun that causes you to lose track of time, forget your to-do list, and laugh out loud?

If you’re like many exercisers, the answer probably is way too long ago.

Primal Move is a game-based, play-oriented exercise system founded by kettlebell instructor and fitness coach Peter Lakatos. Having a good time is an unavoidable, essential part of the program.

“We’re seeking to improve physical and mental well-being through playful movement,” Lakatos says. “Fitness is a natural side effect.”

Primal Move teaches full-body movements that primarily use your own body weight as resistance. Over the course of a single workout, exercises become increasingly complex: You may crawl and roll like a baby; jump, squat, and invert yourself like a dancer; even compete with others via games, races, and cooperative activities.

“Give somebody a game,” says Primal Move national instructor Adrienne Harvey, RKC II, who designed this workout, “and they’re suddenly much freer in the way they move.”

The Workout

Perform all moves in an open space, such as a fitness room or outdoor park, or on a basketball or racquetball court. Use a soft exercise mat for padding.

During the first few workouts, move slowly, paying close attention to form, and rest as needed. Minimize momentum, and breathe easily and deeply throughout. If a move feels awkward, slow down. Don’t push beyond your capabilities.

As you become more comfortable with each exercise, perform them as a continuous, flowing circuit. Experiment with different movement speeds, but never sacrifice form. Moving slowly and attentively leads to the biggest improvements in mobility and coordination.

Quadrupedal movement is great for your joints, upper-body strength, core stability, and coordination. If you feel silly skittering around on all fours in public, remember that anyone who gawks probably just wants in on the fun. “There’s definitely an infectious quality to Primal Move workouts,” says Harvey.

1. Figure-Four Switches

Improves coordination and body awareness; mobilizes the hips, spine, and ankles.

Figure-Four Switches

  • Sit with your back straight and place the soles of your feet together so you’re in a butterfly position, with your knees spread wide. Place your hands on the floor behind you for support.
  • Place your left foot flat on the floor a few inches in front of your right, and rest your left arm on top of your left knee.
  • Roll backward slightly, lift your feet off the floor, and switch the positions of your feet.
  • Roll forward and sit up with your spine long, this time with your right foot flat, and your right arm resting on your right knee.
  • Perform five or more reps per side.

2. Rocking to X-Lift to Crawling

Improves shoulder stability, hip and ankle mobility, and core strength. The rocking motion also sharpens the vestibular system, which contributes to balance and spatial awareness.

Rocking to X-Lift to Crawling

  • Assume a “creeping” position: hands, knees, and balls of feet on the floor; spine long and abs engaged. Rock back and forth four to six times.
  • From the creeping position, lift your right hand and touch your left shoulder. At the same time, raise your left knee and foot a few inches off the floor. That’s one “X-lift.” Alternate sides, performing four to six X-lifts on each side.
  • Using the same alternating hand-and-foot pattern, crawl forward four to six steps, then backward the same distance. Perform four to six trips forward and backward.

3. Plank to Frog to Crab X-Lift

Develops coordination, strength, shoulder and core stability, and hip mobility.

Plank to Frog to Crab X-Lift

  • From a high plank position, walk your hands back toward your feet and bend your knees to assume a low-squatting “frog” position. Keep your feet flat and hands on the floor.
  • Reach back and place your hands flat on the floor in a “crab” position.
  • Keeping your hips up, raise your left hand and right foot off the floor, and touch palm to sole.
  • Alternate sides for two to four hand-to-foot touches on each side.
  • Walk your hands forward, moving through frog, to return to the original plank position.
  • Perform two to four full cycles.

4. X-Roll

Improves full-body and cross-core coordination, as well as helping to prevent injuries.


  • Lie face-down in a prone position and spread your arms and legs so your body forms an X.
  • With control, lift your arms and legs. Turn your head to the right, looking up and over your right shoulder, and reach your right hand toward the ceiling.
  • Slowly roll onto your back with control.
  • Reach across your chest with your right arm and roll back to a prone position.
  • Repeat, but this time look over your left shoulder and roll to your right.
  • Perform as many repetitions as you wish, doing an equal number in both directions.

5. Plank Jump to Silverback to Lateral Silverback

Develops coordination, upper-body pushing strength, explosive power, and mobility.

Plank Jump to Silverback to Lateral Silverback

  • Assume a plank position.
  • Keeping your back flat and spine long, carefully jump your feet forward until you are in the “silverback” position: feet about 6 inches behind your hands, hips back, knees bent, feet flat.
  • Lift both hands slightly off the floor, and then place them on the floor about 12 inches to the right.
  • Jump your feet to the right, bringing them up to your hands to complete a lateral silverback.
  • Repeat four to six more times to the right, and then switch directions, performing four to six moves to your left.
  • Jump your feet back to the plank position.
  • Perform two to four total repetitions of the pattern.

Andrew Heffernan
Andrew Heffernan, CSCS, is a contributing editor at Experience Life.

Illustrations by Kveta

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Health & Fitness

7 Immune-Boosting Foods – Experience Life



Looking to build your immune system? Start by eating immunity-boosting foods like turmeric, sauerkraut, and medicinal mushrooms.

Healthy, balanced immune function is your best defense against any illness. One of the keys to bolstering your immune system? Nutrition.

“Diet is all-important,” says preventive-medicine specialist David Katz, MD. “You’re building white blood cells, enzymes, and antibodies every day, and the food you eat is literally the source of your construction materials.”

A single meal can alter how immune cells respond to provocation, and the effects accumulate over hours, days, and weeks, he explains. “You can do a complete 180 and optimize a badly broken immune system in as little as weeks by improving your diet, so it’s a very immediate return on investment.”

Foods that dampen the immune system include highly processed or fried foods, those high in added sugar, and nonorganic foods grown with glyphosate, the chief ingredient in Roundup, a common herbicide that has been linked to cancer.

On the flip side, foods rich in polyphenols — beneficial plant compounds found in many vegetables, fruits, and legumes — support immune function. Integrative practitioner Robert Rountree, MD notes that the Mediterranean diet (plenty of colorful vegetables, nuts, and olive oil; moderate amounts of protein; and a little red wine with dinner) provides a good general template for immune-supportive eating.

Some immune system–balancing superstars to focus on:

  1. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, including potent antioxidants called catechins that have antimicrobial properties and may help protect against influenza. It also contains quercetin, a flavonoid that Rountree calls a “time-honored immune-supportive agent.”
  2. Berries are a potent source of immune-supporting flavonoids. “When you eat berries, most of these pigment molecules go to the colon, where bacteria break them down into smaller molecules that escape and circulate in the body, exerting antiviral effects,” says David Nieman, DrPH, FACSM, an exercise immunologist at North Carolina’s Appalachian State University.
  3. Turmeric gets its deep orange-yellow from curcumin, a compound that helps balance the immune system. It has a modulating effect on T cells, B cells, macrophages, and other immune cells, and can also enhance antibody response.
  4. Garlic contains sulfuric compounds with a range of antimicrobial effects, such as inhibiting the biofilm formation of bacteria. It also has natural antiviral properties and can help reduce hypertension, one of the leading risk factors for COVID-19. (For more on garlic, see “Garlic”.)
  5. Citrus fruits such as grapefruit, kiwi, and lemon deliver abundant ­vitamin C — one of the most important nutrients for the immune system, aiding in the formation of white blood cells. (For more on this essential ­nutrient, visit “What You Need to Know About Vitamin C”.)
  6. Sauerkraut and other fermented foods contain lactic-acid bacteria, which produce compounds in the gut that spur the immune system into action. And cabbage itself is another excellent source of vitamin C.
  7. Medicinal mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, an immunomodulator that activates macrophages, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, and neutrophils. “Mushrooms like shiitake, oyster, and maitake have been shown to prime immune cells in published studies,” says Rountree. He recommends both eating shiitake mushrooms and taking a mushroom extract to support the immune system.

This originally appeared as “Eat Well” in “6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System” in the January/February 2021 issue of Experience Life.

Mo Perry
is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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