Let us start with a confession - “We have been a total slob during the lockdown.” Well, maybe not a total slob, but there was a major missing happening when it came to doing routine workouts.
For the first 30 days, we, like everyone else were caught by surprise. Gyms closed, no outdoor running, no hiking, a sense of pandemic fear creeping in slowly — it was far from what has set in to be a new normal.
Few push-ups here and there, few air squats, in-place jogging, all these weren’t cutting the deal and something had to be done. So we did what all of us (you included) do best. We started scrolling through thousands of Instagram home workout videos and our own feed of coaches to find inspiration, and, lo and behold, we realized that we had overlooked the new sensation of home workouts — Animal Flow.
If you haven’t heard of Animal Flow yet, here is a quick primer for you.
Animal Flow is the recent trend in bodyweight exercise programs ever since the worldwide pandemic has forced everyone to stay indoors. It was created by Mike Fitch, and largely centers around ground-based movements.
Bodyweight workouts have become the norm for the seasoned fitness junkies as well as those who want to ditch the binge eating and get moving. This is where Animal Flow comes in as the perfect routine — a bodyweight workout which is the lovechild of exercise disciplines such as dance, parkour, capoeira, callisthenics and yoga.
Just as the name suggests, most Animal Flow classes involve multiplanar movements. We spoke to one of our favourite coaches, Shubhag Rao, who is an ACE certified fitness trainer and Animal Flow instructor, about this. He explained that during Animal Flow, the body is put through a variety of twists and turns. This leads to the usage of not just muscles but tendons, ligaments and joints ensuring real soreness the day after the first class just like any other workout. After this conversation, we had to try an Animal Flow Workout.
So here’s a quick coach-approved workout routine for the enthusiasts and people staying fit during lockdown to try at home. This is a complete structured Animal Flow workout with the warmup and cooldown included.
In Animal Flow, the usual warmups such as jumping jacks and a slow jog on a treadmill are replaced with mobility exercises to warm up the whole body.
- Start by stretching out the wrist, shoulders and hips.
- Move on to dynamic stretches and basic Animal Flow traveling forms such as the beast and the crab.
- The beast is performed by walking on all fours with the chest facing the ground. Example.
- Crab, on the other hand, is performed by facing the chest towards the ceiling while on all fours. Example.
The Main Workout
Mike Fitch’s sample workout from Global Bodyweight Training includes six movements and 2 box drills which are as follows.
- Jumping Underswitch
- Scorpion from Beast
- Scorpion from Crab
- Side Kickthrough
- Front Kickthrough
- Box Drill 1: Forward/backward crab; Forwards/backward ape. Time how long it takes to reach fatigue, rest two times that amount and move to the next box drill.
- Box Drill 2: Forwards/backward Beast; Sideways traveling Ape, same as before.
Cooldown generally involves performing the animal flow slower than the normal progression leading to a good stretch in every muscle to get rid of the post-workout soreness and let it recover. A couple of stretches to be done for cooldown are:-
Animal Flow might seem intimidating for beginners but it's all in the name. Animal Flow is letting yourself loose and using all parts of the body in a primal flow. Though it needs a little foundation in exercise, it gives a great workout with the only equipment being your own bodyweight.
If you’re either not sore enough or are feeling weary, there are modifications that can make the exercise slightly difficult or easier which ensures that anyone can do it. Think about it, no repetitive motions but instead movements that are fun to do, can be done anywhere and only require commitment and no equipment. However, just like any other exercise routine, it’s always best to consult a medical professional to avoid injury or unnecessary stress.
Finally, Animal Flow is slowly making its way in India with some gyms offering it as an attractive alternative to the weight rack and treadmills. It’s not as popular as it is all over the world but it is definitely being chosen by many who want to squeeze in a good workout without a load of a barbell or other machines.
Checkout coach Shubhag Rao in this video performing Animal Flow movements -