Primal patterns: your foundation for effective exercises

What are primal patterns

The easiest way to describe primal pattern movements is to ask how our ancestors would have moved in daily life in order to survive. Similar to the way we actively do things today, the problem is we are less proficient generally.

The fact is we sit too long. If you sit for 30 plus hours a week only to visit the gym and sit in a machine, you miss the point. We only further deterioate the body and mind in the long term. The body craves to express itself and the only way it can is by utilising the primal patterns I mention here. By incorporating these we pump the body, we challenge the nervous system, and we have to think about the movement.

Example of primal patterns exercises


The push is used daily, we push open a door or push a trolley around a supermarket. The push engages primarily the muscles of the chest – pectorals and backs of the arms – triceps. The most popular push pattern is the bench press. Another classic exercise is the press up or the cable push, as shown here.


The pull is used in most household activities and many sports. This movement recruits the back muscles – Latissimus dorsi and the arms – biceps and forearms. Pull movements can be used with cable pully or dumbbells. A horizontal and vertical pull are well worth incorperating into your routine.


Twisting movements are integral to almost all movement. Rotational movements are teh least performed movement pattern in the gym, yet often it is usually a pattern we injure ourselves in outside of the gym. The rotational movements shown here are largely focusing on the obliques and the cable


Although not used often by gym goers, the crawl is a great exercise to stabilise and load the shoulders, core and legs. It is a great whole body exercise.


The lunge is used in most sports and is a great unilateral exercise that encourages and forces us to stabilise and balance on one leg at a time.

The Bend or Hinge

The hinge movement is used when picking anything up from the floor. When deadlifting we engage the posterior chain and use multiple muscle groups. If you are short on time and can only pick one exercise this should be high up on list. There are many variations, progressions, and regressions of this exercise.


We use the squat pattern when we sit, get in and out of the car. When loading the spine with weight we recruit multiple muscle groups, the biggest muscles in the body, the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, being some of them.

Primal pattern movements are great to use as they make your workout more efficient. You could pick one for each day of the week and see and feel good results with consistancy.

If you are unsure of any of these exercise seek advice feel free to message me.

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Delphine & Louis

Our mission is to help people achieve their physical potential. We have a holistic approach to health and fitness. Everything is connected. Our 3M Method is based on these three key pillars: Mindset, Movement and Meals.

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