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Primal Workout: Train Like a Beast, Look Like a Beauty

The Animal Flow Workout

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Primal-style workouts are one of the hottest new fitness trends—and with good reason! Exercises that use the environment to inspire "natural" movement are not only more fun than traditional strength moves, but they also challenge your entire body at once. And when you work everything from head to toe, you burn major calories.

To help you get in on the animal action, we asked Lashaun Dale, senior national group fitness creative manager, and Mike Fitch, creator of the Animal Flow class for EQUINOX gyms, to create this exclusive routine; it's designed to help you build strength, flexibility, power, and endurance with nothing but your body weight.

How it works: Three days per week, do 1 set of each move in order without resting in between. Do the full circuit twice.

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Warm-Up: Crab Reach

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The best warm-ups involve moving your body through multiple planes of motion. Why? You'll increase joint mobility, lubricate the joints, and reduce your risk of injury. Start with a set of crab reaches and then move right into the scorpion reach (on the next slide).

Start in a crab position, with fingers pointing away from the body, hips about an inch above the ground. Bend your right arm, bringing it in front of your chest in between your legs [as shown]. Reach your right arm up and over towards the ground and push your hips as high as you can, looking towards the ground. Allow the upper arm to relax and bend 90 degrees [as shown]. Lower to start, repeating 8 times in a row then switching sides to repeat 8 more times. Move slowly and deliberately to actively stretch through full range of motion.

Warm-Up: Scorpion Reach

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Balance on hands and feet with hips lifted and chest pushed back towards legs, knees slightly bent, keeping hands firm on the ground. Allow your head to fall naturally between the arms. Extend right leg up to ceiling, keeping knee bent about 90 degrees and open to the side [as shown]. Shift your weight as far forward as possible, while bringing your right knee past the outside of your left elbow, left leg extended [as shown]. Bring leg back up to ceiling. Repeat 8 times in a row then switch legs to repeat 8 more times. Move slowly and deliberately, actively stretching through full range of motion.

Side-Traveling Ape

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Start in a deep squat position with your hands just outside of the feet [as shown]. Press down into the ground and raise your hips to swing your legs laterally, keeping core tight [as shown]. Kick out the lead leg and allow the trailing leg to land first, while the front leg continues to kick out towards the ground [as shown]. Once both feet are on the ground, slide your hips low back to the starting position. That's one rep. Do 16 reps, alternating directions each time, moving slowly and deliberately.

Traveling Beast

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Balance on your hands and feet, wrists below shoulders and knees hovering an inch above the ground slightly in front of the hips and under the naval [as shown]. Keep your core engaged as you step your left foot and right hand forward [as shown]. Next, step forward with your right foot and left arm. Move 4 strides forward and 4 strides back to complete 1 rep. Do 16 repetitions total.

Explosive Lateral Lunge

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Stand with your core muscles engaged. Lower into a right side lunge, left arm reaching across to right foot, right arm extended back—with both arms ready to generate rotational power [as shown]. Push off right leg and jump up, swinging arms overhead [as shown]. Land in side lunge on the left, with right arm reaching across, left arm back [as shown]. (If that's too challenging, make the jump a step instead). Perform 16 reps, alternating directions, moving deliberately and actively through full range of motion.

Side Kick Through

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Start on hands and knees, and your engage core to lift knees a few inches from the ground [as shown]. Rotate your body to the right, extending your left leg into a kick about an inch above the ground in front of you. Your right heel should be pressed flat into the floor as right arm bends and lifts out to the side, palm facing up [as shown]. Forcefully pull the kicking leg back under the body to return to start and quickly repeat to the other side. Perform 16 reps, alternating sides each time, moving slowly and deliberately through full range of motion.

Single-Leg Hip Extension

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Lie faceup with elbows bent by your sides, palms facing each other. Bend your left knee and place your foot flat on the floor, extending right leg straight up to ceiling, toe pointed [as shown]. Press down through your arms and left leg to lift your hips up as high as possible [as shown]. Do 16 repetitions and then repeat on the other leg.

Elbow Plank Rotation

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Begin in an elbow plank, keeping core engaged and shoulders relaxed. Keep neck neutral and balance on one arm as you thread the opposite arm under your torso [as shown]. Next, rotating out and up, move into a side plank, allowing your feet to follow the body in rotation [as shown]. Perform 16 on each side, moving slowly and deliberately through full range of motion.

Down Regulation

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Wrap up your animal flow with 'down regulation' by revisiting the crab reaches. "Releasing stress on the wrist and shoulders while also opening up the hips is important for this unique style of training," Dale says.

Start in a crab position, with fingers pointing away from the body, hips about an inch above the ground. Bend your right arm, bringing it in front of your chest in between your legs [as shown]. Reach your right arm up and over towards the ground and push your hips as high as you can, looking towards the ground. Allow the upper arm to relax and bend 90 degrees [as shown]. Lower to start, repeating 8 times in a row then switching sides to repeat 8 more times. Move slowly and deliberately to actively stretch through full range of motion.