This Primal Animal Flow Workout Is Like Paleo for Your Workout

cheetah running
Photo: John Lund/Getty Images

Go into beast mode with this animal flow workout that will make you feel like you're in the wild.

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This Animal Flow Workout Requires Zero Equipment

cheetah running
John Lund/Getty Images

Like the paleo diet and feeling inspired to try more live-like-our-ancestors strategies? You'll dig this primal-style animal flow workout. 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 muscles from head to toe (like with these compound kettlebell moves), you burn major calories.

To help you get in on the animal flow 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. Each of the multitasking moves is 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 animal flow move in order without resting in between. Do the full circuit twice.

What you'll need: Just a bit of free space to roam!

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Warm-Up: Crab Reach

Warm-Up: Crab Reach

The best warm-up moves 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 progress immediately 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. Do 8 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
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Warm-Up: Scorpion Reach

Warm-Up: Scorpion Reach
  • 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.
  • Do 8 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

Tip: Move slowly throughout this animal flow exercise and deliberately, actively stretching through full range of motion.

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Side-Traveling Ape

Side-Traveling Ape
  • Start in a deep squat position (ace that form!) 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 engaged [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 sides.
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Traveling Beast

Traveling Beast
  • 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].
  • Step forward with your right foot and left arm.
  • Move 4 strides forward and 4 strides back to complete 1 rep. Do 16 reps. (Feeling fired up after this animal flow routine? Try this equipment-free abs and arms workout next.)
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Explosive Lateral Lunge

Explosive Lateral Lunge
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, 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].
  • Do 16 reps, alternating sides. (

Make this animal flow exercise easier: Simply omit the jump and step legs together.

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Side Kick Through

Side Kick Through
  • Start on hands and knees, and engage your 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.
  • Do 16 reps, alternating sides.
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Single-Leg Hip Extension

Single-Leg Hip Extension
  • Lie face-up 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 reps, then switch sides and repeat. (Then try these glute bridge variations to up the ante!)
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Forearm Plank Rotation

Elbow Plank Rotation
  • Begin in a forearm 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].
  • Rotating out and up, move into a side plank, allowing your feet to follow the body in rotation [as shown].
  • Do 16 reps per side.
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Down Regulation

Down Regulation

Wrap up your animal flow with "down regulation" by revisiting the crab reaches. "This releases stress on the wrist and shoulders while also opening up the hips," Dale says. (P.S. Here's why you should *never* skip a post-workout cooldown.)

  • 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. Do 8 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
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