Cross yoga with hip hop dancing and you might just have Animal Flow, a popular new exercise program. More than 10,000 fitness professionals are currently teaching Animal Flow in 42 countries. Created by fitness educator Mike Fitch, Animal Flow is a ground-based movement. You can do it in a class environment, on your own or with a trainer. No matter your fitness level, Animal Flow aims to bolster one’s strength, power, flexibility, mobility and coordination. It teaches people to move efficiently and effectively and be more in touch with their bodies.
Why Animal Flow is gaining in popularity
Another benefit is that it allows you to focus more on natural movements and stretches that many of us have don’t do regularly. Why is that important? Modern society makes us physically stagnate. We sit glued to electronic devices, or are driving in cars for hours on end. Too much convenience means we’re getting food delivered to our doors vs. walking to the store to get it ourselves. It all ends in less dynamic movement and cardio. The best part about Animal Flow is that it is for everyone and can be done anywhere, any time. Let’s get to flowin.’
Simple yet effective at strength building
I first learned about Animal Flow through my friend Venus @venus2bfab on Instagram. I immediately became very interested because it looked fun. The movements looked somewhat challenging, but very doable. I learned more about the benefits and how effective it can be for your body, especially functionality.
As soon as I started playing around with Animal Flow, I found out how simple, yet effective it can be. Learning to move like animals can feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar, but over time, it will help you create more mobility, better range of motion, and overall better functionality in your body. This was especially important for someone like me, who has had three reconstructive knee surgeries from playing sports. I am now more interested in learning how to create a strong body, while preventing injuries and long term damage. As a trainer, I also try to incorporate these movements with my clients.
Get into the mindset
Let’s first talk about the mindset before we dive in. With anything new, it’s easy to decide how we feel about something before we even attempt it. What I mean is, try not to create assumptions about anything new. Everyone will look different doing Animal Flow. We all have different bodies, so there is no perfect way to move. The main thing to focus on is positive reinforcement. Gratitude for your body, the ability to move and its functions. Movement is an opportunity. Instead of chasing aesthetics, let’s chase health, longevity, and sustainable habits.
Warm up first
Before you get started, you will want to make sure you properly warm up, especially in the wrists and shoulders. You can find all kinds of wrist mobility online. My two favorite movements in Animal Flow are the ape reach, crab reach, and wave unload. These are all working different parts of the body. Every part of Animal Flow is about controlling the movements; yet moving freely. I always describe it as if an animal was training to be a ninja.
There are six main groups or “components of Animal Flow,” each aimed at bringing different results.
6 Components of Animal Flow
- Activations, of which two starting positions are called Beast (or Bear) and Crab positions. Think of a variation of downward dog yoga pose.
- Wrist Mobilizations
- Form-Specific Stretches (such as bridges).
- Traveling Forms (meant to mimic animal movements, like a puma about to crouched up, ready pounce on its prey.
- Switches & Transitions: four base S&T categories are Under-switch, Side Kick-through, Scorpion and Front Kick-through.
- Flows: Knit together sequences and movements to create a flow or continuous series of motion.
To understand how it works, I would recommend visiting their website www.animalflow.com There are a lot of videos on YouTube demonstrating how to move properly.
Be prepared to fall a few times
The main thing for you to focus on is your breathing, core engagement and to have fun with it. You will probably lose your balance and fall on your bottom a couple times. We’ve all been there. I would recommend starting to do these as poses in a static hold, before moving into transitions and everything else. This will help build more strength in your muscles. Resistance bands are also good to use to warm up the muscles.
I would also recommend doing some breath work prior, so you can consciously breathe through the nose throughout your workouts. A simple one to follow is cadence breathing. Inhaling for four seconds through the nose, exhaling for eight seconds through the nose, and repeat for about 10-20 breathes. I use this in my morning and evening routines.
Animal Flow is something you can do every day or once a week. I try to incorporate it in my workouts throughout the week. Pull up your laptop, iPad, or phone, and watch some videos on Animal Flow. Try not to get frustrated if it is challenging in the beginning. Think about how beneficial it is for your body. Try to take on one or two different movements each week and build on that. Before you know it, you will be moving smoothly through life.
–Blaine Strong, is a lifestyle entrepreneur with a passion to help people reach their fitness goals. He’s a fitness coach, model and influencer. His other SLB stories include Gained the Quarantine 15? Here’s How to lose it.
Find him on https://www.blainestrong.com/