Question of the Week: New to Primal Fitness?
Q: Simon Bailey - 40, UK
Just a quick question to ask how to go about starting in primal fitness. I am 40 years old always been into fitness/martial arts - recently started back fitness after a year but not doing much due to starting a family and studying.
I am back doing martial arts class, but I've also started training in the local woods trying out some of the primal training stuff. I find I'm getting injuries especially my knees which stops me continuing my training.
I would love to do natural movement type exercise as my main workout at least 3 times per week but would like some advice on how to start without getting the injuries.
A: The Fitness Explorer
This is more likely to be injuries based on over-use or over-training. Known as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) or Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD) - in simple terms this can manifest itself as irritation to a body part (such as the knee) during activity.
Primal workouts are very demanding, and it will stress connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons more so than other activities you may have done previously. These tissues have relatively limited blood supply so take longer to strengthen and repair.
I suggest Simon, as you have not trained for over a year, it is worthwhile laying down a solid foundation first. I would therefore look at some form of resistance training to support the other activities you do.
Your your focus should be on good form and quality during these sessions preparing you for natural movement workouts. Get as much variation in terms of range of motion and dimensions as possible, for example instead of a standard Press-up try the lizard variety as an alternative: Salamander Press-Up.
For the knee try multi-directional lunges, a favourite of mine is lunging around the clock, starting directly in front of you (midday) and work clockwise and anti-clockwise as far as you can in each direction as if working around a clock face.
Once you are comfortable with the above I would also suggest some form of strength conditioning too, doing compound lifts and movements such as deadlifts, squats, etc. No isolation body building exercises which would likely exacerbate injuries.
It is tempting to want to work on more complex moves but when you get the foundations right it will aid recovery and ensure you can train and be able to participate without unnecessary discomfort. Which should be your ultimate goal. At a similar age to you, I do sympathise.
If any of the problems persist it is important to get an accurate diagnosis so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the root cause. But hopefully I've given you a few pointers.