The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Caveman Fitness Training
by Matt Hodges
05 May 2015
Workout fads are ten a penny, but there’s one technique that has literally been popular for more than 20,000 years: caveman fitness training.
Before kettlebells, TRX straps and FitBits, the average man had to rely on his natural surroundings in order to stay fit and healthy – that meant foraging for food, hunting wild animals for meat and keeping predators away from his family. Over the course of thousands of years, our bodies adapted to this way of life, allowing us to become strong enough and fast enough to rise to the top of the food chain, and this sort of evolutionary conditioning doesn’t just disappear. So maybe it’s time to revisit the good old days of woolly mammoths and sabre tooth tigers, and start training like a caveman once again.
Caveman training is all about getting back to basics. That means high intensity interval training, regular activity and eating fresh and natural produce with little or no additives such as salt. Your body is already attuned to the caveman training regime; you just have to remind it what it’s capable of! Follow these easy fitness tips from The MPH Method to fast track your way to a caveman physique.
Running is the most natural activity in the world, and sprinting is particularly good at developing strong leg muscles as well as getting the heart rate up! Run as fast as you can over a short distance, then rest. This will jump start your metabolism and help speed up fat loss, as well as improving definition in your thighs. Channel your inner caveman by imagining that you are running away from a predator – slacken your pace and you’re dead.
Keep your sprinting natural by varying the distance you run, the gradient of the ground, the length of your rests and the number of repeats you perform. This will keep your adrenaline up and prevent your muscles from getting used to a particular routine.
For an extra workout, try load-carrying sprints, running up hill or running up and down stairs. Repeat your sprinting exercises two or three times per week.
Once you’ve killed that buffalo, you’re going to have to bring it back to the cave. Have you ever tried lifting a 200kg animal with your bare hands? It’s not easy, but when your family’s survival is at stake, you will make sure you bring that meat home. Replicate these actions by practicing squats, dead-lifts, pull-ups and any lifting that can be performed from a standing position. Use free weights if possible and focus on lifting moderate to heavy weights so that you build strength. Repeat two or three times a week.
Paleo man could easily walk up to 16 miles each day in his search for food and water. If you have a job, a family, or any semblance of a social life, it’s going to be tough to match your inner caveman mile for mile. However, it is not difficult to incorporate a bit more walking into your day to day life. Aim for 2 miles per day, or around 30 minutes of brisk walking. Walk with purpose and allow your arms to swing by your side in a natural manner.
Evidence suggests that Paleo man played a number of rudimentary sports. Playing the occasional physically demanding sport will help to keep your mind sharp and hone your coordination and skill levels. There is no need to be overly competitive – a weekly informal game of five a side football or a pickup game of basketball will do the job nicely!
Combine this exercise advice with a diet generally low in sugar, grains and refined food but rich in fruit, meat, fish, vegetables and nuts and you will have a great prescription for long term health and fitness. In a Palaeolithic nutshell, replicating the diet and lifestyle of our Stone Age ancestors could be the key to regaining our genetic birthright; health, fitness, longevity and wellbeing.