The other week I spent time observing my toddler at play. I wanted to observe what natural movements were being performed, especially those that involved manipulating objects. Here is a list of what I came up with:
- Picking objects off the floor (deadlift motion)
- Bodyweight squats (lots of them)
- Lifting objects to shoulder/chest height
- Lifting objects overhead (not as frequently)
- Walking while carrying objects
- Climbing/pulling up
- Short, quick running
From this, it is easy to construct a lift of similar gym exercises:
- Bodyweight squats
- Upright Row
- Shoulder Press
- Farmer's Walk (hunter's walk)
- Pull-ups (or some type of climbing)
- Some type of fast locomotion – sprinting, intervals, etc.
I think this is a pretty good list of functional exercises. Any movements that were really important in human evolution should be evident in children's play. Children's natural play is really "practice" for hunting and gathering, and they should naturally be engaging in movements that would have helped them to be successful adult hunters and gatherers.
My gym workout for the past few months has been pretty similar to this already, but I will probably make the transition to include all these movements in the future. For example, I have always done chin-ups, not pull-ups. However, pull-ups are really much more of a functional movement.
Am I missing anything on my list??