Functional Movement VS Practical Movement: Workout Case Study

(Published in the MovNat Journal - August 26, 2021)

What’s the difference between functional movement and practical movement? Simply put, practical movement has a direct and clear purpose that is relevant and/or useful to life. Functional movement can be great, for sure (e.g. specific conditioning benefits, training unconventionally, etc.), but the practical purpose isn’t always clear.

MovNat’s Performance Director, Danny Clark, wrote a great article about the differences between Functional Movement & Natural Movement, which goes into a lot more depth on this subject.

But for today, let’s take a look at some of the practical implications of a specific MovNat Workout so you can see the connection.


Repeat the following Combo 3-5x with minimal rest…

  • Single Arm Split Deadlift – 3 Reps

  • Single Hand Carry – 30 Paces

  • Side Swing Throw – 6 Reps

  • Push Pull Crawl (under low object) – 15 Paces

  • Forward Jump (over hip height obstacle) – 3 Reps

  • Side Hang Front Foot Lift (aka Feet to Bar) – 6 Reps

  • Pull Up Jump Up & Down – 3 Reps

The practicality of these movements are clear:

  • To lift and carry an object with one hand (e.g. think tools)

  • To throw or pass an object to the side (e.g. think sandbags/flood)

  • To get underneath or through a low/narrow object (e.g. think cave or basement crawlspace) or remain undetected (e.g. hunting or warfare)

  • To get over a fairly high object with speed (e.g. think unstable fence or a downed tree)

  • To initiate an efficient climbing movement (e.g. next step: hooking a leg)

  • To climb up/down a horizontal object with speed (e.g. think parallel tree branches or bars)

Functional movement certainly has value. But as you can see, Natural Movement – like this workout above – is more relevant and practical for everyday life., Actually, every single natural movement has a practical purpose, which means that every time you train MovNat, you are literally practicing movement skills that have used more or less since humans have been walking the Earth. So, if you’re not sure if your workouts are practical, there’s a good chance they’re not; and you could be getting even more benefits out of your training by training the specific skills and conditioning attributes we actually use and need in the real world.

So, if you want to make the most of your training by integrating concepts like practicality and adaptability into a holistic Natural Movement practice, find a MovNat event near you.

Want more? Check out MovNat Online Coaching for high touch, personalized Natural Movement coaching, and rapid feedback. You can even request me as your coach, just add my name to the notes: