Develop Real-World Strength Through Natural Human Movement

human flag calisthenics

Posted On November 11, 2020

Have you ever wondered why, we as a society seem to be getting less and less adept, capable and fit?

If you are reading this, I’m guessing you have and in noticing this trend, have decided to remove yourself from it by engaging in training and the development of physical capability.
Back in the early 1900s, a man called Georges Herbert also noticed the same trend. When stationed on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean as a French Naval Officer he coordinated the escape of around seven hundred people from a catastrophic volcanic eruption.

This event reinforced in him the understanding of the importance of real-world physical capability. His motto was ‘Be strong to be useful’, meaning that physical fitness should not be simply a self-serving activity but rather a community focused necessity.

He also talked about how physical fitness and capability should be our ‘civic duty’.

This best sums up how we need to start looking at training and fitness. For so many it is a selfish act, it is not tied in with the greater needs of those around us. But, if we can shift our perspective more towards seeing it as a communal activity, that is in many ways our obligation to undertake, then we will be more focused on developing strength that is actually useful and functional.

Many people possess strength, but strength for what? Strength for real-world situations is built in the real-world. It’s not built in a gym, though it can be honed there, and it will never be applied there should we need to call on it.

What Does Natural Or Useful Strength And Movement Look Like?

Georges Herbert, in his book and method – Methode Naturelle – wrote out the main categories of movement. It should also be noted that two major fitness systems came from and have been inspired by the work of Georges Herbert. Most notably Parkour and MovNat (Natural Movement).

Types Of Natural Movements

– Walking
– Running
– Crawling/ quadrupedal movement
– Climbing
– Jumping
– Balance
– Lifting and Carrying
– Throwing and Catching
– Defence (Fighting)
– Swimming

When we look at this list, we see clearly that failing to have adequate efficiency in any of these movement patterns could lead to us being at greater risk in situations that may call on us to display strength, capability and fitness.

This list is a great guide for those looking to be well-rounded and generalists in their movement and fitness. When we move our bodies the way they were intended to move, the benefit is not just useful strength and capability, there are also the benefits of greater health and vitality.

natural climbing

The Ultimate Goal Of Training Should Be Physical Freedom

When I look at movement and training, I see a practice that inevitably leads to physical freedom.

Another aspect of the Methode Naturelle approach to training was the mental aspect. Georges Herbert believed it was vital to also focus on training our minds. He believed there were different mental skills we needed to possess, most notably: courage, energy generation, willpower, coolness/ calmness and firmness.

When I look at these different mental abilities I also see the same trend of the use of training to create freedom – freedom from fear, fatigue, lack of control and lack of willpower. These are all major states of being that most people live in on a day to day basis and they suffer massively because of it, tackling the mental aspects of training and life, were, in Georges eyes, just as important, if not more so, as the physical aspects of training.

The freedom to be able to move without fear but with confidence and to feel secure in one’s ability to respond to life’s many challenges – both physical and mental – is one of the most life-changing benefits of training.

Physical capability is not just our civic duty, it is also our biological duty. When we honour our design through moving naturally and functionally we experience far greater health, vitality and freedom – both mentally and physically.

Our biology and physiology is set-up in a way whereby it expects and craves natural movement and when we deny ourselves this crucial piece of health, our health collapses. It is not dissimilar to denying food or water or shelter, without it, we suffer and eventually die from lack of use and nourishment.

Strength, capability and graceful movement also creates freedom in energy, health and vitality, all major areas that most people struggle with.

Physical Freedom Is A Combination Of Physical & Mental Capability 
tree climbing

Natural Movement & Capability Is A Societal Responsibility


George also outlined movement as a ethical behaviour and moral responsibility in Methode Naturelle. This ties training in with aspects such as collaboration, community and the integration of training into those two areas of life.

Throughout human history collective effort and physical work have been a massive part of life. In recent years we have moved more and more away from physical training and practice being appropriate in social situations. Integrating collaborative and cooperative or competitive elements in training is vital when creating a strong community and a strong body.

This community-centric approach to training also creates freedom – in the ability to work with, form relationships with, and understand others better.

We have forgotten the physical aspects and nature of life as a society – the necessity of living as a human should and expressing ourselves physically. We no longer have the constraints that ask us to be strong, capable and fit, so we now have to hold ourselves to that standard. 

The reality is, for the most part, physical skill is not necessary on a day to day basis, but when we understand the needs and expectations of our biology and physiology we see that it is necessary for our health and ability to experience life fully. We see that our health, wellbeing and ability to function with full energy and as a human should, hinges upon whether we train or express ourselves physically.

Movement is not separate from life, it is intimately tied to all other areas of life and when we neglect it, we are not able to live fully. Natural human movement is, in my eyes, one of the best ways to reclaim vitality, energy, capability, strength, fitness and inevitably freedom.

Written By Jake

Jake has been practicing and coaching Natural Movement for the last 6 years of his life. His aim is to help people reconnect with their true nature as human beings through movement, diet, community and lifestyle.
Jake is a level 2 MovNat Certified Trainer and has spent much time learning about human movement, nutrition and optimal lifestyle from various different angles.

He continues to learn, explore and find different ways to integrate those learnings into his personal practice and coaching.

You can find more of his work (blogs, podcasts, book and coaching) at and on Instagram – @move_wild.

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