Animal Flows for More Trail Flow…

One of the things we use a lot in BJJ training are animal inspired bodyweight exercises. From the Shrimp to the Alligator (and its more sinister cousin the Rotagilla, which is a backwards Alligator), the act of moving my bodyweight through different crawls has proven to be more of a challenge than I thought it would.

I mean, since I do a lot of bodyweight training in my training programs I figured that moving around on the floor couldn’t be too hard. However, I quickly found that “static” bodyweight exercises where you stay in one place are much different than ones where you actually move around.

Anytime I come across something that seems harder than it should be I figure I’ve exposed a weakness that needs to be addressed. This led me to start using more animal crawls in my warm ups and on my “light” workout days. It also led me to start looking for more info on new animal crawls and how to incorporate them into my workouts.

After looking around a bit I found out that the technical term for animal crawls are Animal Flows and that there are a lot of cool ones to choose from. So, that leads me to my workout this morning. One of the resources I came across was the Global Bodyweight Training website and the Animal Flow Workouts. I bought yesterday it and started to use what I learned from it right away.

In it you learn 3 basic Animal Forms – the Ape, Beast and Crab – plus 3 transitions. All of the Animal Forms can be done forward, backwards and sideways for different challenges and the transitions are not only great ways to move from one form to the next but they are also killer exercises themselves.

For example, the Front Kickthrough not only looks really cool but it makes a great addition to a cardio circuit. This morning I was alternating 20 KB Swings (you can do 10 Squat Jumps if you don’t have a KB) with 10 Front Kickthroughs, resting just long enough to catch my breath between sets. Do that for 5 rounds and your heart will be pounding, guaranteed!

Here is a video from the Animal Flow Workouts videos going over how to do a Traveling and Static Frog so you can try this workout for yourself. Start with the easiest version, especially if you have any issues with your shoulders.

I’m really digging the this new element in my program. They are fun to do and they really challenge me in new ways. Plus, they seem to be doing my shoulders a lot of good – something from having to stabilize my shoulders as I use my arms to “walk” on.

I’ve already got some great ideas on how to incorporate these new Animal Flows into the No Gym, No Problem Bodyweight Workout Program and I’m sure you’ll find them a valuable addition to your program as well.

-James Wilson-

No Gym, No Problem. — Bodyweight Program

No Gym, No Problem. — Bodyweight ProgramWho says you need equipment to get a great workout in? With this workout program you have no more excuses to not train- the world is your gym. Designed around the principle of Exercise Progressions this workout program allows you to create the perfect workout for your current fitness level. Perfect for starting your strength training journey or adding a new challenge to your current workout, this workout belongs in every rider’s toolbox.
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  1. Jon Laterveer says:


    When I first saw your email today I thought “ok, this is getting a bit much, what direction is this MTB training going”. I then looked into the videos and I must say I think your on to something here! It’s looks like movement, strength, coordination and conditioning plus more all in one. I am really impressed, it’s looks like fun, simple, primal movement we all need to do. I am looking forward to seeing you refine some stuff with only the best basic ways to improve on the bike. Like you say “more is not better, better is better”.

    Reply • May 22 at 6:30 pm
  2. Jon Laterveer says:

    Sorry need to add my original thought was derived from my “thinking errors”. Keep up the great work James 🙂

    Reply • May 22 at 6:59 pm
  3. Jon Laterveer says:

    Can you demo the Ape, Beast and Crab? I think on light days after foam rolling trying the basic Animal Flows in a routine will do wonders for joints and mobility. I think I tried the Ape tonight going forward and side to side, it felt good like a child at play.

    Reply • May 22 at 8:56 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      I’ll try to get some demo videos shot of what I am doing with the Animal Flows and other bodyweight/ KB exercises. They are pretty fun and do feel more like playing than training once you learn them.

      Reply • May 24 at 11:11 am
  4. Mike says:

    Hi James,
    I can see strong similarities to capoeira, which I’ve been doing for quite some time. It’s super fun an always a good workout.
    Check out

    Reply • May 22 at 11:49 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Yeah, it looks pretty similar in the flow aspects.

      Reply • May 24 at 11:10 am
  5. Italianhead says:

    Hell, this is a great! I was just doing an exercise in which starting from a crawl position you move your legs on the side, left and right, twisting your hips (I do not know the name of the exercise). I thought it related to MTB so much!

    Reply • May 23 at 12:41 am
    • Italianhead says:

      I mean moving one leg at the time one side and then the other on the opposite side; James, do you know the neame of the exercise?

      Reply • May 23 at 12:57 am
      • bikejames bikejames says:

        I’m not sure, maybe the Mountain Climber?

        Reply • May 24 at 11:09 am
  6. Mike says:

    Cool stuff James. Thanks for sharing it. About the animal crawl I can do at the moment is the “Wounded Wildebeest Lumbering off to Die”. I like the “kick through/kettlebell swing idea of yours. Any ideas for doing it in a limited space?

    Reply • May 23 at 7:13 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Honestly my advice there is to get outside. I get out in my yard and it makes it even more fun. You can drag a 16 kg KB anywhere and make up some cool workouts. Other than that you can go in slow motion to maximize the space you do have.

      Reply • May 24 at 11:08 am
  7. Daniel says:

    Hi James,I think this one is going to improve my riding. Im gonna do it! Thanks for sharing your expertise & enthusiasm .

    Reply • October 21 at 6:37 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      No problem, hope you like them as much as I do!

      Reply • October 22 at 4:34 pm
  8. David says:

    Yowzza.. these are gonna amp things up a bit with crawls.. excellent. It would be interesting to see some variations of the Ape walks > ?

    Reply • March 1 at 2:01 pm

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