8 Functional Total Body Movements of Elev8d Fitness
Elev8d workouts are designed to take your body through all of the natural, organic movements that as a complex and interconnected machine, it is meant to do.
“There are eight core movements, each a piece in the pie of how your body moves and how you should be conditioning it,” says Brian Bradley, fitness director of Elev8d.
We all know that we don’t move enough, but we also don’t move in enough ways. “We’ve lost the full functionality of our bodies in our sedentary lifestyles,” Bradley says. And don’t exclude yourself from that category so quickly. “Even when someone goes to the gym for an hour a day, they’re still living a sedentary life the other 23 hours,” he adds.
In fact, your focus should actually be on those 23 hours. “It’s after you leave a workout when the critical work gets done. Your heel hits the ground as you walk to work, your pelvis tilts as you sit in a chair. If your body isn’t set into alignment at the start of the day, the proper muscles and joints haven’t been woken up and told to engage, and that’s where dysfunction takes over,” Bradley explains.
That call to action is exactly what every Elev8d workout does. “Dysfunction has taken over our daily lifestyle. Elev8d Fitness is the interruption,” Bradley adds.
Every workout in our program, whether it’s 8 or 16 minutes long, incorporates all of the eight core movements in one way or another—hence the name ‘Elev8d’. And every move is sequenced to build upon the next—moving rotationally primes your body to be prepared to move under, and so on.
Even for a fitness junkie, it’s worth noting that trying to move a dysfunctional body can not only prevent you from getting everything out of your workout—more range of motion lets you push harder and faster—but it also increases your risk of injury. In other words, the eight movements Elev8d workouts are based on set a sitting, walking, running, cycling body up for optimal functioning—and, therefore, for optimal living.
The 8 Movements
Moving in these eight directions four times a week does two things, Bradley explains: It creates balanced activation which you won’t realize you need until you slip slightly on wet floor or an icy sidewalk; that is, it develops muscle memory so when you do need to move under, over, or around something in a split-second reaction, your body can respond to keep you safe. Perhaps more importantly, it wakes up your hips, which are the power source for everything and the key to delivering maximal functionality and minimizing injury.
Under: Training your body to squat from the hips instead of from the back will not only prevent low back injuries—one of the most common afflictions in Americans—but it’ll also help when you have to duck under the kitchen table to grab dropped keys or under your desk at work to reach a plug. A great example of this are the Elev8d Front Unders.
Over: Moving over something is one of the most functional movements of the human body, but it’s a motion we rarely move through in the 21st century (unless you regularly have to hop a fence to outrun a feisty dog). While most of the other movements here focus on activating your hips, using your arms to propel you over something loads the upper body and activates not just your shoulders and back but also your balance.
Around: Someone stops suddenly in front of you and you have to sidestep them, your dog cuts you off on your morning walk and you have to quickly move around him to avoid tripping—going around things is one functionality many of us do still use. But most people favor one side, causing muscle imbalance, Bradley points out. Exercises like Elev8d Circle Steps and Elev8d Figure 8s require bilateral change in direction and, as a workout primer, activate both sides of your body so your right glute or right pec won’t dominate the other during your subsequent workout.
Sideways: We need move sideways all the time, but most of us try and circumvent the actual movement—when you get out of a car, you probably turn your whole body perpendicular to step up or use the grab handle to hoist yourself out with your upper body rather than your obliques and adductors. Moving sideways is a functional movement, though, and we have to remind our body how to move that direction—which is why we endure things like Elev8d Bear Crawls Sideways.
Rotation: We use backup cameras instead of turning around, swivel chairs instead of reaching behind to pass something around to the next cubicle. Your spine was meant to rotate but if you never do it, the first time you turn to pick up your baby or try too-heavy medicine ball rotations, you’ll blow out your back, Bradley points out. Every Elev8d exercise has either a rotational movement or an stabilization component to it, because teaching your body to both turn and also lock down and not twist are equally crucial.
Flexion: You sit in slight flexion all day, but unless that’s driven out of your hips, you’re asking for trouble. Moves like Mountain Climbers, and Polar Opposites promote hip extension to help you sit on a couch without discomfort, on a spin bike without death-gripping the handlebars, and even help you put on your socks with less effort.
Extension: Bending backwards is the functional counteraction to flexion and is a direction our bodies rarely move. Starting the day with things like Elev8d Crab Walks and Elev8d Full Cobra will help you have an easier time lifting up and shutting the trunk, putting your bag in the overhead compartment on an airplane, or washing your back in the shower.
Push/Pull: Even though you probably assume the power of pushing and pulling come from your upper body, it’s actually all hip driven. That’s why it’s crucial to anchor your feet during a bench press or when trying to open a really heavy door. Elev8d’s push and pull moves—hanging bicep curls, roller coasters—teach you to use your upper body less and drive out your hips for a more grounded (and powerful!) strength.