"Deep Ape to Crab to Full Scorpion; that's sounds crazy...how did you learn to do that?"
I often get asked “What is Animal Flow®?”; is it dancing, martial arts, bodyweight training.... is it yoga?
However, one thing I rarely get asked is what difference has Animal Flow® made to my life and the answer is so much more than I could have imagined.
The answers to these questions are quite different, however, there is one thing that links them together; Animal Flow® fundamentally changed my life.
What is Animal Flow®:
Animal Flow® is a form of movement and body-weight training. Essentially, you get a full body workout without any equipment that you can take anywhere - check out a video of me doing an Animal Flow workout on a balcony in Mexico. You use the weight of your body as a form of resistance and the change of position will change the intensity and increase the resistance on your body through gravity.
There is a clue in the name to indicate what sort of training it is:
There are six components that make up Animal Flow®; wrist mobilisations, activations, form specific stretches, traveling forms, switches, and flows.
Here is a video of us FFS Animal Flowers flowing through the 6 components.
To find out more on each of these components visit the Animal Flow® Official website.
These various components include a lot crawling around on your hands, pivoting on our hands and feet, planche-like and handstand-like movements, moving in and out of deep squats and hip bridges. All of these movements we did naturally as a child; we squatted, we rolled, we crawled, we twisted, we reached, we played. As we get older, we tend to lose these movements and revert to only walking upright and moving forward. Animal Flow® aims to get us back to those other movement patterns in a fun and unique way.
There is a tonne of science behind all of the movements and how they integrate together, from global muscular systems (NASM) and fascial lines (Myers, 2001) to closed chain movement patterns to neuromuscular proprioception. I won’t go into too much detail on this but if anyone is interested in finding out more about this aspect of it, then drop me an email.
If you want to give it a go yourself, I will be hosting a 2-hour introductory class for beginners on Saturday, the 30th of March at 1:30pm in FFS Yoga Studio, Lower Leeson Street.
Sign up via: http://bit.ly/AFBonanzaClass
How did I get into it:
Back in May 2017, I returned home from a few months traveling. I had been working in a large consulting firm for a few years before this and, although it was a great experience, I perhaps had enjoyed the social side of the industry a little too much and had let the stress wreak havoc on my sleep and eating habits.
Me just back from traveling May, 2017 | Me at the end of Feb, 2019
I started back training with FFS Gyms in July and one of the classes that they offered was a “Movement & Mobility” class. I have been plagued with various injuries, weakness, and niggles over the years, from tendonitis in my wrist and shoulder, tight and weak hip flexors, to knee pain, so I knew I would benefit from the class. The class was a mix of trigger point release, stretching and Animal Flow®. It was my first introduction to Animal Flow® and, deary me, was it humbling! It was very easy to see which were my weaker joints, that my glutes weren’t firing the way the should, that my ankles were tight and that my upper body strength was lacking.
Despite it being tough and challenging having nowhere to hide from my imbalances, I knew it was going to help me correct those imbalances and improve my weight-training. I also knew, that not only would it transfer over to my FFS training, it would also set me on the right track for being mobile, stable and strong in my later years. Around this time my Nana passed away - she was an incredible woman of great mental fortitude and wit, however, she had decided at a, now relatively, young age to neglect her physical health. She suffered from muscle atrophy, osteoporosis, and degenerative spinal issues and was immobile towards the end of her life. I recall thinking during this time that it was such a shame that her physical strength couldn’t support her mental strength and it gave me a fire to both improve my own mobility and spread the word to others on the importance of moving and staying mobile.
Cue FFS Gyms hosting a Level 1 Animal Flow® Instructor Workshop.
How Animal Flow® changed my life.
I put my name down and joined the workshop. Out of a room of approximately 10 people, I was one of two who did not work in the fitness industry in some capacity. Regardless, that weekend with Animal Flow® Master Instructor, Rich Schrivener, turned out to be a turning point in my life.
I signed up for the Instructors Workshop for two reasons:
1 - To learn more about this challenging but beneficial bodyweight training
2 - To get a qualification to instruct Animal Flow®
I was too nervous to tell anyone about the second reason, but it was something that I had always wanted to do. Ever since I was a teenager, I would look up yoga teaching courses, PT courses, pilates courses, the works; but would never take the step to do it.
Now, I was older, wiser and had a personal and emotional driving force behind wanting to do it that went beyond improving my squat (although that was definitely a contributing factor). Taking the Level 1 Workshop gave me the opportunity to see that secret goal through.
Around the time I made the decision to see the instructors qualification through, FFS Gyms launched the FFS Academy, an online, part-time Personal Training course. I finally admitted to a friend my ‘secret’ goal of working in health and fitness and being able to help people move, feel, and perform better. When speaking to her, something just clicked and I went for it; I signed up for the Academy, studied part-time and the rest is history.
I’m now working part-time with FFS as a Personal Trainer and Animal Flow® Coach. I have two Animal Flow® classes a week, one for beginners and one for intermediates, as well as holding longer weekend classes from time to time. I love what I do and get to fulfill that dream of not only improving my own movement but helping others realise that we don’t have to just accept limited mobility. As Eric Cullinane, FFS Physio, ‘movement is medicine’; moving daily is a gift and I want to help people cherish that gift for as long as they can.
Want to Find Out More?
If you want to give it a go yourself, I will be hosting a 2-hour introductory class for beginners on Saturday, the 30th of March at 1:30 pm in FFS Yoga Studio, Leeson Street.
Sign up via: http://bit.ly/AFBonanzaClass
Weekly classes are held on Tuesdays at 7:15pm and Thursday 7:45am in FFS Yoga Studio and classes/class packs can be purchased through the FFS Yoga page.
If you want to find out more about Animal Flow®, 1:1 Personal Training or Small Group Move & Flow Training, then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Author
Sinead is a certified Personal Trainer and Animal Flow Instructor in FFS Gym. She believes that everyone deserves to move and feel better in their day-to-day lives and she has a particular interest in functional movement and mobility training.
Email Sinead at email@example.com
Find Sinead on Instagram @sineadbrophy