Integrating Movement Skills The Moral of the Story

  • Movement skill and conditioning can (and should) coexist for complete movement
  • Practice your skills and temper them with brief and intense conditioning work.
  • Integrate various movement aptitudes together with the intention of practical performance
  • Embrace the countless variations that occur in movement. There is no one way.


Skill and Conditioning. Coexisting. There are exercisers and there are movers. Admittedly, I am completely biased. I think most people should be move more and exercise less. After all, movement at the center of our waking lives, it is what we were designed to do. Exercise on the other hand mystifies most people. The default is to the spend a lot of time pushing the limits of cardiovascular endurance and/or intensity. Movers dedicate most of their time trying to perfect specific movement skills. Exercisers perform repetition after repetition until the clock runs out or the reps are done. At times, this involves a certain sick and twisted, "by any means necessary" mentality. To the movement connoisseur this may seem silly, denying the respect and awareness that each movement deserves. But to be a well-rounded mover requires skills that have been reinforced through conditioning work. If the goal is practical performance, we need to be sure to challenge our abilities under physical duress. Now I think many exercisers over-emphasize conditioning, yet I also see a lot of movers who neglect it all together. It’s a 2-way street: what good is your capacity if you ain’t got no skills? Conversely, what good are your skills if they go to shit once your heart rate is above 120bpm. There’s a balance to strike, conditioning is a must but needs to be approached with some intentionality. The two can coexist.

What's happening in this workout? This training clip of a movement combine - where skill and conditioning intersect. I take a very simple structure - in this case, jumping, crawling, & lifting - and then start to branch out into play.

Movement 1: Broad jumps and split jumps. Collect 6-10 clean landings. And by clean landings, I mean so soft they wouldn’t wake a sleeping baby.

Movement 2: Crawling serves as the transitional movement between stations. I focus on slow, controlled, and diverse crawling techniques. This becomes more about experiencing stability on unconventional bases of support under a growing amount of fatigue.

Movement 3: Awkward object manipulation; applying strength in a practical way. Getting up from the ground, clean & press overhead, deadlift and carry - whatever the action, I’ll keep the reps low and the quality as high as possible.

More crawling and then back to jumping. The cycle repeats. I’ll do a combo like this for a predetermined number of rounds or for a set time limit. Integrating power, grace, and strength into a harmonious series of movements…rather than isolated (or worse, random acts of fitness. The result is conditioning, greater mindfulness under duress, and an efficient way to blend movements so they amount to practical performance.