The Primal Essential Movements (PEM) are a series of exercises designed to maximize your time, generate functional fitness, optimize gene expression, balance your hormones, and sensitize your body to insulin. This sequence of exercises should be performed in 2-3 sets till you are exhausted. Do not exercise to failure, you want to stop an exercise once you begin to lose form. The goal is to get stronger, not injured. Primal essential movements are also a great way to relieve stress.
After doing a set, it is best to wait 3-4 minutes before the next set, this will maximize muscle and strength gains. You will also be fully recovered when going into your next set of exercises. I prefer to not start a second PEM set completely exhausted, wheezing, and coughing. Feel free to do the following exercises in whatever order work best for you.
Holding a plank position for 1-2 minutes is great way to work your entire core and back. It is also a great exercise for toning your biceps, neck, shoulder muscles, and glutes. I would do 1-2 minutes of planks over 100 sit-ups any day of the week. Sit-ups can often strain the neck and contribute to pore posture, planks literally do the opposite.
Pull-ups are THE measure of functional fitness and a great indicator of your strength to weight ratio. If you were caveman and could pull up your own body weight, this meant you culdn’t escape predators by climbing rocks, trees or mountains. What I love about being a able to do pull-ups is that I can play with my kids. I can follow my children up trees and go on adventures with them. Also, it allows me to save my child if they get stuck somewhere and require me to climb up and save them.
Pull-ups work a variety of muscles including muscles required for maintaining proper posture on your back and core. It gives you a better overall looking physique by improving the V-shape in your body. My favorite pull-up benefit is the stretch and release of tension in my spine. Just hanging is a great way to keep your back in alignment and minimize your number of visits to the chiropractor.
Push-ups are a fantastic exercise to strengthen your chest muscles, shoulder muscles, triceps, rectus abdominus(6-PACK!), obliques, the muscles close to the spine. Push-ups are also a great way to improve overall strength and improve explosive power. There is a good reason why you always see military cadets doing push-ups in movies (and you know, real life!), it builds muscles required for carrying heavy equipment and withstanding the recoil from their rifles and side arms.
Maybe you can’t do a full push-up right now. Don’t worry, there are multiple progressions for push-ups.
Squats with or without weight are a great way to work your entire lower body. This exercise also supports your ability sit down and get up efficiently and safely. This isn’t something you need to worry about as young person but as you age, being able to safely get out of a chair or stand up from the ground is essential. Squats don’t only build major muscles, they also build stabilizer muscles necessary for supporting your balance. Squats also build explosive power and will improve your ability to spring away from predators or maybe an attacker of some kind.
Squats also help to support proper hormone balance and sensitize your body to insulin. The muscles worked while performing squats utilize a substantial amount of metabolic energy and can support the generation of mitochondria, our energy powerhouses.
It’s also important to sprint once a week. There’s something about going all out for short periods of time that no isolated exercise can replicate. Sprints build explosive power and work every muscle from your feet up to your neck. Sprints also improve your balance, super charge your metabolism, and optimize your hormone balance. There is no exercise that has more overall benefits than sprinting.
The good news about sprinting is that you can maximize the benefits from this exercise by doing 3-4 all out burst for 30 seconds, between sprints just walk and chill out until you feel that you’ve recovered your breath.