the sixth fundamental movement

The Sixth Fundamental Movement – Groundwork Or Everything Else?

The sixth movement is not about “one” movement.

Dan John recites the fundamental movements as follows: Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, Loaded Carries and everything else.

In his book “Intervention” he describes the sixth movement as groundwork. Thus, as fundamentals or foundation.

Meant are therewith things that we did when we learned to walk in early childhood development.

If you know the work “Original Strength” of Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert, you will know what comes next.

You can „reset“ your body back to zero with these exercises. Tim Anderson talks about “the press reset button”.

Should you find some weak points when testing your flexibility or stability, you have the perfekt tool in your box with the basic exercises from the sixth fundamental movement.


You delete all the practiced, onesided movement patterns through the lack of movement of your everyday life with these exercises and movements.

The basic pattern of the sixth movement is rolling.

Everything is built upon this, which is especially interesting for sport athletes and competitive athletes. Coach Stevo, a former member in the Coyote Point Kettlebell Club (training community founded by Dan John), explained many essentials of this particular field as well as the appearance of progressions on his old blog.

He describes the sixth movement as throwing (the ballistic application of the rotational force). Rolling is the base.

Here are the further progressions:

• Upper body rolling (with arms)

• Lower body rolling (with legs)

• Get Up Plank (change from planks on elbows to planks on hands)

• All positions of the Turkish Get Up (starting from the first, up to the complete TGU)

Besides the rolling, the other two elements of the sixth movement are rotation and throwing.

Among them are many exercises, in which we war rotating with the body on the one hand. On the other hand, we need to withstand rotational forces. When weights are just held or moved on one side and the body needs to be stabilized against the rotation.

Exercises as Chop and Lift with resistance band or cable machine are well known exercises where a slow and controlled rotation is performed. Exercises with medicine balls and ballistic exercises with Kettlebells are performed more explosively in contrast.

Here are a few exercises regarding anti-rotation:

• One-arm bench press

• One-arm push up

• One-arm rows

• Renegade Row

• One-arm press

• Kettlebell Front Squat with one Kettlebell

• Chop and Lift

Here a few exercises regarding throwing:

• Throws above the head (medicine ball or the like)

• Throws to the side (medicine ball or the like)

• One-arm Kettlebell Swing

• One-arm Kettlebell Snatch

• Dumbbell Snatch

As you can see, there are many exercises included which belong to the fundamental movements. If you are choosing smart, you can kill two birds with one stone and your workout gets even more efficient. And as well a bit simpler.

What is most fascinating for me is that the athletic exercises have the simple rolling on the ground as foundation. From my point of view, with the exception of assistance exercises it does not make any sense to waste a lot of workout time with isolation exercises on machines, if you are training for an athletic sport. Instead you should train and move your body as mother nature has arranged. With primarily fundamental human movements.

I have a little task for you:

#1 Lie on the ground and try to roll over from your back to your belly and back again. The whole thing just with the support of your arms and core muscels. Image that the muscles below your hips are not there for the moment. Three times each direction.

#2 If this works well, try without your arms and only with the support of your legs. Again, three times in each direction. It is normal that the rolling is exhausting and that you eventually fail in the attempt of rolling over from your back to your belly. On the one hand, you need to work with your body as a whole, on the other hand, many muscles are included and it is a totally different movement pattern which needs to be trained.

Little tip: It helps me when I image to grap something or touch something. Watch the video of Tim Anderson and you know what I mean.

Now that you’re so beautifully warmed up, you can immediately perform a small workout with the other fundamental movements.

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