Does Movement Training Build Muscle?

August 29, 2022 by VAHVA Fitness

Does movement training build muscle? Learn the areas that get very well developed with movement training and Animal Movement Strength Training.

The body doesn't really care where the resistance comes from whether it's from your bodyweight or external weights. As long as there is enough resistance for long enough time (time under tension), it will create growth in the muscles.

You would be surprised how well movement training builds muscle, it just does it a lot differently than conventional training. Movement training in general emphasises certain areas more than let’s say weight training.

When you move the body, it’s a holistic form of exercise where you typically move the body in one unit. You are not isolating any area with laser focus although many parts can be emphasised.

Animal Movement Strength Training is a phenomenal way to develop most parts of the body. It’s not perfect which is why supplementary training is recommended but it’s unbeatable in many aspects.

For example... the lizard crawl will develop your triceps, shoulders, chest, hips and core musculature incredibly well.

The bear walk will train your shoulders and core, and it will stretch the posterior chain while building your hip flexors.

The crab walk will develop your triceps (the long head), shoulders and core. For wrist strength, animal movements are some of the best exercises you can do.


When it comes to the leg development, I seriously consider animal movements some of the best work you can do for your legs and hips. See the video above for some ideas.

Nowadays, I have reduced the amount of conventional lifts I do for the legs (apart from conditioning workouts according to Warrior 20XX Method) and I focus mostly on animal movements to develop the legs.

Bunny hops, big foot walk and duck walks will develop the legs more dynamically and make them more athletic than conventional squats or deadlifts ever will. Not kidding. We know everyone is obsessed with back squats and deadlifts but they are not the best ways to develop the lower body.

Another area movement training will target is the core and it's amazing at this. You will not just develop the abs in the front but your lower back, internal/external obliques and everything else also get well developed.

Athletes and fighters generally have the best core development and the most functional/athletic ability. They develop the body mostly through their "movement" practice.

To learn more about Animal Movement Strength Training, see the article: The 7 Benefits of Animal Movement Strength Training. 

How to develop the back muscles with movement training?

Very few understand this but your back muscles work very hard with many animal movements even when you are only crawling on the floor.

This is because the back muscles work hard to stabilise your scapula (shoulder girdle). In animal movements your scapula is constantly worked through 3D motions and your back muscles will get developed as a result.

However, we still recommend adding pulling exercises such as rows and pull ups as we do in Movement 20XX Method to make sure no area in your body gets undeveloped.

Think about it: in many ancient practices such as yoga or qigong they never did any pulls up or rows but they still develop the bodies in a very healthy and balanced fashion.

Even many ballet dancers have well developed back muscles and they don’t even touch the floor or weights. The bodyweight arm movements done properly will develop the rear deltoids and back muscles alone - as long as you do them with control and focus.

In conclusion, movement training will produce a well-rounded and functional physique with a very well developed upper body, legs and core.

Where the limitations of Movement training start to come, that’s where Athlete 20XX Method and Warrior 20XX Method only begin.

Although movement training has great benefits, there's unfortunately not one ultimate way to develop the body. Rather, you need to do several things to maximise your development.

Movement 20XX Method, Warrior 20XX Method and Athlete 20XX Method are the trinity when it comes to developing the body without leaving any stone unturned.

You don’t have to work on every program at once, rather it’s good to focus on 1-2 programs at the time for 6 to 12 months, or longer. Even if you just pick one program, you will get a massive amount of benefits for years to come. 

For the first time ever we are also providing a 3-month plan for The Trinity 20XX Bundle. 
Click here to browse the methods.

Stay strong.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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