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Ask Dave: What do you think of Zoo and Animal Movements?

“Hi Dave, quick question..zoo training or animal movement training or whatever it’s called! Are you a fan of it? I know you have a video of it up on your channel of it from a few years back. It’s the latest craze to hit commercial gyms although it has been doing the rounds for a number of years! Just want to know your opinion? Thanks Dave!”

Hello Mate,

I just recently heard about this thing called “Zoo” so had a wee look and am afraid to say I wasn’t terribly impressed.

Here’s why:

Animal type movement is great, I use a good deal of it in my place and follow the work of people like GMB, Ido Portal, Dewey Nielsen etc who all advocate this type of work. If you look at all the names mentioned, you’ll see a level of fluidity and control in their movement that is lacking in the Zoo method. This is because Zoo is taking these movements and using them solely for metabolic conditioning and going at them hell for leather. The idea seems to be that faster is better.

However, with animal and bodyweight flow type training, slower is actually better. Initial progress in these drills comes by first smoothing out the movement, this can only be done with conscious practice and a moderate to slow pace. True skill is demonstrated by moving very slowly but incredibly smoothly, this shows that there are no weak links in the chain which can be hidden by speed. With crawling patterns I will on occasion test people by having them freeze at particular points, I stand behind them and issue a loud bang as the freeze signal.


Only when the movement can be performed slow and smooth do we allow it to be accelerated or move to the next level of difficulty. Then we look to link the movements through whatever transitions. The transitions must be as controlled as the main movement.

We should adhere to the maxim, “Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast”


Zoo is (from the little I’ve seen so far) to animal movement what Kettleworx is to Kettlebell training. That unfortunately also means the truism that the lower quality something is the more money is thrown into marketing it and the more people actually end up doing it will probably hold true.


Dave Hedges

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