MovNat level I- a certification review



Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the MovNat level I certification course in Monrovia, CA.  Kellen Milad and Jeff Kuhland were our coaches and people came from all over the western US to participate in either the certification or the Power & Agility workshop.  While there have been reviews written about the workshop, my goal is to offer a trainer's perspective of the certification portion of the weekend.

I wasn't sure what to expect.  I registered for it because my husband and I did the 4 weeks of MovNat workouts on Breaking Muscle and he wanted to do the workshop, so I figured if I was going to go to the workshop, I might as well get certified (I am a fitness professional, after all).  I had watched the crazy video of Erwan LeCorre moving in this incredibly fluid fashion years ago, after I read the first Outside Magazine article discussing Erwan and his fitness philosophy and was intrigued, to say the least.  I followed the evolution of the company over the years, and this opportunity seemed like a good time to take my curiosity to the next step.

My fellow certification attendees came from extremely varied backgrounds.  One was a successful personal training studio owner with a background in training fitness models.  Another was an acupuncturist with a background in Crossfit and Chinese medicine.  There was a rock climber, a recent college graduate with a genuine interest in bringing outside movement to people in Boulder, and a former chef making a career change.  There were also two people going through the certification simply to help their family and friends.  I work primarily one on one with people and my clientele is generally baby boomers with injuries or endurance athletes, so it was interesting to be in an environment with other fitness professionals that weren't necessarily so corrective exercise based.  Kellen and Jeff did an extremely good job dealing with the varied level of coaching experience and provided a very safe environment for us to learn and help each other.

The workshop portion of the event was physically challenging.  Because MovNat covers so many elements of fitness (strength, power, agility, endurance), it is almost impossible to excel in all areas, although there were a couple of attendees that came close (note to self.  Climbing rocks and trail running seems to improve overall fitness.  The trail running I already do.  The climbing rocks I started this week).  I received the best jump coaching I have ever received and can finally land somewhat quietly, although the height I can jump leaves something to be desired.  Swinging from bars is fun.  So is learning how to climb trees, which has become a small area of fixation (performing a handstand in the middle of the room is a slightly larger area of fixation.  Both should be accomplished by the end of the summer).  The lifting and throwing techniques were taught well, and the different crawls and rolls were fun to execute- however, I felt maybe a little more attention could have been given to bad crawling technique.  Maybe it's just my clientele, but it is not unusual for me to put a new client in a quadraped position and see scapular winging and an increase in spinal lordosis, which would have to be addressed before adding locomotion.  The highlight of the workshop came on Sunday, when we created our own combos in small groups and played outside for 3 hours.  Both activities cultivated a team environment and allowed us to put the skills learned over the weekend to use.

The certification portion of the weekend meant we started an hour earlier and ended an hour later than the workshop participants.  During that time, we discussed coaching and programming, were assessed on our proficiency in the movements, took a written exam, and were asked to design a small group program for participants of varying levels.  I was grateful I had been practicing some of the movements since early January (things like tuck swings can tear apart your hands if you don't have blisters), and I didn't find any one aspect overly challenging.  I actually enjoyed the practical portions of the certification- I have a number of certifications and with the exception of ACSM over a decade ago, I have never been asked to actually teach a movement and prove I have any level of coaching competency.  Jeff and Kellen gave excellent feedback, and they did a nice job with the diversity of professionals in attendance.

While I don't know if I will go on and get my level II and III certification, I definitely enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to anyone looking to have a more diverse movement background.  One of the things I really like about philosophies such as MovNat is they are fun; you get to lift some things, throw some things, maybe dynamically balance and swing from things, in a much less regimented way than most training.  If you work with the general population, performing these types of movements well are more functional than most open chained activities.  Overall, a very positive experience.

Yours in health and wellness,
Jenn