Primal Fitness aims to develop general physical preparedness (GPP). Much like CrossFit it does this by incorporating functional movements executed at high intensity, and doing this with a lot of variety. But unlike CrossFit, Primal Fitness emphasises outdoor experience, natural movement, and minimal use of specialist or expensive equipment. The principles of Primal Fitness make peak performance accessible to all.

Primal Fitness involves lifting, carrying, crawling, heaving, hauling, pushing, pulling, throwing, running, rowing, paddling, swimming, jumping, and climbing. All of the the natural locomotive, manipulative and transportive activities that humans have been doing for thousands of years.

Many of us are lucky enough to have access to dedicated training facilities, and sophisticated gym equipment. But many people on the planet are not quite so fortunate. The primal fitness concept aims to make general physical preparedness (GPP) accessible for all human beings regardless of geographical location, level of wealth or access to resources. The idea is to use whatever you have available, wherever you are in the world. Bags filled with sand, and containers filled with water are cheap and widely available and can be used in almost unlimited ways to provide a variety of physical stimulus. So too can old tyres, rocks, ropes, logs, and concrete blocks. The possibilities are endless and limited only by imagination.

Of course those of us who are fortunate enough to have access to a dedicated gym or a CrossFit affiliate with equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, and rowing machines have no need to make our own equipment, but we too can also benefit from occasional or regular participation in Primal training sessions. Handling odd objects makes us more versatile athletes and provides fresh challenge. But aside from bringing increased variety to any training regime, Primal Fitness encourages experimentation, creativity and ‘Play’, and it’s fun! And when our training regime is fun we are more likely to be able to stick with it.

Primal Fitness can certainly be practiced alone but as with most things in life, it is better with friends. We encourage team workouts and gamification. We also strongly advise anyone who is considering taking part in Tribal Clash or Tribal X events to start experimenting with Primal Fitness ideas with their team. Many successful Tribal Clash teams get together once a week, often on a Sunday and wherever possible outdoors, to train Primal style. Most cite it as their favourite training session of their week and something they look forward to all week long.

Machines such as Concept2 rowing machines, treadmills, GHD machines, assault air bikes, or ski ergs – now a standard requirement for functional fitness gyms – may arguably mimic primal movements and may of course be incorporated in primal fitness training but where possible it is always better to get outside and take part in the actual source activity. Getting outside and connecting with nature has numerous benefits beyond the physical. Primal Fitness workouts can be done anywhere but are best when staged in a natural setting such as beach, park or woodland.


Primal Fitness racing involves all the ingredients of Primal Fitness Training but in a competition setting. Tribal Clash is the best example of this. Teams of athletes compete against each other and the clock to complete various physical challenges. Equipment is kept rough, ready and rudimentary: think sandbags, tyres, stones and logs, instead of treadmills and double unders. The athletes experience the thrill of a CrossFit-style functional fitness competition, but outdoors in nature, minus the machines and barbells. Primal fitness racing allows you to test your fitness in a different setting, and with tasks and equipment that you probably don’t regularly incorporate into your weekly training sessions. This means that Primal fitness racing truly lives up to the often-touted claim about ‘preparing for the unknown’. Because, let’s face it – what is unknown about yet another 21-15-9 with box jumps, power cleans and toes to bar? However, how do you cope if you have to complete a 600m open water swim, followed by a 5km trail run, and how about if it is pouring with rain?

We advocate getting sandy, muddy and wet in the pursuit of your fitness. Not only does it make training more creative and fun, your overall happiness and quality of life will improve too!