Freestyle Connection Seminar Recap

This past weekend I had the opportunity to hang with a brilliant friend of ours, Carl Paoli. Logan, him, and I could probably talk for hours on the subject of human movement and interaction.
Up until this weekend I had not had the chance to take Carl’s Freestyle Connection Seminar. The stars aligned this past Saturday and I was able to be a student in Carl’s seminar. Not only did his teachings challenge a few of the opinions I had in regards to the human body, but it also fired me up in regards to BirthFIT.

In his seminar, Carl outlines four basic human movements that are essential to us as humans. The four movements are the handstand pushup, the pistol, the muscle up, and the burpee. As an outsider looking in, you may think, “What the heck?” However, when you breakdown the movements and discover their purpose, you realize just how important each movement is to life on an innate, primal level.

The handstand pushup is the gold standard of pushing. You are inverted and pushing your bodyweight against gravity. I particularly love inversions because of the benefit they have in regards to ‘flipping’ a breech baby. The pistol is the ultimate test at getting up from a position on the ground. As mother, you are going to have to juggle all sorts of things from kids, a purse, groceries, and more, so you better be able to get up from the ground holding a kid, kicking the door shut with the other foot, and putting out a fire. The muscle up is the standard for getting your body over an obstacle. Okay, fine. This skill may not be needed on a daily basic, but you had better have this in the event of a natural disaster. I’ve had to scale tall fences plenty of times during my life. The burpee, according to Carl, is the meaning of life. And, when you think about it or listen to him explain it, you realize that it absolutely is the real deal. The burpee is the quickest, most efficient way to get up from the ground.

Bringing this conversation full circle and relating it back to pregnancy got me thinking all day. The four movements really are essential; therefore, why not make them the standard for being BirthFIT. As I’ve described before, the foundational pillars of BirthFIT are nutrition, chiropractic, and fitness. So, why not set some standards for fitness and human movement?

Ideally, these movements would all be mastered prior to pregnancy. However, the progressions for the handstand pushup, the pistol, and the muscle up can all be used to continue to train during pregnancy. The burpee can be modified to a squat to plank as fast as you can move on a particular day. Some days are definitely faster than others. Carl’s progressions go with the flow of innate human movement and proper motor patterns, so even doing the most basic of the progressions is activating particular motor patterns.

Returning to the gym from having a baby recently should definitely include aspects of these progressions. There will be parts of the progressions that may have been easier to you before pregnancy or baby that may be a little more frustrating and difficult for you to achieve during the postpartum phase. Remember that you spent 40 weeks with altered movement patterns. That’s almost a whole year training with a growing belly and diminishing ab muscles. Give yourself a break with the movements and progressions, but use them as a foundation to build up to and elaborate from.

If you have the opportunity to take Carl’s Freestyle Connection seminar, do so. Do not miss the chance, because I can guarantee that you will start to look at your training and movement in a whole new angle.



Muscle Up Skill Work

Gymnastics WOD

5 Rounds

10 Ring Rows

20 Air Squats

100 Feet Farmers Carry (50 ft out and back)


  • Find a muscle up progression or skill work that works for you today.
  • Use a ball to aim your booty towards for air squats if you want.
  • The weight for the farmers carry should be medium-heavy.
  • For the 5 rounds do so at your own pace. Rest as needed.
  • For beginners, do 3 rounds.

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