I've just arrived at Le Corre's training base in the Brazilian rain forest. For the next 3 days, he'll be teaching me one of humankind's oldest, trickiest, and most indispensable physical disciplines. Le Corre calls it "Natural Movement" -- or "MovNat" in its French abbreviation -- and to explain what it is, he points at Zuqueto.
"This guy is in amazing shape," Le Corre says, speaking Brazilian Portuguese with an almost native accent. "He's strong and he has great endurance. But what happened here? All he had to do was get on top of this pole, and he couldn't. I can do it. Zuqueto's great-great grandfather could probably do it. At one point in time, just about every man alive could do it. But Zuqueto can't. And why? Because his body isn't smart enough."
A smart body, he explains, knows how to convert force and speed into an almost endless menu of practical movements. Hoisting yourself onto a pole may seem as trivial as a circus stunt, but if you're ever caught in a flood or fleeing an attacking dog, elevating your body 5 feet off the ground could mean the difference between safety and sorrow.
And with that one word -- "practical" -- Le Corre exposes a key weakness in modern exercise: Our workouts are domesticated, while the world out there is still plenty wild. In a pinch, can a man put gym-generated biceps and tank-tread abs to any real use? Could it be that our treadmill-running, elliptical-gliding, well-oiled Cybex world has turned us into show dogs who can't hold our own in the hunt?
Fitness to Survive in the Wild | Men's Health