I would like to second the previous comment regarding sprinting. Additionally, in keeping with the primal theme, I would like to share some guidelines gleaned from experience and copious reading on functional training. I have used the guidelines for a long time and they have served me well.
1. lift heavy objects from the ground, the deadlift in all of its many and varied forms is the KING of exercises.
2. Press heavy objects overhead. Military press (STANDING, not seated), or handstand pushups are examples.
3. Pullups/rows – there is something very primal about being able to move your bodyweight through space. Ropeclimbing is great. Rows from rings also work.
4. Anything that involves hip extenstion – sprints, squats, deadlifts, kettlebell/dumbell/sandbag swings or snatches, you name it, just do it.
5. Throw heavy objects. This is self explanatory…and just plain fun. I use bags of sand in the back yard.
6. Carry heavy objects. Same as above, but not as much fun. Overhead, or farmer's walk or for a real kick try a slosh-pipe (10ftx6in PVC pipe half filled with water).
7. Heavy, multi-joint movements are the best for developing functional muscle. Isolation exercises are in large part a waste of energy. Biceps and triceps will develop naturally and symetrically from the big pushes and pulls. The heavy, multi-joint movements will take care of the big stuff AND the small stuff.
8. Avoid "mirror muscles". Most guys do a lot of bench presses and arm curls because that is what they can see in the mirror. The mark of an athlete, the ultimate in functional muscle, is a fully developed muscular back, shoulders and hips and tight torso. Man-boobs (from benching) are not natural, or necessary. Neither are big arms dangling from puny shoulders. They have no precedent in nature and they aren't functional.
9. Muscles will adapt to the stresses of exercise very quicly, but tendon and ligaments take much longer. If you are over 40, much, much, much longer. Most injuries occur in the tendons and ligaments. Just because your mind and muscles are willing doesn't mean that you are ready for a big increase in weight or intensity. That is what is meant by "start slowly". These connective tissues can take 6-12 months or more to adapt. Be aware.
10. Anything that moves your body through space incorporates a kinestic awareness that is physically and mentally challenging and is in most cases the preferred movement pattern when compared with weight moving around a stationairy body.
I hope readers find these guidelines helpful.
We sure do, Michael, and I thank you for taking the time to share them. I would note for the benefit of readers that for most of those exercises, if you don't understand what they are, you can use Google typically to find diagrams and even videos.