Zuu: Working out with animal movements to exercise the body and mind

The Zuu is a discipline with exercises that imitates the movements of some animals and promises to workout the body and mind in an integral way, providing an athletic figure to each person.

Through this article I will explain all the advantages of Zuu training program, the accessories that can be used, the postures or movements that can be perform and also the precautions that must be kept in mind when practicing it. But I have to say since now that Zuu training is not good for every goal and that is why at the end of this article I will mention something related to this.

The gorilla, the tiger, the snake, the crab and the cat. Animals such as these were the inspiration for the Australian Nathan Helberg (who spent years working out with "regular machines" at the gym) created discipline that would provide more flexibility and allow a more comprehensive or integral workout.

A discipline or training program not only to workout the muscles but also the ligaments and joints in ranges of wider movements (because it is not that with traditional workout with heavy weights these components of the body will not be exercised).

That way is how he decided to invent a type of training which he gave a name based on the pronunciation of the word zoo: Zuu. A discipline that is popular today not only in Australia, but also in New Zealand and Polynesia and that is starting to become known in several countries in America and Europe.

Its essence is the imitation of some movements animals do and the techniques the perform to achieve or develop their abilities. This discipline is actually very similar to yoga in terms of stimulating a broad workout on muscles, ligaments and joints to seek their greater strengthening and flexibility and because some movements used are very similar to each other...

... although it differs in the same way precisely because some movements are unique of zuu since they are more marked when imitating some animals and the movements that these (the animals) usually perform in different contexts.

Learn more about this new discipline which you can achieve physical, mental and general health goals by improving some fitness components such as flexibility, body composition, strength (although in this case relative strength and not absolute strenght) and Muscular resistance (holding more time performing different animal movements or another exercises without fatigue), mainly.

Zuu: benefits that help us improve our health

- It generates a muscular stimulus that improves the quality of tendons and ligaments, as well as their range of movement. Of course, it also greatly influences the tonicity of skeletal muscle tissue making it harder and therefore stronger. Strengthens joints and tones muscles.

- It develops a good physical condition mainly working to improve muscular endurance which also improves the health and performance of the myocardium, which must work and adapt to be able to "pump" more blood to the most distal parts of the organism (this capacity or ability is Known as peripheral heart action or PHA).

- It strengthens the core area (abdominal rectus, transverse abdomen, obliques and those of the back of the torso as the dorsal width and the intrinsic muscles of the back), especially those fibers of these muscles at the lumbar level.

- Due to it is based on movements that are not normally performed, it generates a high calorie burn. In a session of 20 minutes you can burn between 200 and 300 Calories and in a 45 minutes session, between 800 and 1000.

Although you have to keep in mind that these are average values and this "burning" Caloric action varies according to each person, and it also varies from where these Calories are burned, because they will not all be from the fats. The less physical condition a person has the lower his/her fat burning while practicing high or medium intensity training programs (during Zuu practice, in this case).

- Zuu Helps to lose weight in body fat. But you have to be very careful not to rely on a number that shows an ordinary or regular scale, beacuse it does not tell you what has been lost or gained.

You can either reduce or lose fat during Zuu practice, for example, and during the day thanks to the basal metabolic increase that can be promoted as a result of Zuu's constant practice (and/or other types of training). Also keep in mind that workingout could increased the weight or mass in terms of the lean (muscle mass), the bone (bone density).

- Stimulates blood circulation. Working out constantly helps to eliminate body fat levels, stimulates the action of the myocardium and the rest of the cardiovascular system.

It helps to improve aerobic capacity and therefore the quality of blood plasma. Of course you have to keep in mind that in order to help these beneficial effects achieve their maximum splendor, you also have to apply good habits in terms of nutrition.

- It helps to provide a harmonious, athletic and functional figure. It is practically the set of all the benefits already mentioned, and of course keeping in mind having an adequate nutritional plan.

Zuu principles

- With Zuu the body is able to move in the three anatomical planes: frontal, sagittal and transverse, allowing an integral work at the skeletal muscles level.

- It manages Newton's three laws of motion which everything on Earth moves: Gravity, action-reaction, and inertia.

- It does not work muscle tissue in terms of muscle volume through myofibrillar hypertrophy, which means that the Zuu does not allow to increase the size of the muscles of a high form. It is based instead on helping to improve the relative strength (ability to manage or handle own body weight), to give tonicity and muscle strengthening, as well as to strengthen the ligaments and tendons.

- It is also based on the stimulation of very small muscle groups, which other disciplines do not work so hard, such as intrinsic backs that stabilize the spine. Of course, this is thanks to the wide ranges of movement that can be applied, so this discipline would be a perfect complement to others such as Crossfit, traditional weightlifting, Powerlifting, some joint or individual sports, etc.

- During the movements the muscles remain contracted, which allows to develop the natural form of the body.


- The movements are performed naturally and with self-body weight, so thanks to that there is not a high risk of injury. Of course like all training routines you should do a good warm up before you start.

- As a low impact training, Zuu is ideal for people with knee problems or older adults who have disabilities to practice other disciplines. Although for this same reason when it is wanted to work on the improvement of the bone density, it is where this discipline must be complemented with other trainings which generates greater impact (sports, weightlifting, etc.).

- The Zuu training program manages a scale, which allows to adapt the exercise to the different populations, from beginners to the most advanced people.

- You can practice it almost anywhere: in a park, at the gym or your home.

- It does not require so many accessories. In fact some zuu exercises can be perform without them (you can skip the gym mat if you can practice it on grass, for example).

- The movements are too varied, since they mimic a large number of animals, making it ideal for those people who tend to get bored quickly from more traditional training systems. Of course this variety of movements helps stimulate a greater number of muscle fibers of different muscle groups, as well as psychomotor abilities such as proprioception and esteroception.

- It is not only focused on physical work, but also on the mental fitness. Stimulates concentration.


The movements of Zuu training are taken from about 30 species of animals, such as apes and cats, including lions, tigers and panthers. The most common movements are:

- Bear walk.
- Frog squat.
- The Scorpion.
- The Iguana.
- The dog.


The discipline has three important stages:

• Beginners or aerobic work. It strengthens the heart and allows you to get in shape.
• Intermediate or strenght. That tones muscles and burns fat (remember that this also depends on the level and other qualities and characteristics of each person).
• Advanced or anaerobic. A kind of challenge, in which a high intensity work is done where the qualities mentioned in the previous points are stimulated in a higher way.


This discipline is part of today's trend which seeks to workout with own body mass and without major accessories. Only loops, mats, balls, strings or straps, elastic bands that support the torso are used, or some exercises does not require accessories at all.


Like any discipline it is necessary to undergo a careful preliminary medical evaluation.

People suffering from diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases or spinal injuries should modify the exercises or make certain adjustments in the postures, given their health condition.

In order to obtain the expected results it is necessary to practice zuu at least three times a week, in sessions of 30 to 45 minutes. You should also hydrate properly every fifteen minutes (more or less) and with small sips (avoid drinking to much water).

Be careful not to overtrain.

Is Zuu a good way to gain muscle?

Since it is a training which the majority of exercises are performed with own body mass (own body weight), the hypertrophy that can be achieved will not be very pronounced or at least not at the myofibrillar level (it is probable that something will be achieved in sarcoplasmic hypertrophy).

Of course also the genetic potential of each person is important since in itself the Zuu can be seen as a type of calisthenics training, and there are people that with practicing exercises without external loads o weights can also achieve good results at the aesthetic level (good relative strength and a decent myofibrillar hypertrophy) with Zuu's own practice, especially when movements or exercises of a high complexity of this discipline are put into practice.