Joseph 'Da Rulk' Sakoda demonstrates Raw Functional Training workout moves.
Da Rulk

9 essential moves for your Raw Functional Training workout

Da Rulk

In your training, your career, your sport, in your everyday life. When you want to move better in everything you do, there’s one man to call: Da Rulk.

While it may seem intimidating at first, Rulk’s trademark Raw Functional Training is actually built around simple foundational movement patterns that we perform every day: push, pull, squat, lunge, rotate. When sequenced together in functional exercises, they can enhance core stability, joint mobility, and overall strength and conditioning to transform the way you move. Plus, it delivers an intense aerobic workout you can do anywhere, with no equipment.

Before you take on Da Rulk’s workouts – for all training levels and goals in the Planner – he’s here to introduce you to 9 key movements. Watch and practice as he gives you a breakdown of each exercise, with tips on form and modifications.

To learn the fundamentals of Raw Functional Training from the ground up, head to the Programs section to take on Centr Masterclass: Da Rulk. He’ll help you unlock strength and mobility over 13 sessions – each with a tutorial and workout.

1. Forward to Reverse Crawl

Da Rulk always says you need to learn to crawl before you can walk. That’s because crawling is a fundamental movement pattern – a stepping stone to the next level of physical performance. This exercise is a compound movement, meaning it works multiple muscle groups at once. It’s great for building stability and mobility in shoulders and hips, and will also build core strength.

How to do it: Start on all fours and hover your knees off the ground so your legs form a 90-degree angle. Move one hand and the opposite foot forward at the same time while staying low to the ground. Repeat on the other side. To reverse, move one hand and the opposite foot backward.

2. Side Crawl

This exercise takes elements of the forward to reverse crawl and shifts the focus to lateral (side to side) movement. Good form is more important than speed, so focus on keeping your back flat and strong, and your shoulders and hips in alignment. Stay low and keep your core tight.

How to do it: Put yourself in the forward to reverse crawl position, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Imagine a rod holding your shoulders and hips in a parallel line. Keeping your knees low, step your right hand and right leg to the side, followed by your left hand and left leg. Repeat, then switch to move back to the other side.

3. 3-Step Drop

The 3-step drop is three movements in one. The exercise is lower-body dominant with ballistic (or plyometric elements) – earning big quad, hamstring and glute engagement when you squat down and jump forward, and firing up your calf muscles in the vertical jump. If you experience knee or hip pain, step out and stretch up instead of jumping.

How to do it: Start with your feet in line with your shoulders and toes pointing out at a 30-degree angle. Drop into a squat. Rise out of the squat and turn your feet into a parallel position. Sink down and complete a vertical jump squat. When you land, sink down again before springing forward.

4. Side Gorilla

The side gorilla engages muscles all around the body, but is a particularly fantastic exercise for generating hip mobility. Why is that important? Whether you’re an Olympic runner leaping over hurdles or an office worker who sits at a computer all day (which causes muscles to tighten), increasing hip mobility is essential to keep you moving and performing at your best. Focus on the mind-body connection between your arms and hip swivel to nail your form.

How to do it: Start with your feet in line with your shoulders and toes pointing out at a 30-degree angle. Drop to a squatting position. From your squatting position, rotate your hips as you put your left hand on the floor in front of your right leg, with your right hand following along beside it. With your weight on your arms, jump both feet to the right so your body is in line again in the squatting position. Repeat on the other side.

5. Hopscotch

This movement will take you back to the playground with a classic hopscotch box pattern, where you hop from one leg onto two. You’ll get similar benefits to a lunge (working quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves), plus functional benefits like balance and lower-body stability. Remember, Raw Functional Training is all about enhancing practical movement patterns. To make the exercise low-impact, modify by removing the ballistic element.

How to do it: Set up in a reverse lunge position, with your left leg forward. Swing your hands back and jump forward, landing with both feet parallel. Repeat on the opposite side.

6. Hostage

Rulk has worked extensively with first responders and military personnel to ensure their bodies can function and remain resilient in challenging situations – like staying low to avoid smoke. This strangely-named exercise is a key part of that training, with a movement pattern that is all about your quadriceps (or thigh muscles.) Be sure to stay low throughout the exercise.

How to do it: Start with your feet in line with your shoulders and toes pointing out at a 30-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head and drop into a squat. Pulse down and then hop forward, keeping your low squat position as you do. To modify, keep your hands braced against your knees and step forward instead of jumping.

7. 5-Jump Hostage

Once you have the hostage exercise locked down, take it to the next level by adding a ballistic component. As well as giving you an epic quad workout, this progression further engages your calves with the jumps and spikes your heart rate to build endurance.

How to do it: Start with your feet in line with your shoulders and toes pointing out at a 30-degree angle. Complete 5 explosive jump squats, then pulse down and begin to hop forward while maintaining your low squat position. To lower the impact, remove the jumps and instead perform a calf raise as you push out of the squat.

8. Sit thru

You’ve probably seen Chris Hemsworth and his trainer Luke Zocchi doing sit thrus in a workout, but before you go full beast mode like those guys, make sure you’ve got the form right. Sit thrus work on flexibility through the back while also improving hip mobility and developing core and shoulder strength. Be patient – let yourself get a solid grip on the form before picking up the pace.

How to do it: Put yourself into a tight crawl position with your hips in line with your knees. Drive your left knee towards your right wrist, raising your right hand off the ground to make room for your left knee. Repeat on the other side.

9. Switches

This dynamic exercise is designed to build your core and hip strength. While your lower body drives the movement, your obliques will be working overtime to build rotational power.

How to do it: Start with your feet in line with your shoulders and toes pointing out at a 30-degree angle. Think of yourself as a loaded spring – as you rise up, lead with your right foot to twist your lower body to the right as your left foot moves backward. Repeat on the other side. Both feet should land toes pointing sideways as your upper body remains squared straight ahead. To modify, keep your feet still but twist your torso as you rise up.

Da Rulk

Da Rulk trains superheroes: Navy SEALs, fire fighters, law enforcement… and Chris Hemsworth. A certified strength and conditioning specialist with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, he is the creator of Raw Functional Training (RFT), a revolutionary approach to movement. He’s the trainer you’ll love to hate, who will transform the way you move.

Da Rulk


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