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In the realm of fitness and longevity, a diverse range of training methods is essential for maintaining functional health and well-being as we age. One such method gaining attention is on-ground training, a concept championed by experts like Gary Gray and Michol Dalcourt. This training approach emphasizes movements performed close to the ground, mimicking natural human motions and engaging the body in a holistic manner.

What is On-Ground Training?

On-ground training involves exercises and movements performed with the body in contact with the ground. This can include activities like crawling, rolling, transitioning from sitting to standing, and various floor-based exercises. The goal is to improve functional movement patterns, enhance mobility, and build strength from a foundational level.

By harnessing the power of gravity, on-ground training engages muscles, bones, and nerves in a unique and effective way. When performing movements close to the ground, the body must work against gravity to stabilize and control each action. This natural resistance enhances muscle engagement, strengthens bones through weight-bearing activities, and stimulates the nervous system, contributing to improved reconditioning, prevention, and performance goals.

Benefits for Longevity

  1. Improved Functional Mobility

    One of the primary benefits of on-ground training is the enhancement of functional mobility. By engaging in movements that require transitioning between different positions on the ground, individuals can maintain and improve their range of motion. This is crucial for daily activities and can help prevent the stiffness and immobility often associated with aging.

  2. Enhanced Core Stability

    On-ground movements require significant core engagement, which is essential for maintaining stability and balance. A strong core is vital for overall functional strength and can help reduce the risk of falls, a common concern for older adults. Gary Gray, a pioneer in functional training, emphasizes the importance of core stability in supporting the body’s movements and maintaining structural integrity.

  3. Increased Strength and Endurance

    Ground-based exercises can build strength and endurance in a low-impact manner, reducing the risk of injury. Movements like crawling and rolling engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting overall muscular strength and endurance. Michol Dalcourt, the creator of the ViPR (Vitality, Performance, Reconditioning) system, advocates for functional training that incorporates ground-based movements to enhance strength and vitality.

  4. Enhanced Coordination and Balance

    On-ground training challenges the body’s proprioception—the ability to sense its position in space. By regularly practicing movements that require coordination and balance, individuals can improve their proprioceptive abilities, which are crucial for maintaining stability and preventing falls. This can be particularly beneficial for older adults, as balance often declines with age.

  5. Promotion of Natural Movement Patterns

    Engaging in on-ground training helps reinforce natural movement patterns that are often lost in modern sedentary lifestyles. These movements can retrain the body to move more efficiently and effectively, promoting better posture and alignment. Gary Gray emphasizes the importance of training the body in all planes of motion to ensure comprehensive functional fitness.

  6. Mental and Cognitive Benefits

    On-ground training also offers mental and cognitive benefits. Learning and performing complex movements can stimulate brain function and improve cognitive abilities. The focus required for coordinating movements enhances mind-body connection, contributing to overall mental well-being.

Half Kneeling Ground-to-Stand Assessment

To assess current abilities and identify areas for improvement, incorporating a half kneeling ground-to-stand assessment can be highly beneficial. This assessment helps determine an individual’s functional capacity and mobility.

How to Perform the Half Kneeling Ground-to-Stand Assessment:

  1. Starting Position: Begin in a half kneeling position with one knee on the ground and the other foot flat on the floor in front of you. Ensure that your torso is upright and your core is engaged.

  2. Transition to Standing: Without using your hands, push through the front foot and rise to a standing position. The movement should be smooth and controlled, emphasizing balance and core engagement.

  3. Return to Half Kneeling: Slowly lower yourself back down to the half kneeling position, maintaining balance and control throughout the movement.

  4. Repeat on the Other Side: Perform the same movement, starting with the opposite leg in the front.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Balance and Stability: Evaluate your ability to maintain balance and stability throughout the movement.
  • Strength and Control: Assess the strength and control required to transition smoothly between positions.
  • Range of Motion: Observe any limitations in your range of motion that may need to be addressed.

This assessment provides valuable insights into your current functional abilities and can help tailor your on-ground training to address specific needs and improve overall performance.

Practical Applications

Incorporating on-ground training into a fitness routine can be simple and effective. Activities like yoga, Pilates, and martial arts often include ground-based movements that can be adapted for different fitness levels. Additionally, creating a space for regular floor exercises at home can provide an accessible way to integrate this training method.


On-ground training, as advocated by experts like Gary Gray and Michol Dalcourt, offers a multitude of benefits for longevity. By improving functional mobility, core stability, strength, coordination, and balance, this training approach can help maintain and enhance quality of life as we age. Embracing natural movement patterns and engaging in holistic, ground-based exercises can contribute significantly to long-term health and well-being. Incorporating assessments like the half kneeling ground-to-stand can help identify areas for improvement and track progress over time.



Founded in 2001, The team at Dynamic Health And Fitness believes that individuals must take a proactive, integrated approach on their personal vitality. Our mission is to provide the strategies and techniques necessary for individuals to enhance their lives and also impact those around them. We provide cutting edge programming that fuels our performance center and suite of mobile apps. Our goal is to become a leading resource for individuals, groups, and companies to create a needed shift in health.

The DHF Performance Center is located in the Syracuse, NY area and boasts world class training facilities with cutting edge technology to assist our clients in achieving their health, wellness, and performance goals.