The ten families of exercises

Hébert Method

Georges Hébert lists nearly 6000 natural and utilitarian gestures, we will of course not present them all here. For reasons of learning and structuring the sessions, they are classified into 10 families, themselves classified into 3 orders of importance.

1st ORDER:

Movement exercises have intense general effects, particularly on major organ functions (heart and lungs). These are the most important for the development of endurance and resistance.


Walking is the most natural means of transport. It is also the most economical way of getting around in terms of energy expenditure.


  • Walking activates breathing and blood circulation,
  • It facilitates digestion and calms the nervous system,
  • At high volume and intensity, it develops the musculature of the lower limbs.



Running is the fastest means of transport. It allows you to move fast and far. It is the exercise that allows the body to produce the most complete and intense effort.


  • Running improves cardio-respiratory functions,
  • It increases endurance and resistance,
  • It limits nervous fatigue and provides well-being (in endurance)
  • It helps to eliminate fat (in endurance)
  • It develops the musculature of the lower limbs and the trunk
  • Practiced on natural ground, it develops agility



Jumping consists of giving an impulse to cross a space or obstacle in a single leap. It is useful in many circumstances, and allows a multitude of playful applications. Its practice in its reduced form, the start, is very useful and helps to avoid many accidents (sprains, fractures, etc.).


  • Jumps have a very intense action on the muscular development of the lower limbs and the trunk,
  • They develop the address and the glance,
  • They strengthen muscles and joints of the lower limbs, make them able to withstand all kinds of shocks,
  • They improve flexibility and develop the balance reflex,
  • They have an important mental effect in the case of crossing a real obstacle, because they oblige to overcome and dominate the apprehension.
  • They contribute to the acquisition of composure and quick decision-making.

2nd ORDER:

“Secondary” movements are carried out using the 4 limbs or with the upper limbs only.

The quadruped

The quadruped is to move the body in any direction using the arms and legs in support, usually on the ground. It allows to move in any kind of difficult environment. It gives the ability to catch up without injury in the event of a fall. It is also the most complete muscle strengthening exercise.


  • Quadrupeds develop coordination and agility,
  • It strengthens shoulders and wrists,
  • It strengthens 90% of the muscles
  • It softens and strengthens most joints, including the spine


Climb it

Climbing consists of moving the body in 3 dimensions. The role of the arms is often predominant. Climbing it allows you to reach points in height, to perform passages in suspension. Very instinctive in children, it provides strong emotions and great satisfaction.

The climber is distinguished from the quadruped by the prehension, essentially of the hands, which seize or squeeze an object or element.


  • Climbing particularly develops the upper limbs, the back and the abdominal strap,
  • It develops coordination, and encourages technical improvement
  • It develops energy, courage and willpower
  • It allows to fight his apprehensions, vertigo
  • It is particularly conducive to mutual aid


The balance

Balance is a “circumstance” in the execution of exercises from other families where the search for the plumbness of the body or of an object (in balance on the head for example) is the main concern, to avoid a fall.


  • The balance exercises allow to give a good attitude and a harmonious development of the muscles of the back and the neck,
  • They require coordination, skill and precision, and some of them, such as high or unstable balance, allow you to acquire undeniable mental qualities (courage, self-confidence, self-control )



Swimming exercises include:

Swimming on the belly, on the side, on the back,
Jumps or dives,
Helping a person in distress


  • It is one of the most complete families,
  • It is often difficult to practice for material reasons (no body of water or swimming pool),
  • We will seek, whenever possible, a practice in a natural environment, much more demanding than the swimming pool (water heated, clear, clean, without waves…).

3rd ORDER:

Within this 3rd order, there are exercises where moving the body is no longer the main issue. It is about having an interaction with another human being, an animal, an object, etc.

Lift / Carry it

The lift-carry consists of moving an object or a person. It is a very utilitarian activity, the basis of certain professions.

There are a multitude of possible variants: lifting it alone or with others, carrying it on the back, on the shoulders, light or heavy, etc…


  • Significant muscle development
  • An apprenticeship in caution, because they can be dangerous (large mass, risk of falling or injury, etc.)

To throw it

Throwing consists of throwing, catching or dodging an object with a view to a defined goal: to defend oneself, to transmit, to get rid of or to reach another object, to rescue, to play, etc.


  • The variety of throwing (heavy objects, light objects, in precision, in distance, in force, alone, in pairs, in teams, from the front, from behind, from the side, over the head, etc.) makes it a very complete family,
  • The speed of the gesture that accompanies the throws in force makes it a violent exercise that puts a lot of strain on the joints,
  • These are often “sporting” exercises, in the Hébertist sense, where one seeks to achieve a defined result (further, heavier, more precise, etc.).



The defense includes:

The actual defense exercises (boxing, wrestling, holds, blocks, dodges, baton fights, etc.).
But also tug of war, pushing or pulling against an opponent, team wrestling….

The exercises are always performed with a utilitarian aspect, without specific clothing, or particular ground. But we will nevertheless take care to protect ourselves against blows.


  • These are intense exercises that work the whole body. Placed at the end of the session, they are often accompanied by cries, especially with children,
  • Defense must always be done in an altruistic spirit: you respect your opponent. It develops insight, courage and respect for others.


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