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How To Bear Crawl…Like a Baby

We are born with better movement patterns than most of us have now as adults…Just kidding…sort of…

But babies, that can’t even walk yet, can most certainly do certain things better.¬†They definitely¬†squat better AND crawl better than most adults do.

Babies do rock bottom squats like it is nothing. While trying to get an adult to do just a squat to 90 degrees can sometimes be a painful, long process.

Same goes for crawling.

Babies motor around like it is nothing. They crawl over grass, concrete and carpet, barely even noticing the change in texture.

But when adults are asked to crawl, they barely make it five steps before they are out of breath (or complaining about their hands on the turf)…and that is even if they can first understand the coordination of crawling.

It makes me sad how much we lose some natural movement patterns. It makes me sad that we lose such a great mind-body connection.

And I don’t think it has to be this way!

Everyone should be able to crawl, whether or not it is a table top crawl or a basic bear crawl. We should all be able to do it!

So here is a little breakdown of the basic forward bear crawl and proper form.

how to bear crawl

Now you are probably thinking…Why the heck would I ever want to crawl when I can walk?

Because crawling is GREAT exercise! (And it is kind of fun too!)

Crawling works your entire body, from your shoulders to your knees. It is a great core strengthener AND it is great cardio.

Plus crawling works on your coordination and agility.

And honestly, the older we get and the more we lose that mind-body connection (our coordination and balance), the more we need to crawl.

People just accept that as they age they won’t have the same coordination or balance that they once had. And while, yes, our body does change with age, that doesn’t mean we have to accept that falling or feeling uncoordinated is just a part of life.

Getting our body and mind to continue to connect and work together is key. And movements like the bear crawl help us work on that connection.

So now the question really is…Why aren’t you crawling!?!

Try it today! Set a timer for 5 minutes and see how long you last crawling around. You can even mix in backward and sideways crawls once you master the forward bear crawl.

bear crawling

Opposite arm and leg working together. Nice flat back…And boy can he motor!

Babies do it – So should we!

I hear too many people complain that they just don’t have time to go to the gym. That they just don’t have time to get in a good workout.

Seriously!?!

You only need 20 minutes to get in a killer workout. You just need to pick the right exercises.

And crawling would be one of those killer exercises that are perfect to include in a workout when you don’t have much time.

Yea you can make crawling more difficult by adding in chains and weights and such, but you really don’t even need more than your body weight to get in a great workout using crawling.

You can go forward, backward, left and right and do a bunch of different types of crawls. You work your arms and legs and core. AND you will get out of breath doing it if you push yourself to go fast.

Really crawling works it all.

A great crawl to start with is either the baby crawl (basic) or the table top or bear crawl.

To crawl forwards and backwards:

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
  2. If you can, lift your knees off the ground so you are on your toes and hands. If this is too much at the beginning, start with a baby crawl from your hands and knees.
  3. Begin to move forward with a contralateral movement – opposite hand and opposite foot move. Ex: Reach out with your right hand and bring your left knee up to the back of your left wrist. Then bring your left hand forward and your right knee.
  4. Keep crawling forward for a set amount of feet. Keep a nice table top position with your back. Don’t put your butt up in the air and keep your core tight.
  5. Once you reach the end of your set distance. Crawl backwards. You will do the same movement just going backwards. This will feel awkward. Do not get too spread out.

To crawl sideways:

  1. Set up the same way you did with the forward crawl except facing sideways.
  2. Have your hands wide and your feet together.
  3. As you move sideways, you will bring your feet wide and your hands together and then bring your hands back wide and your feet together.
  4. Repeat this motion all the way down and back.
  5. You can also straighten your knees and remain in a high plank if you would like to change it up.
  6. Again keep your hips down! No butts up in the air.

The crawl can be used as part of your warm up or added to your workout. Either way you will work your entire body and get some cardio out of it!

Yesterday I incorporated crawling into my workout out at the park and it only took about 20 minutes! Yay sun and yay crawling!

Weekly Workout

10 rounds as fast as possible

5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 body weight squats
50 ft crawl forwards
50 ft crawl backwards

I’m pretty sure this is the look I gave Ryan at some point during this deadly quick workout.

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