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.
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.
I have many women and even some men tell me that they want to be able to do perfect full push ups and push ups.
And I say “OK!”
Because there is a way to get there! Consistent hard work and a well thought out progression based on what you need to work on will get you there!
So this really applies to any exercise that you want to be able to do, but honestly two of the exercises that most people can’t do, but should be able to do are the push up and pull up (also, most people recently have been telling me they want to be able to do these two moves so I figured I would focus on them).
First, consider all of the muscles used in the move.
For push ups, you use your pecs, shoulders, triceps, core and even your quads and legs. Most often though, people need to focus on core strength and either shoulder or tricep strength.
For pull ups, core and back strength are essential. The grip you use will also determine how much bicep is involved.
Once you identify the muscles used, you can work on those muscles. That doesn’t mean you have to start doing tricep extensions and bicep curls.
You can still do compound movements.
So to work on improving your push up, first assess where you are. Can you do a push up with your hands on an incline? Can you do a push up from your knees? And when I say “Do a push up.” I mean a PERFECT form push up from that position.
Same goes for pull ups. Can you do jumping pull ups? Can you do pull ups where you jump up and slowly lower yourself down? Can you do a pull up and hold? Or can you do a chin up but not a full pull up yet?
Get a clear picture of where you are starting from. If you know exactly where you are at, you can design a program that will get you to where you want to be.
If you don’t have a clear starting point, how the heck are you going to outline a clear progression!?! You won’t know how long it will take you to get somewhere if you don’t even know where you are starting from!!
So once you know what muscles are involved and where you are starting from, you must create workouts that strengthen your weak areas and progress you toward you end goal.
While you will want to do lots of push ups and pull ups during your progression they shouldn’t be the only thing that you are doing.
For push ups, do some core strengthening exercises. Do some crawling that targets your shoulders, core and quads. Do some form of dips, be they full dips or dips off a bench. I mean even get creative with it. Try some chest flies on the slider. Do some ab roller to work your arms and core. Battling ropes can be good. Medball chest passes are a good explosive way to work your upper body.
There are lots of ways to work. Pick exercises that target your weak points!
For pull ups, battling ropes again can be good. Working on different variations of pull ups can help. Try some medball slams into the ground. You can do ones straight ahead or rainbow slams where you slam it down on each side. Do some inverted rows. Some pivot prone pulldowns. Work on your grip strength. Heck even just playing on the monkey bars will definitely help!
And the good part about some of the things that you can do to work on both of these moves is that they will improve your overall posture and strength not JUST progress you toward a perfect pull up or push up.
There are even moves that can benefit both exercises in some way such as the parallel bar press. Just hold your body straight up off of parallel bars or a dip machine. Don’t be a “turtle” aka keep your shoulder blades pull back and down and your spine long. Your neck should be long and not tucked back into your shoulders like a turtle pulling its head into its shell. Just hold. Keep your abs engaged and your shoulder blades retracted. You will feel this in your back and your arms and even your core.
Anyway, there are a bazillion ways to strengthen your body to progress toward a pull up or push up. Don’t just flounder blindly and HOPE you will get there. SET UP A PROGRESSION!
If you need help or want some exercises to help you strengthen your weak points, let me know! 🙂