A lot of the time when people are looking for “fun” or new ways to train they are often stuck thinking of standard linear exercises for a specific number of sets and reps. This is where different variations of crawls can be an excellent way of spicing training up slightly, as well as providing you with a great return for your efforts.
You might raise your eyebrows when I mention the words “primal” and “functional” as these seem to be real buzz words in the industry at the moment, and can be misinterpreted, however for me, crawling fits into both categories.
With so much of the general population spending a high percentage of their lives seated, we seem to be “forgetting” how to move properly.
Our body becomes less efficient in basic movement patterns and we become that person who has chronic pain and about as much athleticism as Jonny Vegas.
The age-old saying of “let’s not run before we can walk” rings very true.
Toddlers learn to crawl on all fours before they develop the skill to walk. It’s a life progression. I’m not saying we need to strip everything back whenever anyone enters a gym and we have them crawling like toddlers, but as I said above, it does re-train important movement patterns.
Here are some other pretty solid reasons to include some form of crawling into your training
- Most basic crawls use what is called a “cross pattern” which basically means when the left arm moves the opposing leg does and visa versa. This not only challenges your co-ordination, but also improves your core function. When in a four-point stance (hands and toes on the floor) lift opposing limbs and you will feel your core resist the rotation.
- It can be used as a mobility exercise. Especially variations like the Spiderman crawl or gorilla crawl, which will have a carry over into improved mobility at the ankles and hips predominantly.
- It is a weight bearing exercise for just about every joint in the body, which will lead to increased bone density and stronger connective tissues around those joints.
- It doesn’t just provide reflexive stability for the trunk it also provides a great level of stability at the shoulder. The serratus anterior and lower traps (both of which are commonly weak) get a good amount of stimulation when crawling.
- Can be used as a conditioning tool or finisher and is very versatile. You don’t need any equipment just a bit of space. Pair bear crawls with pushups for example and I promise you will be humbled in a short period of time.
- It carries a very low injury risk and is a great way to keep the injured moving.
I honestly think crawling has its place in just about everyone’s programme. The only reasons you may not programme bear crawls would be if you have got shoulder pain/ impingement, wrist pain or acute spinal pain.
So get yourself crawling and start to enjoy movement.
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