Bear Crawl

Quote: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise." - Benjamin Franklin

A Bear Crawl is a bodyweight exercise that develops all round fitness.  We crawled when we were babies learning how to walk, once we learned how to walk the need to crawl stopped.  By going back to what we did as babies is a great way to improve your strength and cardiovascular fitness.

 

Bear Crawl

Think of the Bear Crawl like a dynamic plank where your back is in a neutral position and your hips are higher than your shoulders, and you are positioned on your hands and feet.

Pretend you are an actual bear and start walking forwards using your hands and feet. This movement strengthens your triceps, shoulders and chest, improves coordination between the arms, legs, back, core thighs, calves, hamstrings and improves cardiovascular conditioning all at the same time.

This exercise can be varied to make it more challenging and give you more variety.  You can attach a weighted sled to yourself to increase resistance and improve strength.  You can also move in a backwards and sideways direction to develop additional movement patterns.

Benefits of the Bear Crawl

There are many benefits to doing the Bear Crawl.  These are health related benefits and performance related benefits.

Health Related Benefits:

  • Improves efficiency in the heart.
  • Develops strength in the muscles and bones to prevent osteoarthritis.
  • Strengthens the core that leads to an improvement in stability.
  • Improves mobility in the hips.

Performance Related Benefits:

  • Improves cardiovascular fitness.
  • Improves functional strength in the whole body.
  • Improves coordination between the arms, legs, core and hips.
  • Improves physical performance in other sports such as football, wrestlers, MMA Athletes and weekend warriors wanting to get in shape in quick time.

How to do a Bear Crawl

  • Place your bodyweight on all fours.
  • Position your hips higher than your shoulders.
  • Keep your back, neck and head in a neutral position.
  • Breathe in before you move one hand and one foot forward.
  • When you move your right hand forward, move your left foot forward at the same time, hold your breath.
  • Breathe out when your foot and hand that you moved touches the ground.
  • Breathe in before you move the other hand and foot forward.

Bear Crawl Dos

  • Move the foot opposite to the hand at the same time.
  • Maintain a neutral position in the back and neck.
  • Start out using more steps to give yourself a chance to learn proper technique.
  • Keep your core engaged.
  • Keep the sessions short, sharp and sweet, this is a not an aerobic exercise.

Bear Crawl Don’ts

  • Hunch your back.
  • Don’t move your hips side to side.
  • Let your hips slump.
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