The bear crawl is an effective exercise because in this one simple move, you work your entire body, all without a single piece of equipment. This move builds strength while also increasing muscular endurance. For a full workout, all you need is about 20 yards of uninterrupted floor space to get crawling.
Moving on all fours is referred to as quadrupedal movement. The bear crawl is a variety of a child’s crawl except you are on your feet and your hands instead of your knees and hands. This alteration makes it so you can move faster forward and backward compared to a traditional crawl. By including quadrupedal movement into your workout routine, you develop agility and coordination while increasing endurance.
The proper technique for the bear crawl begins with dropping to the floor on your knees and hands. You want your hands placed directly under your shoulders. Now rise up onto the balls of your feet. This is called the bear position. Move your right hand and left leg forward simultaneously. Then move your left hand and right leg forward. Repeat to bear crawl. Make sure your knees never touch the ground. It may be easier to learn how to do the bear crawl on an incline or up stairs.
The bear crawl targets all of your major muscle groups including your shoulders, quads and core muscles, according to Crossfit coach Crystal McReynolds for the That’s Fit website. Because your upper body is placed under constant pressure, you will start to feel the burn first in your chest, triceps and shoulder muscles. This move gives you a killer workout because all of these muscle groups remain engaged throughout the entire movement to keep you balanced.
Bear Crawl Workouts
For a killer bear crawl workout, begin with five pushups. Bear crawl forward for 20 yards, stop and do five pushups and then bear crawl backward to where you started. Rest for 60 seconds and then repeat. The bear crawl can be added to nearly any workout, from cardio to strength training. At the end of a jog, add in a few bear crawls. Even if you are stuck indoors, find a hallway and walk some bear crawls. During a strength-training workout, add 30 seconds of bear crawling between each set.
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.