If you think crawling is just for very young children, you might just change your mind after trying a few crawling exercises. Designed to condition and strengthen your entire body, these exercises -- which come with creepy crawly names such as Bear, Spider and Crab -- effectively work your shoulders, arms, core, glutes and thighs. These are bodyweight exercises, so there’s no need to run out and buy special training aids. No matter how silly you might think you look, by mimicking the way bears, spiders and crabs move, you can get in a good workout and have a little fun doing it.
Get on your hands and knees with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips.
Shift your weight forward onto your hands and lift your knees 1 to 2 inches off the floor. Your hips should be level with or slightly higher than your shoulders. Keep your back straight, a slight bend in your knees and lift your heels.
Lift your head and look straight ahead. Simultaneously reach forward with your right hand and bring your left knee up toward your left elbow. Keep your knees inside your elbows to prevent your hips from swaying. Shift your weight onto your right hand.
Push with your left leg and simultaneously reach forward with your left hand and bring your right knee up toward your right elbow. Continue forward for the desired distance and then reverse your movements to do the bear crawl backward.
Get into a basic pushup position with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Start by bending your elbows and lowering your body until your chest is a few inches from the floor. Avoid lifting your hips and keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
Reach forward with your left hand and then bend your right leg and bring your right knee up toward the outside of your right elbow. Without pausing, shift your weight forward onto your left hand and reach forward with your right hand. Push with your right leg, bend your left leg and bring your left knee up toward the outside of your left elbow.
Crawl forward for the desired distance. Concentrate on staying as low as possible and avoid letting your hips sag or lift. If you need more of a challenge, try the spider crawl backward.
Start with crawls of 15 to 20 yards and work your way up to 50 yards.
Avoid injuries, crawl on soft, flat surfaces.
If you have had any wrist, elbow or shoulder injuries, consult your doctor before performing the exercises.
Perform the crab crawl face up. Start by sitting on the floor, bending your knees 45 degrees, putting your feet flat on the floor and putting your hands behind you for support.
Push from your heels, lift your hips and stay balanced with your weight evenly supported on your feet and hands. Keep your chest and head up throughout the exercise.
Contract your stomach muscles and move your right foot forward and your left hand forward to take one crab-crawling step forward. Shift your weight onto your left hand. Push with your right hand and move your left foot and right hand forward to take another step. Crawl forward for the desired distance and then reverse the crawl.