The popularity of the Bear Crawl is exploding. More strength coaches are having their athletes perform this move, and we see it frequently in new articles and videos featured on STACK.
So, why the spike? It's not like it's a new move.
Well, the fitness industry as a whole is moving toward more functional, full-body moves. Machines and isolation exercises are going the way of the dodo bird, replaced by exercises that offer more bang for your buck.
To find out what is luring athletes and the general fitness community to the Bear Crawl, we spoke with Rob DeCillis, co-owner of Training for Warrior Long Island, who uses the move regularly with the people he trains.
Bear Crawls Build Strength
Think of the Bear Crawl as a moving Plank. It works your core muscles just like the Plank, but since you're moving, it engages more muscles and forces your core to work harder to keep you stable. "The Bear Crawl strengthens your core and works your entire body, especially your shoulders, arms and glutes," DeCillis says.
Bear Crawls Increase Mobility
DeCillis adds that the Bear Crawl improves hip mobility. When you crawl, your hips go from fully flexed to fully extended, taking the joint through its entire range of motion. This makes it a perfect warm-up drill—plus it gets your heart pumping and wakes up your central nervous system.
Bear Crawls Improve Conditioning
The Bear Crawl is a full-body movement, so it's a no-brainer to use as a conditioning tool. It increases your muscular endurance and improves your overall conditioning base. You can incorporate it into a full-body workout, such as a Hurricane. Check out the video above to see L.A. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez's Weighted Bear Crawls.
Bear Crawls are Versatile
"I often use the Bear Crawl especially with youth athletes and people who are not yet ready to be loaded with resistance exercises," DeCillis says. Once you have sufficient strength, you can try more challenging variations, like moving laterally or backward. To further increase the challenge, perform the move wearing a weight vest or crawl as fast as possible over a set distance.
Learn more about why athletes need crawling exercises.
Bear Crawl Drills
To add Bear Crawls to your workouts, try the three drills below.
Bear crawl 10 yards forward, 10 yards laterally to the left, 10 yards backwards and 10 yards laterally to the right. To make it more difficult, add 10 Push-Ups after each 10-yard increment. Repeat twice in each direction.
Bear crawl 10 yards and perform 5 to 10 Push-Ups. Continue this pattern for 100 yards.
Perform Bear Crawl hill sprints for 40 to 50 yards. Repeat 4 times.
Tip: Keep your abs tight throughout the entire exercise. Also, make sure your hips don't bounce up and down.
Reminder: check out the video above to watch MLB All-Star Adrian Gonzalez's Backward Weighted Bear Crawl.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock