Bear Crawls are an old-school exercise that are often used as punishment for high school football players.
But when you slow down the movement and really pay attention to your form, they're an absolutely fantastic exercise for anyone looking to get in better shape.
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," says Rob DeCillis, co-owner of Training for Warriors Long Island.
It's also a form of alternating reciprocal movement, as the opposite hand and foot move in conjunction, just as they do when you walk, jog or sprint.
Bear Crawls are also great for increasing mobility through the hips and lumbar spine. The key is keep your butt low and try to have a flat back as you move. This is only possible if the muscles in and around your core are engaged.
Wearing a weight vest while performing this move cranks the challenge up further.
Once you've mastered the basic Bear Crawl, you can move try variations like the Lateral or Reverse Bear Crawl.
How to Perform Bear Crawls
- Get into a push-up position.
- Tuck your knees up under you so they are directly under your hips.
- Keeping your back flat, slowly crawl forward one step at a time.
- The movement should be slow and methodical.
- Try to maintain a flat back as if there were a glass of water on your back and you can't spill it.
- Keep this position and go for distance or time.
Sets/Reps: Start with 3 reps of 10 yards, then increase the reps or distance from there