What is the bear crawl?
Crawling or quadrupedal movements are one of the first movements that are learned by humans as toddlers. It is a movement that makes use of all your four limbs.
The same movement is used in exercises to strengthen your upper and lower body and is referred to as a bear crawl.
Bear crawl exercise, as the name suggests, requires you to imitate the movement of a bear while keeping your body close to the ground. Bear crawls are not just an effective strength-building exercise but also fun!
How is bear crawl done?
Though bear crawls may look like a simple exercise, you need to be mindful of the technique and your posture. This helps in letting you gain the bear crawl exercise benefits and preventing injuries.
Here is the step-by-step explanation of the bear crawl workout.
- To begin the crawl workout, get onto all four limbs. Keep your hips over your knees and your hands under your shoulders.
- Keep your back straight and legs hip-width apart. Your arms must be shoulder-width apart.
- Engage your core and lats and tuck your chin inwards. The chin should stay in the same position throughout the movement.
- While lying close to the ground, move one hand along with the opposite foot forward. Your hand and foot must move an equal distance.
- Switch sides and repeat the bear crawl workout with the other hand and foot.
Sets and reps for the bear crawl: If you are a beginner, you can start doing 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps of the exercise. Increase the sets and reps as you become familiar with the movements.
What are the different variations of bear crawl?
One of the best things about a bear crawl exercise is that it can be modified to make it more challenging. Here are some of the most effective bear crawl variations to try:
- Bear crawl hold: Also know known as a stationary bear crawl or a bear crawl plank, this is a variation where you don’t move your body. It is done while keeping your body static. It is a simple yet effective exercise for strengthening the muscles of your shoulders, core, and legs.
Here is how the bear crawl plank is done:
- Begin this crawl workout by getting into the pushup position. Keep your hands beneath your shoulders and stabilise your spine. Keep your feet hip-width apart.
- Contract your abdominal muscles by inhaling fully and bracing yourself.
- Lift your knees around 1 inch off the ground. Keep your chin and head in a straight line with your gaze fixed on the floor beneath your head.
- Breathe in and out normally while holding the stationary bear crawl position. Hold this for 15-30 seconds.
- Get back to the starting position.
- Lateral bear crawl: This is the natural progression to the traditional bear crawl exercise. The lateral bear crawl works your pectorals, deltoids, abductors, glutes, and triceps.
- Get on all fours while keeping your arms below the shoulders.
- Your knees should be bent at an angle of 90-degrees and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lift your knees and put one hand and the opposite foot to one side.
- Move to the side instead of making a forward movement.
- Remember to do this crawls exercise on both sides.
- Dumbbell bear crawl: Also known as the DB bear crawl or weighted bear crawl, this helps in working your chest, back, glutes, hamstrings, and core.
- To start the weighted bear crawl, get on all fours with dumbbells in each hand.
- Hold your knees an inch above the ground and start doing the traditional bear crawl move.
- Bear crawl forward and back: As the name suggests, bear crawl forward and back includes a challenging movement of reverse crawling. This is a great exercise to work your core, shoulders, and wrists.
- Get down to your hands and knees and crawl forward.
- To complete the bear crawl forward and back, crawl backwards.
What are the benefits of bear crawl?
Crawls exercise is a highly effective movement that gives you much more than a strong core. Some of the most important bear crawl workout benefits include:
- One of the most important bear crawl exercise benefits is that it is a great way to build strength in your shoulders without having to lift heavy.
- Bear crawl benefits include building total body strength and endurance.
- Variations such as bear crawl forward and back and plank bear crawl is a great way to improve your balance, coordination, agility skills, and visual vigilance.
- One of the best bear crawl benefits is that it gives you a good cardio workout. This adds to your strength and working as a great weight loss exercise, it helps prevent the risk of heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, etc.
- One of the most important bear crawl benefits is that it helps build a six-pack ab.
- Amongst the best bear crawl workout benefits is that it helps people with lower back problems. It prevents postural problems and reduces pain and stiffness.
- Except when you choose to do dumbbell bear crawl, you don’t need equipment to do this exercise. All you need is a wide space. This makes it a great choice for workouts at home.
- As is evident from all its variations such as bear crawl hold, DB bear crawl, and plank bear crawl, this exercise can be modified for people of different age groups and fitness levels.
How to do bear crawl safely?
Here is how to do the bear crawl exercise safely:
- If you have a history of pain or injury in your hips, shoulders, or wrists, check with your doctor before doing this exercise.
- To minimise injuries, learn the correct bear crawl technique from an experienced trainer.
- Stop exercising immediately if you feel pain, nausea, or dizziness.
Whether you are a beginner or have advanced exercise experience, everyone can benefit from this exercise. The key is to keep your practice dynamic by trying out bear crawl variations. This is a great way to keep yourself engaged and gain the benefits of this amazing exercise.
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