The exercise you should be doing

Moves You Should Be Doing: The Bear Crawl

It might look odd, but the move builds and strengthens your core and helps improve your back

Now, this is an exercise you never see anyone perform in the gym, ever! We literally can’t remember the last time we walked into a gym and saw someone crawling around on the floor! Can you? But perhaps you should.

The Bear Crawl is a move designed to strengthen your stabilising muscles in your core which in turn helps to maintain back health. It is also much harder than it first looks, too! We’re going to break down the bear crawl and offer you some ways of changing it up to get you started crawling today.

How To Bear Crawl

Get onto all fours, keep your back straight (imagine a plank) and then push up onto your feet and hands. Keep your knees as low to the ground as you can in this position and then lift your right hand and left foot and move them forwards, then your left hand and right foot forwards etc. Depending on your space you might have to only take a few steps and then head backwards. To go backwards, just the same in reverse, keeping as low with your knees as possible.

Keeping your knees low can be really challenging. If it’s too difficult, lift your hips (and knees) up higher and that’ll make it easier for you. But if you can, try some lower and then as you tire move up into a higher position.

You can progress this further to add lateral movement, so going side to side. Exactly the same concept, just moving in a different direction. This is great to make your training a little bit different and more exciting from the standard forward/backward motions.

Weighted Bear Crawl

Weighted Bear Crawl. Click for other variations.

Once you’ve mastered the bear crawl, and you’re finding it rather easy, you can add some weight to make the move a little tougher. Ideas from us include dragging a kettlebell in front of you (although don’t go too heavy), holding on to some dumbbells as you perform the crawl or simply getting someone to add a plate on to your back. Another option is to perform the bear crawl with a weighted vest if you can find one in your gym.

Give these a go and see what you think. You might look a bit weird doing it, but we promise if you do these right you’ll see they aren’t all that easy!


About Author

Olly is the Short Motivation fitness and training advisor. He is a level-3 PT instructor, specialising in TRX and kettlebell instruction, and manages his own gym in the United Kingdom.