Bear Crawl

Crawling isn’t for babies. Crawling is practically its own sport.

The Bear Crawl has become hugely popular in the obstacle course circuit, with events like the Spartan Race and the show Ninja Warrior highlighting this odd-looking but incredibly fun and rigorous exercise. The Bear Crawl itself is kind of like a ninja, pushing the body hard without looking as hard as it is. 

Hands but No Knees, Please

The mechanics of the Bear Crawl are easy. All that’s necessary is to get down on the floor and crawl. This isn’t baby crawling, though. What makes a Bear Crawl a Bear Crawl is that you get down on your hands and feet instead of your hands and knees. Where babies get around on their knees, this is exponentially more challenging because it happens on the feet.

It might seem natural for a bear to do this, but people aren’t made like bears. Our legs are much longer than our arms, so we end up with our butts up in the air at odd angles. It looks strange, and a bit unnatural. That’s ok, because the point here isn’t too look good in this moment, it’s to work hard so that your body looks banging later.

Military Might

Bear Crawls come from military roots. This exercise became popular during training for soldiers because it’s so effective for building upper body strength while also improving coordination and flexibility. Sometimes in combat, it’s important to get from one place to another quickly, but low down. Bear Crawls are actually useful as combat technique to move fast and at a medium height.

Their popularity in military training is a reason they became popular in events like Spartan Races. 

The Bear Crawl helps to improve endurance as it’s a cardio exercise. Typically, Bear Crawls go for ten to twenty feet across a flat surface, back and forth at a quick pace. Flexibility is another boost from the Bear Crawl, and the core is actively engaged as well.

Variations on the Bear Crawl

Believe it or not, there are actually variations on the simple Bear Crawl. 

The first of these is the Lateral Bear Crawl. With this exercise, instead of going forwards, you go sideways. It’s almost like a crab walk but the feet don’t cross and the hands do. 

Up-the-Hill Bear Crawls involve getting outside and doing traditional Bear Crawls up a steep incline. This is a functional exercise that trains the body to get up a hill easily and effectively. The key to this exercise is to rely on the legs as much as the arms. 

Hover Bear Crawls are a simple variation that really increases the difficulty. Just pause when lifting each hand and hover has you fully exhale. It doesn’t sound like it would be that challenging, but it is. 

The Backwards Bear Crawl is another great variation. It helps to increase coordination, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. In particular, this move works the triceps and the hamstrings.

However you decide to try the Bear Crawl, you’ll be pushing your body and getting a great workout. Keep it fresh with variations, and crawling can help you get the body you’ve been looking for!

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