Awww! Look! A little inchworm. He’s so darn cute.
No. This inchworm is not cute. This inchworm is a powerful strength exercise that trainers recommend. It works multiple parts of the body effectively. It’s hardcore. It’s intense. It’s not a children’s song and it’s not a little green bug. This is an exercise that will help even the most hardcore fitness enthusiast take their fitness up a notch.
Inch by Inch
The Inchworm goes back a long way, all the way back to the Sun Salutation in yoga. Its current form has been modified by the fitness world to go a little faster and have a little more focus on training the body instead of integrating the body and the mind. What’s stayed the same is the intensity of the exercise.
Every inch of the body is worked with this exercise. It works the abs, the glutes, the deltoids, the hamstrings, the biceps, the triceps, the abs, the pecs, the lower and upper back, the calves, and even the neck. Anything missing? Oh, yes, the fingers and toes are in there too. This is actually, patently, a whole body workout.
Going up and down, though it seems simple enough, is effective.
Up and Back Again
The reason this move is called the Inchworm is because it does look just like the motion of a little inchworm. If you’ve never held one, they are tiny little green cylinders with legs that bend at the middle to push their body forward, then stretch out again with every “step”. This is exactly what the exercise the Inchworm looks like, only without the forward motion.
No equipment is needed for this exercise except a space on the floor.
Get Your Inch On
To do this exercise, just follow these steps. You don’t have to sing the inchworm song while you do, but no one will judge you should you decide to hum along.
- Start by standing, feet hips’ distance apart. Check spinal alignment, rolling the shoulders back and aligning the hips, knees, and ankles.
- On an inhale, reach your hands forward and down, bending slowly. You should move with control as each vertebra ticks over.
- Exhale as you bend the knees slightly as your hands stretch forward and your palms push flat into the ground.
- Inhale, walking the hands forward slowly and pushing onto your toes to a plank position.
- Once the hands are under the shoulders, check spinal alignment again and breathe through the pose.
- Legs straight, exhale as you walk your feet forward towards your hands. There will be a distinct pull in the hamstrings. Exhale through to release the tension.
- When your feet are behind your hands, inhale as you roll up slowly and finish by rolling the shoulder back.
A Dynamic Bug
This exercise is a dynamic exercise that challenges the whole body. It’s become a favorite of personal trainers and in fitness classes because it does seem so simple, yet is challenging for the whole body. It’s particularly popular in bootcamp style programs.
Not only does this exercise challenge every major muscle group, it also serves as a great dynamic warm up to prime the body for other rigorous exercises. It’s perfect on its own too, but because it works the whole body, it’s a perfect warm up for just about any other kind of exercise.
No matter what your fitness goals are, the Inchworm can work for you!