Want to feel like a kid again? Act like one. Get down on the ground, baby, and crawl! Crawling exercises help increase functional strength and flexibility. Incorporate it in your life, and you might be able to get down on the floor to help your kid finish his Death Star Lego set with ease or beat the dust bunny across the floor before it settles under the couch.
From a technical perspective, crawling develops coordination and builds stabilizer muscles in the back, arms, hips, core and more. Strength gained through crawling exercises can help ward off back and shoulder pain and dysfunction. Some physical therapists say it can provide a “reset” to regain body balance if one or more muscle groups is over-compensating for weaknesses. Some of the more advanced techniques can lead to serious strength gains.
You can crawl anytime during a workout or just on a whim for a few minutes during the day. No need to dress the part. (Please!) Crawling is supposed to help your entire body, not hurt. Choose variations that won’t make your joints pitch a fit. Engaging in a Basic Baby Crawl from the couch to the kitchen on your hardwood floor might kill your knees and wrists. However, doing the Baby Crawl on a soft surface could make you coo. All crawling exercises are not created equal. There are many ways to scoot along in different planes of direction.
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5 Crawling Exercises To Raise Your Fitness Level
1) Basic Baby Crawl
Get on all fours with your back as flat as a table top. Coordinate lifting opposite hand with opposite knee to move forward. Once you’ve moved forward a stretch, move backward with the Baby Crawl. Try it side-to-side too, while lifting the same hand, and the same leg.
2) Toe Crawl/Bear Crawl
Get in a push-up position. Bend your knees a bit and stay low to the ground as you move forward. Go backward and side-to-side too.
3) Crab Crawl
Sit down. Place the soles of your feet on the ground with toes pointed straight ahead. Put palms on the ground and lift your hips into a bridge. Lift opposite hand with opposite foot and move forward for a stretch, then backward. Then, move like a crab! Go sideways right and left by lifting the same hand, the same leg.
4) Bear Crawl/Run with Sliders
Get on all fours with sliders (or small towels) under your hands. Lift your hips and run forward while pushing the sliders. Move backward.
5) SEAL Crawl with Sliders
Put sliders under your feet. Get into plank position. Keep your legs together and your body flat. Walk your hands forward without “fish-tailing.” Try moving backward too! It’s tough. No tantrums.
Even though babies make it look easy, they weren’t born crawling. Babies spend ample time laying on their backs staring at the ceiling. So, swaddle yourself with kindness and remember there is a learning curve. Give your body time to adjust to these foundational movements. Click here to watch a video on these and other crawling exercises.