Once you've mastered this exercise you’ll want to include it in every workout; the benefits are impressive.
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Why You Should Utilize the Bear Crawl
The bear crawl has similarities to the plank. The positions are similar, but you’ll be moving as you exercise. This means that bear crawl variations can work your core, shoulders, arms and your glutes. You should feel its affects across your entire body.
In essence the bear crawl can be viewed as a mobility exercise which builds strength and your core. It is difficult to say exactly how many calories you’ll burn doing bear crawls but a good average is 100 calories for 10 minutes of exercise.
The bear crawl is actually a complex motion exercise, which means you'll need a good level of core strength to do it for any length of time. The bear crawl will also improve your balance as your mobility is tested through the crawling motion.
In short this is a great warm up before your workout or even a fun activity in your downtime.
The Basic Bear Crawl
The starting position for the basic bear crawl is to drop down into an ‘A’ frame position. In essence this is hands flat on the floor just in front of your shoulders with arms straight. Your feet should also be almost flat on the floor with your legs straight. These should be approximately a foot behind your hips.
If you struggle to get straight legs then feel free to bend them at first. The issue will probably be down to tight hamstrings. Practicing the bear crawl will help to loosen these up.
Start slow by moving your left hand forward a few inches. Follow this with your right foot, the same amount of distance. Then move your right hand followed by the left foot.
Once you've gone forward several feet or as far as you can go in the space available, reverse the movements and do your bear crawl in reverse.
You don’t need to do this fast!
Bent Arm & Leg Bear Crawl
The Bent Arm & Leg Bear Crawl is one of the best bear crawl variations for building tricep strength and giving you a deeper workout.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the starting position is the same but your arms and legs are slightly bent. The best way to get this right is to start in the standard bear crawl position and then bend your arms and legs just a little.
You can then walk forward and back in the same way as the standard bear crawl; left hand, right foot, right hand, left foot.
It’s important to keep the distance the same for all hands and feet; to keep the tension in the right place.
Sideways Bear Crawl
The sideways bear crawl is a double variant of the bear crawl.
The basic principle is to move sideways instead of front and back. You’ll still need to alternate your hand and feet but you simply place them to the left or the right of you instead of in front and behind.
You can try these bear crawl variations with your arms and legs straight or with them bent.
Sexy Bear Crawl
The sexy bear crawl is a great name and hard to forget. It basically involves adding a twist to your bear crawl in the manner of a salsa dancer. Again you’ll need to get into the A frame position to start the basic bear crawl.
The big difference is when you move your feet, you’ll also rotate your hips.
Start by moving your left hand forward. Then move your right foot forward and to the left. You are basically walking it through your own body and you should move it as far as you can. Then move your right hand forward and twist your left foot forward and to the right.
The movement should make the top half of your body appear to go straight forward while the bottom half of your body is going to the left or the right.
Of course you can do this exercise in reverse as well.
Jumping Bear Crawl
It’s best to do this once you've mastered the basic bear crawl and perhaps some of the other bear crawl variations. This is definitely a more advanced version.
You’ll need to start in the standard A frame position; preferably with straight legs and arms.
When you’re ready lift your left hand and your right foot and move them forward several inches at the same time. Repeat with your right hand and left foot. This places more emphasis on the core and your balance as you’ll only have one foot and one hand on the ground at any time.
Stationary Bear Crawl
If your space is severely limited or you just fancy trying some different bear crawl variations then you can always try the stationary bear crawl.
You’ll need to start in the same basic bear crawl pose as all the other bear crawl variations. When you’re ready lift your left hand and right foot of the floor; but do not move. Hold this pose for several seconds before lowering them back down and lifting the other foot / hand up.
This sounds easy but you’ll be surprised how difficult it is to hold this position without swaying.
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Start With The Bear Crawl Today
This is a great exercise for fun, especially when you’re looking for something to do with the children that will improve your fitness and theirs. It’s also good to do as a warm up.
The key is to have fun with this exercise; if you need a little more inspiration regarding how to do this then check out this video. Once you’ve mastered the basis you can try your own bear crawl variations. Just don’t forget this should be a part of your sessions. You can get more inspiration regarding the best workout by checking out this free 24-minute workout.
If you enjoy doing this then you should join the FF30X today. You’ll find a wide array of other exercises and an array of healthy eating tips. Best of all you’ll find other men who have created their own bear crawl variations. You can share yours and try theirs; making staying healthy fun!
Your new friend & health coach,
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how do the bear crawl.