“If all you can do is crawl, start crawling.” -Rumi
“The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.” -Swami Vivekananda
Crawling on the floor is AMAZING on so many levels. For most people it’s just the fact to get them moving. Crawling works your entire body all at once, not to mention it’s many neurological benefits. It works your stabilizer muscles like CRAZY and engages your “core” better than any sit-up or crunch. It trains your coordination and the connection between both right and left brain hemispheres, so you can expect to feel smarter afterwards. 🙂
Best of all?
You can do it practically anywhere at any time and there is NO equipment needed.
For many people this will be a strength AND endurance exercise at the safe time. So you are killing two birds with one stone! You will also notice a spike in your heart rate after a set of crawls, so cardio can be included in that too.
Sold yet? Yes? Ok great, let’s begin!
How do I Crawl?
As babies we learned to crawl and as adults we learned how to walk, and that’s how we developed our gait pattern. The trouble is we forgot how to do what used to feel so natural to us. We have literally lost the ability to move well on the ground. We are too used to standing and sitting, and as a result have developed a poor posture and a weak “core”.
Not to worry, it is fairly easy to re-acquire and results will come just as quickly. Before you know it, it will feel totally natural again and you’ll be crawling everywhere, I promise.
There are two main types of crawling:
1. Knees on the floor also known as the Baby Crawl, which is a Six-Point-Contact; hands, feet, and knees touch the ground.
2. Knees elevated also known as the Leopard Crawl, which is a Four-Point-Contact; hands and feet touch the ground.
Watch this video to get a better idea:
In the Baby Crawl, hands, knees and feet touch the floor as you are moving. You do not necessarily have to “lift” your leg as you step forward, but as an option can also “drag” your leg forward.
In the Leopard Crawl, the knees are elevated about ½-1 inch off the floor, creating as MUCH MORE challenging movement. You literally have to hold your entire body up.
When you crawl, you are fighting gravity by keeping constant tension in your muscles. Do not make the mistake of relaxing your abs. Take the HARDEST path which gives you the MOST resistance. For this to be challenging, you must be strict in your form. Look ahead with a “proud” chest and keep your back flat or “neutral”. Brace you abs at all times (that’s the point), but don’t forget to breathe!
Start by taking small controlled steps and go slow at first. Very challenging! Only once you get more coordinated you can go faster. You can go forwards, backwards, sideways, in place… Just play and have fun.
Take a look at what TO do and what NOT to do.
Here is what to do. Notice my alignment in each picture. The goal is to maintain this alignment throughout crawling.
Here is what not to do. Notice the loss of alignment in each picture. In the first, the neutral back is lost because the knee was brought too far forward. In the second picture, the hips stay side-to-side too much. Avoid these mistakes and keep it HARD and STRICT.
Directions: For this plan you will be Leopard Crawling 3-5 times per week on a flexible schedule. You may add this to your current training plan as “cardio” or follow it on its own.
Before you start the plan, you must take a baseline Rep Max (RM) test of your crawling capability. Time yourself with a stopwatch and crawl for as long as possible while keeping impeccable form. Stop before your form breaks down and focus on as many quality reps as possible and take a conservation estimate. If you do not have a timer, count the number of steps.
Let’s say that you got 32 seconds (or 32 steps). You will do sets with half, so 16 seconds (or 16 steps) for week 1-2-3 of the program. Say you got only 10 seconds (10 steps), you will do sets of 5…You get the idea.
The chart below refers to the number of minutes you will be crawling (and resting) for each day of the week. Week 2 Day 2 says 15 minutes. Set your timer for 15 minutes and start crawling. (Do only half the number of reps that you can manage if you went all out). Take between 15-30 (or more) seconds rest between each set. Play with the rest periods and adjust as needed. When the time is up, you stop. Comprende?
At the end of week 3, take a day off on Saturday then on Sunday test for a new Rep Max (RM) of Crawls (time yourself or count the steps). Use this new baseline for weeks 4-5-6. At the end week 6, take 2-3 days off and test yourself again to see how far you’ve come.
You will most likely be quite sore the first few days if you haven’t trained in a while…just ignore it and keep going.
Crawl like it’s your job, so do it first thing in the morning after your coffee.
Send your results to [email protected]
Week / Day
Subscribe to the Hardstyle Kettlebell Youtube Channel for more great instruction videos by Louka Kurcer!