“You’re such an animal!”
Snap: Come back to reality. That’s what we all dream we hear when we’re at the gym, but today I’m going to show you how to become an animal…
Animal Crawls and Walks: Not Just for Kids
I’m talking about animal crawls or walks. These fun and challenging movements are not only for children; they can be a much-needed and useful change of pace in the gym. When you transform into an animal, you challenge your mobility, stability, coordination, proprioception, conditioning, and strength in these creative total-body exercises.
Dr. Evan Oscar has talked about how most training protocols today call for fixing the spine and moving the limbs around that fixed spine. This is all fine and dandy, but it can create a tight rib cage, t-spine, and thorax, as well as poor lumbopelvic coordination — which can lead to a whole mess of problems. Dr. Oscar points out that when we begin to explore our movements as babies, we fix our limbs and move our torso/spine around those fixed limbs.
For instance, let’s say you fix your right shoulder and right leg. These two joints ideally should be centrated within the joint socket to provide maximum stability and great joint integrity. The left side now moves around these fixed joints and now the torso and spine must move, bend, and rotate instead of always being fixed. This “opposite” training style allows you to challenge your body in a different manner, and challenge coordination, timing, and rhythm.
So get your transformation on, and morph into these animals.
We all the know the traditional bear crawl, but there are some specifics to know. Specifically, I classify the bear crawl as moving opposite arm and leg simultaneously. This is excellent contralateral work as well as a great challenge for the upper body and torso.
Assume a push-up position, and move laterally. Your arms can cross, but not your legs. Don’t let your hips sag — we’d much rather see your butt in the air a little bit than your hips sagging.
This is the exact same as the bear crawl except the same side arm and leg move together. This creates a more unilateral challenge on the torso and demands overall coordination.