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Crawl for Strength

It’s how babies get strong. Could it make you strong, too?

You don’t remember learning to crawl as a baby, but it was an important part of your mental and physical development. Crawling helped make you strong enough to walk and then run. Since learning to walk, you probably haven’t crawled much since. New fitness trends, however, show that crawling may be a highly effective way to build full-body strength, mental focus, endurance, and improved posture.

The idea is that you should no longer think of crawling as an activity for babies. Get on the floor and try crawling for five minutes and you’ll see for yourself. You may feel silly and look even sillier, but nobody will laugh when they see your muscle and fitness gains.

Read on to learn the mental and physical benefits attributed to crawling and four crawling variations to incorporate into your workouts.

Good for Your Brain

You might not realize it, but crawling does more for infants than make them strong for walking. As you coordinate your right arm and left leg and then your left arm and right leg to move forward, side-to-side, and backward, different parts of the brain are activated and neural connections are made and strengthened. Communication improves between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The brain learns to process information and move the body in response. It sounds amazing, but crawling strengthens your sense of balance, sense of self-awareness, and coordination. Some call it a reset for your brain and nervous system.

Good for Your Body

Unlike many types of cardio exercise, crawling is low-impact. Easy on your joints, it’s one way to build strength without putting you at risk for injury. Not only is crawling easy on your joints, but the movements involved in crawling are also highly effective for building and strengthening abdominal, shoulder, glute, arm, hand, wrist, leg, feet, and back muscles. Because it’s a total-body exercise, you don’t have to worry about building muscle imbalances.

Just a few minutes of crawling are hard for many people to do. This challenging workout is great for your heart and burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time. One of the benefits you’ll receive from crawling is reflexive strength. Strong reflexes mean you’re able to anticipate movement and react to it as it occurs.

You’re born with a small amount of reflexive strength, and crawling as an infant played a key role in building that automatic, subconscious strength. The more developed your reflexes become, the stronger you become in mind and body.

Four Types of Crawling

There are quite a few different types of crawling you can try, but here are four of the most common. For variations, crawl forward, backward, and from side to side.

The baby crawl is your typical crawl, with your hands and knees on the floor. While performing this movement, keep your back flat and your head looking forward while alternately moving your right arm and left leg and then your left arm and right leg.

Some babies do the bear crawl. For this one, get on your hands and knees and then push your bottom up in the air. Keeping your arms and legs as straight as possible, move your right hand and left foot forward and then your left hand and right foot.

It takes more stability and core strength to do the tabletop crawl. Start on your hands and knees, then lift your knees off the floor and support your body on your toes. Keeping your knees close to the ground without touching it, crawl by moving your right arm and left foot and then your left arm and right foot. Engage your core so your hips don’t sway from side to side and your bottom doesn’t rise in the air.

For the crab crawl, sit on the floor and then hold your body up with your hands and feet so your belly is facing up. Keep your bottom off the floor and then crawl.
Which technique is right for you? Hit the floor and find out!

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