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Opinion

Why You Should Add Crawling To Your Warm-Up and Workout Routine

Contrary to the belief of time-constrained lifters, stretching and warming up are not the same thing, and passive stretching is not enough to ready the body for weightlifting. A proper warm-up increases your body temperature, prepares you for general activity, and then activates the specific muscle or muscle group the workout will target, says Grayson Wickham, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., founder of Movement Vault.

“The biggest mistake is to go into a lifting session without preparing your nervous system, muscles, and joints for the demands you are going to place on it,” says Wickham. The result, he says, is increased risk of injury. But a good warmup does more than prevent injury, it also helps you perform better in the weight room or box. Which is why Wickham has his athletes go through a dynamic warm up, which by definition is a warmup that gets your body moving. “A proper dynamic warm up will hit the entire body and whole nervous system. Which is why my go-to for myself and my athletes is crawling,” he says.

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CRAWLING SERIES PART 4 ✅ . 💡Are you living and moving the way we have evolved to live for thousands of years? On a micro scale, is your mobility work/training/movement evolving everyday? ⛈ . 🔥 Today we are going to keep it short and sweet. 🍭 . 💥 Crawling progressions will help you increase your mobility and stability. . 💥 Crawling progressions will help you move better. . 💥Crawling progressions are awesome core/abs/trunk stabilizer exercises. . 📚 Previously in the crawling series, we talked about the importance of crawling, why everyone should be crawling, how crawling changes the mechanics of the shoulder joint, and a lot more! Check out previous posts. . 💡 Today we are going over the fourth crawling progression. This progression advances the progression we went over yesterday. We will now take the pike position crawl, and move forward and backwards for distance and locomotion. . 🔑s: 1️⃣ Get on your hands and feet. 2️⃣ For this Crawl, keep your arms and legs as straight as possible. You should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings in this pike position. 3️⃣ The goal is to move your opposite leg and arm at the same time. 4️⃣ When moving, push through the palm of your hand, while engaging your shoulder blade muscles, as you propel forward or backwards. 5️⃣ Your midsection muscles a.k.a. your core, should be engaged throughout the movement. 🤸‍♀️ Follow the video for visuals. . 🥊We will be going over multiple progressions, as well as multiple crawling techniques in future posts. Stay tuned and get the 🍿 ready! . 💰Share the knowledge. Tag a friend! . Movementvault.com will be launching very soon! Visit our website for more details and to sign up to be notified when we launch! Movement Vault will help you increase your mobility without the guesswork. . #movementvault

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What Is Crawling

Crawling is a multi-joint, close-chain locomotive exercise that requires reciprocal movement patterns, engages the entire body, and prepares the whole body for movement, Wickham explains. When we were babies, we crawled around until we were strong enough to stand on two feet. But once we graduated to walking we never really looked back. But it turns out that spending time on the floor as an adult as part of an exercise regime can make you a better athlete overall.

Top 6 Benefits of Crawling

1. Incredibly Efficient

Crawling is an incredible bang for your buck: it will point out your weaknesses, highlight your strengths, and can be used as a diagnostic tool all while activating the whole body for the rest of your workout. All kinds of crawling engage your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulder, abdominal muscles, and all muscles in your hips and feet. By combining the different kinds of crawling and moving forwards, backwards, and laterally, you can hit nearly every muscle in your body. Moreover, you can work through these movements slowly for strength, stamina, and flexibility, or you can do them explosively for speed, power, and agility.

2. Increases Coordination

Crawling requires coordination between your upper body and lower body, which is hugely important for almost every activity we do at the gym. When we walk or run, our bodies create an X-shape, where the opposite foot and hand swing forward simultaneously. We don’t even think about it when running or walking. But when we move to all-fours the ground, most of us have to relearn that movement pattern. Most athletes make the mistake of stepping their right hand and right leg forward, and then left hand and left leg, until they’re able to correct their pattern to keep the opposite hand and leg moving together. Most are surprised that they have to make such a conscious effort to coordinate their hands and feet to move in reciprocal movement patterns. But with practice comes increased bodily coordination.

3. Improves Mobility

Crawling requires both stability and mobility of the shoulder, which most people can improve upon, explains Wickham. If you can increase the control you have over your scapular movements and improve shoulder stability, you will undoubtedly see improvements in most of your upper-body movements like the bench press and push-up, he adds. Plus, for athletes with tight runner-hips, crawling will over-time lubricate joints in the hip that take on a lot of repetitive stress in running. The result of better-lubricated hip-joints is a stronger, more efficient running and walking pattern.

4. Increases Stability

When you crawl, walk or run, the stabilizer muscles in your spine and pelvis light up to keep your torso from rotating. The more control and stability you have over your spine and torso, the easier it will be for you to improve your movement mechanics for lifts inside the gym. For example, explains Wickham, the deadlift, squat, clean, and snatch all require core strength and stability.

5. Activates The Central Nervous System

Crawling also trains your central nervous system, increasing your kinesthetic awareness and core control. This is such a valuable benefit because the nervous system is the master regulator of the body. If it senses instability, it will put on the brakes to avoid injury.

6. You Don’t Need A Gym

Whether you’re using crawling to warm up for your lifting session or as a workout, it’s not something that has to be done at a gym. You can do it when you’re playing with your pet or child on the floor. You can do on the grass outside your house, for example.

3 Different Ways To Crawl

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CRAWLING SERIES PART 2 ✅ . 🔥Short version: work on your crawling patterns to squat, snatch, sprint, jump, and basically perform every movement better! Did I mention you will dominate! . 👶Typically most of us begin to crawl when we are 9 to 18 months old. So why do we lose this innate ability? It all boils down to the way we live and move day-to-day. We are stuck behind desks, in front of computers, and sitting all day. Our movement turns to 💩. We lose the basic ability to move in efficient reciprocal patterns. Here's a question for you: if we lose the ability to crawl correctly, how are we supposed to squat, snatch, run, cut on the football field, (fill in the blank of every movement), correctly? . 💥When we bring it back to when we were nine months old, and work on the foundation of movement aka crawling, a lot of the dysfunctional aka 💩 movement patterns that we all have, start to look a lot better! . 💡Yesterday we went over the first progression in the forward and backward crawl. Today we are advancing the crawl by stringing together the movements we went over in yesterday's post to propel us forward and backwards creating locomotion. . Channel your inner silverback 🦍 or ape! . 🔑s: 1️⃣ Get on your hands and feet. 2️⃣ For this Crawl, your back should stay relatively parallel to the ground. 3️⃣ The goal is to move your opposite leg and arm at the same time. 4️⃣ When moving, push through the palm of your hand, while engaging your shoulder blade muscles, as you propel forward or backwards. 5️⃣ Your midsection muscles a.k.a. your core, should be engaged throughout the movement. 6️⃣ Continue to move opposite arm and opposite leg as you prepare yourself forward into locomotion. 🤸‍♀️ Follow the video for visuals. . 🥊We will be going over multiple progressions, as well as multiple crawling techniques in future posts. Stay tuned and get the 🍿 ready! . 💰Share the knowledge. Tag a friend! . Movementvault.com will be launching very soon! Visit our website for more details and to sign up to be notified when we launch! Movement Vault will help you increase your mobility without the guesswork. . #movementvault

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1. Bear Crawl

The bear crawl is a cardiovascular and total body exercise that targets the shoulders, glutes, hip flexors, abs, calves, chest, forearms, groin, hamstrings, middle back, obliques, triceps and lats.“To begin forward bear crawling, get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your keeps. Then, crawl forward by taking small steps with your right arm and left leg, and then left arm and right leg,” Wickham says.

As you begin moving forward 6-10 inches at a time, try not to arch your back too much, turn your hands out slightly for increased stability, and get your form right before picking up speed. “Quality over quantity or distance for all crawling is key,” says Wickham. While forward bear crawls are most common, you can also move backward and laterally, which will activate the shoulder slightly differently.

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CRAWLING SERIES PART 5 ✅ . 🔥We are getting 🦀 crabby today! Yes we got enough sleep and had our cocao in the morning. We are talking about crab walks! . 🔥 Crab walks are a great full body mobility and stability exercise. They demand reciprocal coordination, "core" and glut activation, and next level shoulder mobility and stability. Perform these on their own for distance and multiple sets or as part of a warm-up. . 💥 Look at all of that shoulder anatomy! There are 4 muscles that make up your rotator cuff. In order for optimal shoulder performance and health, it is crucial for these muscles to activate properly, while allowing full range of motion at the shoulder. . ☀️ Crab walks demand a lot of shoulder extension and are a good way to work on closed chain (meaning your hand on the ground) end range shoulder extension in a way that a dumbbell or barbell can't. . Get 🦀 y! . 🔑s: 1️⃣ Start with your hands pointing toward your feet. 2️⃣ Focus on keeping your hips as high as possible throughout the movement. 3️⃣ The goal is to move your opposite leg and arm at the same time. 4️⃣ Your midsection muscles a.k.a. your core, should be engaged throughout the movement. 🤸‍♀️ Follow the video for visuals. . 🥊We will be going over multiple progressions, as well as multiple crawling techniques in future posts. Stay tuned and get the 🍿 ready! . 💰Share the knowledge. Tag a friend! . Movementvault.com will be launching very soon! Visit our website for more details and to sign up to be notified when we launch! Movement Vault will help you increase your mobility without the guesswork. . #movementvault

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2. Crab Crawl

The crab crawl is a total body exercise that targets the shoulders, abs, biceps, chest, glutes, middle back, traps, triceps and hamstrings.“Like the bear crawl, the crab crawl is a great way to activate the whole body and shock the central nervous system into alert. Plus, it really works the chest, abs, triceps, and hamstrings,” says Wickham.

To begin, sit down with your butt on the ground and palms on the ground, fingers facing towards your feet. Then raise up so that only your hands and feet are touching the ground. Begin to walk on your hands and feet backwards so that  one hand moves, then the other with your feet following. As you walk, don’t allow your butt to slump down. The goal for the crab crawl is to stay controlled and tight throughout your entire body.

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CRAWLING SERIES PART 3 ✅ . 🔥 Today we are talking about the joint by joint approach (JBJA) and how it applies to crawling. See picture above for a visual of the JBJA. The JBJA is a way that we describe each joint in the body and how they move and work independently and together. . 💥The JBJA classifies a joint as either a mobile joint or a stable joint. The mobile and stable joints typically alternate. For instance your wrist is a mobile joint, your elbow is a stable joint, your shoulder is a Mobile joint, and shoulder blade is a stable joint. Now all joints need to have varying degrees of mobility and stability, so this is just a general rule. . 🥇 Here's where the crawling comes into play. When we put our hands on the ground, this is now called a closed chain exercises. When we start to move a.k.a. crawl on the ground, these rules reverse for the shoulder blade (for the most part). The shoulder blade now becomes more of a mobile joint and shoulder becomes more of a stable joint. This makes the muscles around the shoulder blade work in ways that a barbell and/or dumbbell don't. . 💡 Today we are going over the third crawling progression. This progression is similar to the first one we went over, however we are going to be in more of a pike position. . 🔑s: 1️⃣ Get on your hands and feet. 2️⃣ For this Crawl, keep your arms and legs as straight as possible. You should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings in this pike position. 3️⃣ The goal is to move your opposite leg and arm at the same time. 4️⃣ When moving, push through the palm of your hand, while engaging your shoulder blade muscles, as you propel forward or backwards. 5️⃣ Your midsection muscles a.k.a. your core, should be engaged throughout the movement. 🤸‍♀️ Follow the video for visuals. . 🥊We will be going over multiple progressions, as well as multiple crawling techniques in future posts. Stay tuned and get the 🍿 ready! . 💰Share the knowledge. Tag a friend! . Movementvault.com will be launching very soon! Visit our website for more details and to sign up to be notified when we launch! Movement Vault will help you increase your mobility without the guesswork. . #movementvault

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3. Pike Crawl

The pike walk is a alternative, calisthenics, and pilates exercise that targets the abs, chest, hamstrings, lats, shoulders and glutes. “Because pike crawling emphasizes smaller range of motion (you should only moving 4 inches at a time) it is going to be way more demanding on your shoulders and scapulas, which makes it a great warm up specifically for shoulder-to-overhead movements like the push press or clean and jerk, and also handstand holds, walks, and push ups,” says Wickham. The goal for this movement is to keep your legs straight the whole time without letting your hips sag down, and to keep your core tight and engaged once you start moving.

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured image: @movementvault on Instagram

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