Frog Hops Open Your Hip Flexors and Massage Your Spine at the Same Time

Photo: Getty Images/Peathegee Inc
Yesterday, I was crawling all over the floor at Willspace Movement, the new workout studio in New York City's West Village. The class was instructed to do all types of animal-like crawls—no matter how weird or embarrassing—in order to get our bodies moving. But it was the frog hops specifically that made me say "ahhhhhh" rather than "ughhhhhh."

If you don't watch National Geographic documentaries about amphibians on the reg, frogs sit very low in a respectable ultra-deep squat, legs out wide, then use their front arms (are they called arms on frogs?) to reach far in front of them, stretching out long, and then using their leg strength to jump forward into another squat position. It looks and sounds intimidating, but when I actually got onto the floor and tried it for myself, I was surprised by how good it felt.

Frog hops have a lot of benefits for your body. "They condition the wrists, ankles, knees, and hips—specifically, the tendons and ligaments within the joints," says Will Torres, trainer and founder of Willspace Movement. "Frog hops, or crawls, work to open the hips and ankles, while strengthening your legs and lower back."

Getting down into the wide squat feels really good on my hip flexors—prying them right open. Then reaching out onto the floor pulls my spine, giving it a tasty stretch slash massage. Torres says that you should begin in a deep squat, which means hamstrings-to-calves—but if that's not accessible, modify by allowing your heels to lift to sink into the hips. "Reach both hands forward flat on the ground until you're almost in a quadruped position, keeping your hips as low as possible," he says. "Transfer weight into the arms while keeping them straight, and with the hands flat on the ground, jump back into the deep squat."

The goal is to jump with your feet outside your hands, like a legit frog. Torres says to repeat for distance or reps: "We recommend at least 10 jumps or about 30 feet for one to three rounds as a warm-up ahead of moves like loaded squat work or locomotive work," he says. I'm a newfound frog hop fan, and I'm very jealous of how nimble frog's hip flexors are. #Goals.

Animal workout moves are the best workout moves: Try bear planks to make your whole body roar, and the inchworm exercise to get your body primed for movement. 

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