This week, a bear crawl was part of my workout plan for the first time. I wasn’t scared. With such a cutesy name, how tough could they be? I made the first set look like child’s play. But I’d soon come to find out this exercise wasn’t messing around. It’s safe to say this bear is no teddy.
The bear crawl looks pretty harmless at first, but watch out for its bite. “The bear crawl engages almost every muscle in your body and specifically focuses on your quads, legs, chest, shoulders, and core,” says Reid Eichelberger, head trainer at EverybodyFights in Philadelphia. “It can help improve your stability, mobility, overall strength, and endurance.”
Bear crawls are also a great move to do as a warm-up to strength training sessions, according to Nike master trainer Betina Gozo. “They activate your core and nervous system, plus they’ll get your heart rate up, increasing your body temperature so you’re primed and ready for your workout,” she says.
To make sure you’re performing bear crawls correctly, follow Gozo’s instructions:
How to perform a proper bear crawl
1. Starting with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, press through your hands and hover your knees off the ground at a 90-degree angle. Make sure you’re keeping your hips level and core engaged the whole time.
2. Maintaining a flat back and keeping your arms straight, pick your right hand up as you move your left foot forward, then do the same on the other side, moving forward slightly each time. Once you reach your prescribed reps, you can do the same moving backward, or even side to side.
Need a visual reference? Follow along with this video
To build up your strength even more, grab a kettlebell and do these arm-sculpting workouts. Then maybe try these stretches that promise to help you take your squats deeper.
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