How to Crawl to Get Stronger

We know what you’re thinking: grown men don’t crawl on the ground like little kids.

But the truth is, they should. Crawling is a movement pattern in the same way that walking and running are, and re-learning to crawl as proficiently as you did as a baby will pay big dividends for your overall strength and fitness.

“Guys work out in the gym” says Don Saladino, creator of the Men’s Health Superhero Shred program, “but then when they go to play soccer with their son, they blow a knee out because they haven’t primed their body to do athletic movements.” Adding some crawling patterns into your workouts can help prevent injury and boost athleticism. “Yes, I know there’s no crawling in soccer, golf, or other sports guys like to play, but crawling will translate to better performance in all of them,” says Saladino. “Crawling helps with core stability, which adds up to better posture, stronger hips, and a stronger lower back.” The practice also activates all your muscles so you’re ready for a productive, safe workout.

Saladino recommends integrating one of the following six crawling movements into your warmups, and rotating through all of them over time. Each time you step with an arm and a leg is one rep. Unless otherwise noted, do 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps on each side.

For each crawling pattern, tuck your tailbone slightly so that your pelvis is parallel to the floor. Maintain a long spine from your head to your pelvis throughout the set, bracing your core. Avoid twisting your hips or shoulders to either side.

Want to check out this workout, and all of Saladino’s other superhero-sculpting routines? You’ll need Superhero Shred. You can order the physical version of the program, or get it as part of our new All Out Studio streaming video on demand platform, available on iOS and Android.

1. Clock Crawl

Move in a counter-clockwise pattern, covering as wide an area as you have access to. When you’ve made one complete circle, reverse the direction.

2. Lateral Bear Crawl

Step out to your right with your right foot while your left hand moves in close to your right hand. Then reach your right hand out while the left foot moves in. Continue walking in one direction for reps, and then repeat in the opposite direction.

3. Bear Crawl

Crawl forward for reps, and then repeat backward.

4. Plank Walkout To Pushup

From a standing position, bend down and walk your hands in front of you on the floor until your body levels out in the top of a pushup position. Perform a pushup, maintaining your alignment as you lower your chest to an inch above the floor while tucking your elbows to your sides. Push back up, and then walk your hands backward to stand upright again. That’s one rep.

5. Superman Pushup Crawl

Step your right arm forward while you raise your left knee out laterally, and touch your left foot down. Perform a pushup, and then step forward with your left arm while raising your right knee. Each pushup is one rep.

6. Crab Walk

Sit on your butt and plant your palms on the floor behind you, fingers pointing backward. Place your feet flat in front of you and push through your heels to raise your butt off the floor. Keeping your hips elevated, crawl backward.

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