Despite its childish name, bear rolls are serious contenders when it comes to developing a strong core, improving functional movement and increasing overall fitness levels. And you don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership to enjoy its benefits.
Whether you’re a fitness fanatic looking to add a challenging twist to your routine, or a beginner looking for a simple yet effective workout, the Bear Crawl has it all. If you’re bored with the gym’s best treadmills and stationary bikes and you’re looking for a new challenge, the Bear Crawl is a full-body workout that works multiple muscle groups at once, including core, shoulders, arms, and legs. Enhances strength, endurance and coordination. One of the best smartwatches he’s unlikely to be an exercise recommended by one, but great for learning.
With the help of NASM-certified fitness coach Wendy Butts, we delved into the proper techniques for performing the Bear Crawl to maximize effectiveness while minimizing the risk of injury. We’ll also cover the many benefits this exercise can bring to your fitness journey, from building a strong core to improving your posture and balance.
MSc Wendy Batts is a Regional Master Instructor at the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and Assistant Professor in the Exercise Science Program at Pennsylvania Western University. She is also a consultant to companies in the fitness, performance and wellness sector.
How to Do a Bear Roll: Step by Step
Bear crawling is pretty easy, but it gets a little more difficult when you focus on doing the moves with proper form and technique. Butts gave a step-by-step guide on how to make a successful bear crawl.
- Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly under your shoulders, your knees under your hips, bent about 90 degrees, and your toes pointing straight down to the floor or pulled down.
- Keeping your spine in a neutral position so that your spine isn’t too arched or too rounded, keep your shoulders steady off the floor and lift your knees off the floor an inch or two.
- While maintaining a hovering posture, extend one arm and the opposite leg forward at the same time. Repeat this reverse arm and leg movement on the other side as you crawl forward to soften the contact between your hands and feet.
- Maintain your posture throughout the movement. Keep your spine and hips square to the floor to avoid rotation. Be careful not to let your head drop, your back arched or rounded, or your shoulders slumped. Make sure your toes are pointing straight down and your fingers are always pointing straight ahead.
“Once you get the hang of forward crawling, as you progress, you can incorporate different directions and planes of motion into the mix,” says Butts. Some examples include:
- Reverse crawl: Reverse the action of the opposite arm/leg and crawl backwards to return to the starting position.
- Flat: Using the same opposite arm and leg motion, extend your arm and leg to the side and crawl to your side. Reversing the pattern will return you to the starting position.
- Horizontal/diagonal crawling: Using the same opposite arm and leg motion, extend your arm and leg at a 45-degree angle and crawl diagonally. Reversing the pattern will return you to the starting position.
- And once you’ve mastered the multidirectional crawl, you can add resistance to make it even more challenging. One way to do this is to wear a weight vest to increase the total weight required for the move.
Benefits of Bear Crawling
It turns out that incorporating the bear crawl into your workout repertoire has myriad benefits beyond piling up the “calories burned” counter on the best fitness trackers.
First of all, bear rolls are underrated when it comes to core strengthening exercises. As you crawl across the floor, your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and deep spinal stabilizers, must work together to maintain stability and prevent sagging in your lower back. The unique movement pattern of the bear roll is often unattainable with traditional exercises and stresses the core.
What is this unique movement pattern? Now, bear crawling falls under the category of quadrupedal movement training (QMT), according to a study published in the journal, Strength and Conditioning Research Journal, QMT is effective in improving overall movement quality and dynamic balance.research in human exercise science The journal also shows that QMT improves active range of motion and mobility in the shoulder and hip joints, making bear crawling a valuable exercise for improving flexibility and mobility.
“The back-and-forth cross-body pattern loads the abdominal and back stabilizer muscles in a unique way because each time you extend the opposite arm and leg at the same time, a rotation occurs,” Butts explains.
“All crawl patterns are great for challenging and developing the muscles that stabilize the shoulders and scapula,” she added. scapula (shoulder blade). “
Finally, as I touched on briefly before, the simplicity of this move can’t be beat. This exercise requires no equipment and relies solely on your body weight, making it easy for anyone to do anytime, anywhere.
Avoiding bear crawl failure is key if you want to experience the full benefits of this dynamic exercise. We’ve identified some common mistakes when walking bears, so you can avoid them.
- too fast at the expense of proper form and technique
Bear Crawling can be as challenging as you want. The challenge of this exercise is increased by taking slow, deliberate steps to minimize collateral movement of the hips and torso.
- too fast
It’s okay to gradually incorporate the bear crawl into your training regimen. It’s best to start with a few time- or distance-based sets before your strength training or cardio sessions and incorporate these workouts into your warm-up process. This equates to about 20-30 seconds of crawling each time.
- Inability to keep body low enough or hips too high
When fatigue sets in or attention to form wanes, hips often stick up while crawling, reducing stress on the core and upper body. Ideally, you should maintain a low body position as if you were crawling under a low table.
- drooping hips and shoulders
This mistake puts undue strain on your lower back, increases your risk of injury, and minimizes the work of your abdominal muscles. Maintaining a stable, level posture is essential for targeting desired muscle groups and increasing optimal strength and stability throughout the body.
- Poor coordination between upper and lower body
When doing the bear roll, move the opposite arm to the leg instead of the same arm and leg. This latter form impedes whole-body movement and reduces exercise effectiveness. Opposite arm and leg movements are essential to develop and improve overall stability, coordination and functional strength.
We hope you feel fully prepared to crawl on all fours to strengthen your core muscles and crawl towards a stronger, more resilient self. Bear rolls are a powerful addition to your fitness arsenal, but remember that a regular mix of exercise and workouts is essential to achieving the best results and continuing your progress. Other exercises, such as plank pushups, are also a great way to work your core and shoulders for similar results.