Bear Crawls are one of my favorite exercises that stresses the entire body metabolically. I also will utilize it in a warm up. Much like the Turkish Get up, it hits a lot of the areas I’m looking to warm up and prepare for exercise and will do it in a condensed amount of time.
Sadly, Bear Crawls can get out of hand quickly. What I mean by that is they can be compromised if they are rushed. The most common movement compromise I have seen with the Bear Crawl is the hips being much higher than they should be. Below in the first video, I’m demonstrating the high hip Bear Crawl which essentially eliminates any core involvement which is unfortunate because one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Bear Crawl is the core activation required to perform it effectively. With the hips elevated, more stress is placed on the wrist and shoulders.
The Bear Crawl should work to or be performed as I demonstrate in the second video. A spine that is parallel to the floor. Opposing arms and legs move together (right arm left leg and left arm right leg). Shorter strides are important in the Bear Crawl to ensure good core activation and weight balance between all 4 limbs. I will often coach my clients the Bear Crawl while balancing a stick on their backs. The stick cannot fall and this indicates good core control and weight balance. Try this small fix with your Bear Crawls for a higher quality of movement.
Ben Warstler, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, USAW-2
Ben, former owner of Fortitude Fitness Systems, INC (Bens Bootcamps) for 12 years is returning to his roots in rehabilitation. Ben graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle with a degree in Athletic Training in 2001. Ben also is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon.
Expanding his Sports Medicine skill at Amherst College for 2 years working with 40 varsity athletic teams, Ben moved more into the strength and conditioning field but has always pulled on his athletic training background. He enjoys seeing his clients realize their potential and break through previously thought barriers in their movement and abilities.
Ben, originally from Maine, moved to Vermont in 2005 and lives in Lyndonville with his 4 children, and wife Nedah. In his free time Ben enjoys refurbishing furniture, spending time with his family, and being outdoors.