The Mammal: Bear crawls (pt. 3)


This is the third and final segment in the Mammal Series. We are going to really dial up the requirements on the vestibular and motor system of our bodies on these two movements. We are engraining the cross crawl patterns in one of my favourite body weight exercises, the Bear Crawl (with a slight modification it can also be known as Spiderman Crawls). This exercise places huge demands on the receptors of the hands, feet, hips, pelvis, spine and shoulders. This exercise should only be performed when the fourth video in the opposite arm leg series of the Mammal part 2 can be done well.

Bear crawls are one of the staple exercises I use with almost all my Tour pros. Once you have built up a foundation within your motor control and vestibular system these movements really awaken the body by requiring the whole system to function as one single unit to dominate the cross crawl patterns. By the time you do a good set of the 2 versions of Bear Crawls in this section you will find your core engaged, your balance improved and body awareness much greater than it was prior to the start of the set. I can’t say enough about these exercises. A great neurological reboot and a prodigious cardio workout as well!

What I want you to note in the video for both the backwards and forwards Bear Crawls is that the butt is not sticking up into the air. Some people like to do a modification of this exercise in that position. I am not a fan of that type of alteration to the exercise. I would rather see you trying to keep as flat as possible between the head, back and pelvis. Really try to feel some length between your tailbone and the crown of your head.

Also, the arms and legs should be moving at the same time so that the right foot and left hand touch the ground simultaneously as does the left foot and right hand. If you are struggling with the co-ordination of this movement try regular crawling on your hands and knees first (just make sure you do it on a padded surface or on grass).

Video 1: Forward motion in the Bear Crawl

Video 2: Backward motion in the Bear Crawl

The majority of you will find the backwards bear crawl to be more difficult. It is very important to really push off and drive the movement from the arms by pushing the ground away from your body with a focus on creating a line of action between the ground, your hand and your shoulder.

I like to play with these exercises. Once the movement becomes relatively easy in both the forward and backwards direction try completing circles or figure 8s. IN these types of exercises you are still performing the cross crawl pattern but now the length of stride will be different from one side to other which provides a different and unique challenge.

Once you have the forward and backwards Bear Crawls mastered you are ready to move onto the Primate / Human Section of the Fundamental Series. These exercises will focus on improving your ability to perform hip hinging and activation of your posterior chain.

Final Thoughts

In the Primate Section we will learn to move from our back into a full standing position and how to squat into a full squat. Both of these are imperative to completing a full reboot of our system.

Take Home Points:

  • Arms and legs should move at the same time for both the forward and backwards versions of the Bear Crawl;
  • Forward Bear Crawl;
  • Backward Bear Crawl;
  • Take small steps with the Backward Bear Crawl but ensure a strong drive into the ground with your hand

2014-15 PGA Tour Dates


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