Posted on October 21, 2022
If you're a child, professional athlete, or somewhere in between, I would highly advise adding some form of crawling into your training program.
Thankfully crawling has grown in popularity thanks to people advocating primal movement and starting to get back to where we were at our most mobile as babies. Have you ever met a baby with back pain? How about a toddler with tight hips? Considering these and other ailments seem to be a common side effect of ageing, do infants and toddlers hold the secrets to being forever supple?
It's important to note that many factors make infants and children mobile and devoid of the aches and pains that many adults experience. Some fundamental movements they perform regularly help 'grease the groove' to create strength, stability and mobility. One of the key ones is crawling. I try and add as many different types of crawls or primal movements into my training programs. If you are starting, I would suggest bear crawling and crab walking. The crab walks seem to be the least favourite, and you'll find out why once you do them yourself. So why is crawling so good for you? Here is a list of why you should add crawls to your training program.
This is one of the main reasons why you shouldn't wish your kids to walk straight away. Crawling is a contralateral movement pattern that happens when limbs on both sides of the body have to move simultaneously. This takes a lot of information from the brain to the limbs and helps develop new neural connections and activity in the brain. This can lead to improved coordination, learning and evenviour in kids and adults.
IT HELPS YOUR HANDS
Crawling helps develop the muscles in the hands and strengthen the wrists in positions you can't achieve when exercising on your feet or lying on a bench.
IT HELPS MOVE THOSE SHOULDERS
Unfortunately, becoming an adult often relates to sitting at desks and chairs. Joints that don't move become stiff, painful and unhappy. Additionally, the muscles around inactive joints become weak and unable to stabilise and mobilise properly. Other forces are often recruited to do the work. Crawling requires the scapulae and other joints involved with shoulder movement to move in a pleasing pattern. At the same time, a small amount of compression is placed on these joints while supporting the upper body against gravity. This slight reduction is often enough to fire proprioceptors that reignite muscles involved with stability and mobility. The result is more mobility, less rigidity and less pain.
IT'S ALL BODY MOVEMENT
It's not just the shoulders and hands, it engages your calves, quads, glutes, deep abdominal muscles, and muscles in your hips and feet. When you crawl right, you actively engage all these muscles, and it won't take long to find out how hard you are working.
CRAWLING BUILDS STRENGTH FOR REAL LIFE
Unlike many traditional fitness moves, crawling involves moving - and that's important. Compare it to the classic plank, for example. Plank is a great way to engage your core, but in life, we also need an active and robust body when we move. Also, those with poor core stability will display a pronounced 'wagging' of the hips as they crawl. This could indicate many things, but it is excellent to identify them.
YOU DON'T NEED A GYM TO CRAWL
You can crawl anywhere, even in a small space. Crawl forwards, backwards, sideways or any other way you can think of. You can make it fun by crawling with the family, having races with gym partners or time yourself. As you can see, the crawl pattern packs a lot of bang for its buck if done correctly. Make sure your body is engaged, and there is little movement of the hips. It's important to note that while the crawl pattern can be an effective movement pattern, it's not for everyone.
Those with stiff wrists, painful knees or other movement pain crawl with caution and build your movement up slowly. Even hold a crawling position at the beginning and progress to small movements. Get the whole family back to basics and start crawling.
ARTICLE BY Gary WallaceGary Wallace, the founder of CORE Kids has been writing blogs for the past ten years, sharing his knowledge and wisdom on all things coaching, health, fitness and mindset. This is all part of his vision of inspiring millions of people to live happy, healthy, more fulling lives.