From naked yoga and twerking to jogging barefoot and running backwards, over the years, fitness enthusiasts have tried the most bizarre workouts to stay in shape and most of us, too, have aped them to get an envious body.
Now, there’s a new fitness trend that’s joining the ranks of weird workouts — it’s called crawling. No, this isn’t like a pub crawl! This exercise is inspired by the movements of babies and animals. Wellness and yoga guru Dr Anil Patil believes it engages the entire body, works the core and improves balance, coordination, strength, and agility. “It’s a fun fitness trend, which is gaining popularity because some consider it the best strength training exercise. It also improves memory and brain health.” According to fitness expert Ali Mirza, “Crawling exercises are multi-joint movements that emphasise the shoulder muscles, too. Good for your back, these can improve your walking pattern as they create coordination between the upper and lower body.” So, next time you hit the gym, don’t be surprised if your see people on all fours, crawling in an orderly fashion.
How the crawling craze began
The fitness trend started a year ago in Zhengzhou, China, where residents wore gloves and were seen crawling on their hands and feet in parks. It became popular because many believed that this was a practice that originated from ancient Chinese medicine and dates back to nearly 2,000 years in the Han Dynasty.
What kind of a crawler are you?
Crawling workouts aren’t child’s play. Depending on your health and fitness levels, here are the different types of crawls you can choose from:
- Baby crawl :This one is for beginners as it’s the most fundamental crawling pattern. Keep four points of contact with the ground (both hands and knees) as you slowly crawl forward. Move your opposite hand and knee forward at the same time. Keep your spine long and your core tight as you move ahead.
- Bear crawl: Once you’ve got the hang of the baby crawl, it’s time to take things a notch higher. Go down on your hands and knees. Lift your knees off the ground, balancing on your toes. Move one hand and the opposite knee forward simultaneously.
- Army crawl: Begin in a forearm plank position. Drag yourself forward across the ground on your forearms. Do not use your legs or feet to move ahead.
- The inchworm: Stand with your feet together. Bend forward and place your hands on the ground, close to your feet. Walk forward, using your hands, leaving your feet where they are, until you are in a plank position with your arms extended forward. Walk with your feet to your hands, leaving your hands where they are, until you end in a forward bend position again.
- Crab crawl: Sit with your legs bent and slightly spread and place feet on the ground. Put your palms on the ground behind you, fingertips facing forward. Lift your hips and butt off the ground, holding yourself up on your hands and feet. Move yourself forward, backward or side-to-side.
- Spiderman crawl: Also known as the lizard crawl, this is an advanced exercise routine. Start with the bear crawl position. As you bring your foot forward, drop the hips and chest so that they are close to the ground. Instead of simultaneous hand-foot movement, in this exercise, move your foot forward first, then your hand. Touch your body to the ground and keep your spine long as you slowly crawl forward.
Dr Patil cautions, “In certain crawling exercises, your hands and knees carry the burden of your body and you may start experiencing pain in your joints. So, it’s not advisable for old people and those with knee problems. Use knee pads if you’re doing the baby crawl. Try variations where you apply pressure on your feet rather than your knees. Crawling also should be avoided if you have wrist, shoulder or neck issues. Consult a health or fitness expert before trying any new workout.”