Fitness Blog – Unusual Exercise Combinations 3

The exercise combination I want to cover today is the Crawl exercise combined with other movements. The Crawl exercise can be taxing enough as it is, but when combined with other movements can help in the conditioning for sports that involve ground movements, but is a great addition to general conditioning programs.

The Crawl has a few variations as it is, including the Bear Crawl where the limbs on one side of the body move in unison rather than diagonally-opposite as in the Crawl depicted in the photograph … or the Inverted Crawl where the body is facing upwards rather than downwards: but it takes more concentration to combine these movements as well as a large coordination factor.

I have found that teaching people to do the basic crawl movement challenging for some over the years in that they find it difficult to coordinate the limbs moving in the basic pattern. I also use the movement as a test in biomechanical functional evaluation. The photo above shows the correct starting position and if the movement is in a forwards direction you move the diagonally opposite and back arm and back leg together…alternating throughout the exercise. It sounds simple, and it is for some people while others mix the combination up until they understand the movements. Quite interesting because crawling is the first whole body coordinated movement we do as infants? If someone is having difficulty, I get them to try the movement using the hands and knees, rather than hands and feet to start with. 

It is a great movement to use in a circuit program, so I will describe a few variations you could try to add variety and increase intensity to the basic movement.

1. Crawl/Press Up: this is the simplest addition to the crawl in that you press your chest to the floor between crawling movements.

2. Crawl/single-arm Dumbbell Row: sometimes called the Renegade Crawl is done by holding a pair of Dumbbells and Row them one at a time to your chest as you move forward in your crawl. Again, it is simple but far more taxing than the basic movement.

3. Crawl in different directions: for those who find it difficult to coordinate the basic movement, crawling backwards and to the sides will be challenging, but worth persisting at.

4. Forward Crawl/Roll: in this exercise I don’t mean a forward roll (although this can be done, it is beyond most people to coordinate properly), I mean a Lateral Roll (to the side). This roll to one side between crawling movements, alternating the direction of the roll after every crawl forward takes a lot more concentration to set your limbs up properly between the rolling movements. Once coordinating the pattern of movements, is an interesting addition to your variations of the Crawl.

5. Jumping into the Crawl: this variation adds a power aspect to the movement in that you don’t just move into the subsequent crawling movement but jump into it (so that hands and feet become airborne between landings). It is far more taxing than the basic crawl.

6. Adding the Crawl into Multi-Combination Exercises: example…holding a pair of Dumbbells in the Crawl position, Press Up; Crawl/Row a number of times (2 – 8 times); Jump both feet forwards to Power Jump. This could count as a one exercise workout because it is very taxing, but I have added it to the end of circuits if someone requires a lot of intensity in their program…

There are other combinations that you may be able to think of but try not to change it so much that the Crawl disappears within the combination you do?

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