Crawling for Core Stability and Coordination

Learning Something New

The post season and early off season is a great time to experiment with new training ideas. You can learn new movement patterns without the pressure of looking for results. Cross training or learning a new physical skill is a great way to keep they body active while giving your body a bit of a rest from its usual stresses.

In the spirit of learning something new, I recently met up with Andy Keller. Andy is soon to be one of the few level 2 parkour instructors in the US. Last year I met him and his friends as they were doing back flips in the park.

Unfortunately, we won’t be learning back flips today.  Here Andy will show us some variations of the fundamental movement pattern of crawling.

Why Crawling?

Crawling is the first complex movement pattern that we learn. Crawling is so important that it has been suggested that babies who cut short the crawling phase and start walking early actually end up with less scapular (back of the shoulder) stability as adults and a less coordinated movement pattern between the opposite arm/leg.  The opposite arm/leg coordination pattern is important in walking, running, and overhead throwing (hammers anyone?).

Crawling provides a truly excellent functional core workout. In crawling you are using the core to stabilize your spine while the limbs are moving. Completely unlike crunches and situps, this is the way the core works in athletic movements.

The Basic Crawl

Pushup Crawl

Excellent for developing upper body explosive power.

Monkey Walk

I love this one because it includes a rotational component.

Cat Crawl

Excellent for developing balance, strengthening the stabilizing muscles in the hips, and for grip strength. Overall great full body challenge.

Freestyle Crawling

Be creative, have fun, and learn what your body can do!

How to Incorporate Crawling into Your Training

1. In the Warm Up

Add a crawling variation to your pre training warmup routine. Crawling requires hip mobility and shoulder stability- two things you should prepare your body for every time you get ready for throwing.

2. On Your Active Rest Day

You need to move your body every day. Even on your rest days you shouldn’t be completely sedentary. Go to a playground or other area with obstacles to try some freestyle crawling. Have some fun and take a mental break from training while staying active.

3. As a core workout

Choosing 2-3 crawling variations makes a great substitute for my typical core circuits. Choose a circuit of 2-3 exercises for 15-20 yards each or as far as you can go. Stop if you cannot maintain a neutral lumbar (lower) spine.

 

Next time…

Stay tuned for my next installment where we’ll look at a few more parkour exercises for ultimate players and I’ll give you a complete parkour inspired workout!

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