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Crawling isn’t just for babies

If you’re a child, professional athlete or somewhere in between, I would highly advise you to add 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 so mobile and devoid of the aches and pains that many adults experience. Some key movements they perform on a regular basis, however, 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 just starting off 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 reasons why you should add crawls to your training program.

BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

This is one of the main reasons why you shouldn’t be wishing for your kids to walk straight away. Crawling is a contralateral movement pattern which happens when limbs on both side of the body have to move at the same time. This takes a lot of information passing from brain to limbs and in the process helps develop new neural connections and activity in the brain. This can lead to improvements in co-ordination, learning and even behaviour in both kids

and adults.

HELPS WITH THE HANDS

Crawling helps develop the muscles in the hands and strength the wrists in positions that you can’t achieve when doing exercise on your feet or laying on a bench.

HELPS MOVE THOSE SHOULDERS

Unfortunately, becoming an adult is often related to sitting at desks and in cars. Joints that don’t move become stiff, painful and unhappy. Additionally, the muscles around inactive joints become weak and unable to properly stabilise and mobilise. Other muscles are often recruited to do the work.

Crawling requires the scapulae and other joints involved with shoulder movement to move in a proper pattern. At the same time, a small amount of compression is placed on these joints while supporting the upper body against gravity. This small amount of compression is often just enough to fire proprioceptors that reignite muscles involved with stability and mobility. The result is more mobility, less rigidity and 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 too long for you to find out how hard you are working.

CRAWLING BUILDS STRENGTH FOR REAL LIFE

Unlike many traditional fitness moves, crawling actually 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 strong core when we move. Also, those with poor core stability will display a pronounced ‘wagging’ of the hips as they crawl. This could be an indication of many things but a good way to identify it.

YOU DON’T NEED A GYM TO CRAWL

You can crawl anywhere even in a small space. Crawl forwards, backwards, sideways or any other ways 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 it’s done properly. Make sure your body is engaged and that 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 inflexible wrists, painful knees or other movement pain should avoid crawling.

Get basic to basics, back on all fours and get crawling.[/vc_column_text]

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