As part of a training session for a competitive sport, bear crawls present numerous challenges. In this exercise, you must move your body efficiently forward, backward or sideways, while supporting yourself on your hands and feet. This deceptively simple exercise requires balance, coordination and strength. Without the proper technique, bear crawls can be almost tortuous. Efficient movement makes them almost enjoyable.
Check your coordination. In forward and backward bear crawls, the opposite arm and leg move at the same time. If you move your right arm forward, your left leg moves forward as well. In sideways bear crawls, the arm and leg on the same side of your body move simultaneously. At no point should your hands or feet cross.
Initiate the movement with the part of your body nearest the direction of the movement. For example, if you are moving forward, think of reaching forward with your hands. When you are moving backward, reach backward with your feet.
Support yourself equally with both arms and legs. While it's tempting to let your legs carry more weight since they are larger than your arms, for balanced and coordinated movement your body weight needs to be evenly spaced.
Drop your hips and spread your legs a bit wider that hip-width apart. This widens your base of support so it's easier to maintain your balance.
- As you work to improve your bear crawls, slow down the pace for a couple of workouts while you verify that you're using the proper technique. While you're working at a slower pace, also check that your movements are smooth, not quick and jerky. When you speed up your bear crawls, you should notice an improvement.