– Crawling

(see video below)

Imagine you have fallen (as in our hypothetical situation) and getting up from the floor without a prop is too difficult. In this case you are going to need to crawl.

In order to crawl, you need to be in quadruped position. Crawling may seem like a simple concept and may be easy for some (we will challenge you on this soon). Let’s start to crawl. This can be done two different ways: moving one limb at a time or moving the opposite arm and leg at the same time.

Let’s do it:

Start in quadruped position – Move one limb at a time as follows:

  • Left hand forward
  • Right leg forward
  • Right hand forward
  • Left leg forward

Repeat these steps over and over and get as comfortable as possible crawling forward

Crawling backwards

While you may not need to crawl backwards in a real-life situation, crawling backwards is good for your brain and for building foundational strength.

Start in quadruped position – Move one limb at a time as follows

  • Left hand backward
  • Right leg backward
  • Right hand backward
  • Left leg backward

Repeat these steps over and over and get as comfortable as possible crawling backward
Crawling forward progression

You crawled moving one limb at a time. Now, let’s crawl using reciprocal arm and leg movements as follows:

Start in quadruped position – Move two limbs simultaneously as follows:

  • Left hand and right leg forward
  • Right hand and left leg forward

Repeat these steps over and over and get as comfortable as possible crawling forwards using reciprocal limb movement

Crawling backwards progression

Again, while you may not need to crawl backwards in a real-life situation, crawling backwards is good for your brain and for building foundational strength

Start in quadruped position – Move two limbs simultaneously as follows

  • Left hand and right leg backwards
  • Right hand and left leg backwards

Repeat these steps over and over and get as comfortable as possible crawling backwards using reciprocal arm and leg movements

When crawling, try engaging your core. Pull your belly button in towards your spine. Add to this by lifting your pelvic floor muscles towards your head. If you are not familiar with the pelvic floor muscles, here is a way to find them.

This analogy usually makes people laugh, so I hope you laugh, because this technique works every time.

Imagine you have gas and you do not want to let it pass (perhaps you are in an elevator with your boss or with a client and you’re NOT going to let this gas pass). You are going to do what we call the do not pass gas squeeze.

This squeeze is the set of contractions you do when you will not allow gas to pass and it involves the engagement of your pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles are very much a part of your core. Engaging them simultaneously while drawing in the belly button towards the spine will create wonderful core stability and build core strength.

Let’s put this together and try a crawling progression. A crawling progression that challenges the core

To make sure you are forced to engage core muscles while crawling, we will add something into the mix.

Find a ball, preferably the size of a soft ball (although a lacrosse ball or tennis ball will work).
• Get into quadruped position and carefully place the ball on your back just above the belt line and over the spine.
• Next: without letting the ball roll off your back, start crawling by moving one limb at a time as we did previously
• Take your time and go as slow as you need. Pull the belly in towards the spine while doing the do not pass gas squeeze.

How did you do? It’s harder than it looks, right?

Let’s progress again
• Repeat crawling with the ball on your back, but this time, move two limbs at a time as we did previously
• Take your time and go as slow as you need. Pull the belly in towards the spine while doing the do not pass gas squeeze.

How did this feel? When crawling using reciprocal arm/leg movements, you are going from a starting position of four points of contact to alternating two points of contact. With the ball on the back, you are forced to engage a lot of core musculature. This will help to develop foundational strength. This is the type of strength you want to have in the event of a fall. Foundational strength will make these and upcoming movements much more manageable and help get you back to safety.

Crawling sideways

In a real-life situation, you may need to move sideways while on all fours. This exercise is good for the brain and will help develop core and foundational strength. Try the following:

• Start in quadruped position (and let’s begin by crawling to your left)
• Start moving to your left and experiment with different limb movement patterns to move sideways and to the left
• Remember to draw in the belly and do the do not pass gas squeeze

Next: as you continue moving to the left, try crossing the right hand in front of or behind the left hand. Then move your legs to the left with whatever movement feels best to you and reset the hands. Continue crossing the right hand over the left with each movement to the left

• The act of crossing the midline of the body helps to fire up the brain in a way that improves the connection between the two hemispheres
• Then, reverse directions and crawl sideways and to the right
• Repeat this pattern and master it

You can also progress this movement by placing a ball on your back as we did previously. This will force more engagement of core musculature as you attempt to move sideways without the ball rolling off your back.