Bring the Crawl Back

Does anybody else love those “Leg Day” memes?  There are two categories of them:  Some remind you that friends don’t let friends skip leg day, while others laugh about a complete inability to move after squatting.  I don’t like to take it that far, but after those band resisted deadlifts on Friday, I was a little bit like Woody:


Muscle Soreness is a poor indicator of the effectiveness of a workout, especially for those guys who think they need to crawl out of the gym on Leg Day for it to be an effective workout.  Walking like a new born giraffe or feeling like you’re going to vomit don’t necessarily make a workout a good one, and it often means you went further than what was optimal.  BUT…

I get that sometimes once a week on occasion you’d like to go completely bonkers in the gym with high intensity, high volume, high duration training.  I get it buddy, you’re grown from Milo into Atlas, and you’re ready to release your inner Kracken.  History buffs will tell you that’s all one gigantic story, right?

Let’s talk about crawling.  It’s a great exercise to develop pillar strength, teaching you how to stabilize the muscles from your shoulders to your hips.  For the uninitiated, crawling is great for strengthening the shoulders, upper back, anterior core, and hip muscles.  The possibility for variations is impressive, and some even make it look creepy:


Alright, so that’s not crawling, and she’s an interpretive dancer, but that mobility is impressive!  There variations on crawling are endless, and you can incorporate lateral movements and hip lifts, spiderman crawls, and overhead reaches to utilize them as mobility drills as well.  Core stability and simple tweaks for mobility?  Sign me up!

Alas, we’re not talking about that.  We need a reliable way to leave the gym after squatting.

Enter the Bear Crawl.

The simplest crawling variation, bear crawling is what you did as a child, and you should bring it back.  It’ll allow you to squat and deadlift to your hearts content, and then leave the gym without the usual aches and pains.  Here’s an example:

Simple, right?

Is it a great core exercise?  You bet it is, Ms. I-Saw-This-Ab-Circuit-On-Pinterest-OMG-Why-Isn’t-It-Working.  Is it a great shoulder stability exercise?  Hell yes it is, Mr. I-Don’t-Pull-More-Than-I-Push. Can it become a great mobility circuit?  Oh course, Mr. I’m-Super-Tight-But-Hate-Doing-Anything-That-Resembles-Stretching-Or-Yoga.  That’s not why you want it.  You just want to be able to get home and crush some protein before the anabolic window closes, and your hard work is all for naught.

You’re Mr. I-Squat-Heavy-And-Hard-And-DOMS-Is-What-Makes-My-Training-Good.  You want to set your PR’s, get that pump, and get out of there.  If this is you, then crawling is your friend.  It will safely and reliably take you from the squat rack to the doorway, and it’s up to you how you want to move after that.

*If you want to do this for your abz, shoulders, or mobility, you’re awesome too.



2 Replies to “Bring the Crawl Back”

  1. Love it. Although the spider girl and her extreme hyper-mobility are making me anxious.
    ” Ms. I-Saw-This-Ab-Circuit-On-Pinterest-OMG-Why-Isn’t-It-Working.” LOL.

    1. When I first found that gif I was horrified, but I saved it just in case it would come in handy. #Success.

      I’ve used some of Scott Sonnon’s TacFit strategies to try to limber up, and they feel awweeessssooomme. It makes for great recovery work or creatively driven cardio.

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