Friday, June 2, 2017
One Animal To Rule Them All
I don't believe that one exercise/program/playout is the end-all-be-all to where if you did one exercise that would be it and anything else would be inferior. There is one exercise however that is so simple yet has been a staple in multiple sports, games and conditioning programs for practically centuries and continues to stand the test of time. It is without question The Bear Crawl.
This exercise alone has been proven to burn fat, build muscle and build strength, endurance, conditioning all at the same time. Some of the greatest athletes on the planet have done bear crawls in their lifetime. The objective is to get on all fours and start moving whether slow or fast. There have been different variations throughout the years but it still has made an impact than any other animal movement.
There have been camps where athletes were doing sprints on two feet and didn't really like it not because it wasn't good but because it was too boring so teachers or maybe even drill sergeants had them doing bear crawls instead and after maybe a couple sprints or more these athletes got a wake up call and decided the two footed sprints were better. What's the point to this? When you sprint on all four limbs, you are hitting practically every muscle in your body from the shoulders all the way down to the legs. You're working the arms harder than before, you need all four limbs to be in balance otherwise you can fall over and your core is activated the entire time in order to stabilize you.
The bear crawl is a favorite of mine when I do my own training and gets me going when I need it the most. It has been a classic conditioning exercise for those in wrestling and if you ever practiced this in a wrestling room you know why. It gets you huffing and puffing faster than you can say "Holy Grizzly Adams Batman" and it is an exercise that has you building loads of growth hormone and testosterone. Think about it; a bear weighing in prime age around 700-1500 lbs. moving at speeds close to 35 mph at a height of nearly 11 feet, that's some serious speed and muscular power. When a grown man at 200 lbs. does this at his top speed it lasts even less than a full 100 meter sprint. Our legs are the strongest in the human body so when you even attempt to make your arms that way, think how strong you'll be on the mat, in the cage, on the football field and on the diamond?
It has put some of the very best begging for mercy and for good reason. It's simple, easy to learn because for one it's one of the first things we learn as babies; in order to walk, we crawl first, on our bellies using our hands then on our hands and feet, then on our feet. It is an exercise that takes us back to our childhood, crawling on all fours and making noises like an animal and never knowing it was a good thing for us just by playing. It helps us rid of back pain, strengthens our joints, stretches our legs and gives us a signal if we have weak wrists. It goes beyond exercise; it is a move that helps us live a healthy life and teaches us balance, coordination and using our brains. When you walk in this position you also have your head going downward which can bring blood flow to the brain, it takes strength to lift up the neck and strengthens the neck muscles.
Go do some bear crawls and start out slow, get use to be in the position and make it work for you. Go a little faster as you get better and play around with it. Make it a part of your daily life even if you're over the age of 40, 50 and beyond.