Tap into the Animal Kingdom with Crawl Variations

Below is a video I recently put together in which I demo various crawl variations we use at SAPT.  We originally began using them with the MMA fighters and wrestlers we train, but we quickly realized that quite a few of the variations are useful for other sports/populations, as well. Check out the video , and then I'll explain a few things.

You can see the video on the right, or view it here.

Why I like Crawls

  • You can do them almost ANYWHERE.  This alone makes them an extremely versatile training tool.  No gym membership or fancy equipment required.
  • They increase strength, endurance, core control, and overall body awareness (qualities that seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate among people).   
  • Crawls are a fantastic way to get in some GPP (general physical preparedness), either on your off days or at the end of a training session.  They are low impact and relatively easy to recover from.  
  • For MMA fighters and wrestlers, crawls are awesome for learning a few of the ground movements in sport.  
  • For overhead athletes, the crawls (particularly the side crawl, bear, and tiger) create a fantastic way to train their upper body musculature and promote shoulder health, even in-season.
  • They're fun.  'Nuff said.  I mean, how cool is it that you have an excuse to pretend you're a monkey??

How to Do Them

  • Perform each variation for 20-40 yards.  You can pick just a couple crawls, and perform multiple sets with 2-4 variations.  Or, you can perform 1-2 sets of all of the different types of crawls.  
  • One of the beauties of these is they're so versatile in terms of when you perform them.  You can do them at the end of a training session, on off days, as part of a circuit, or (if you're in pretty good shape) include them in your warm-up.  
  • As for the technical components, if you follow the instructions in the video you'll be good for the most part. 

For me personally, I've recently loved them for getting in some low-intensity aerobic training on off days.  I'll throw them as part of a circuit (again, low-intensity) with some other exercises that are around 30% and below my 1-rep max.  The crawls - along with a few other drills - help me work in the 130-150bpm heart rate range.  I'll discuss this in further detail in a future post, but this helps to stimulate what we strength coach geeks call "eccentric cardiac hypertrophy," which is basically increasing the size of the left ventricle of the heart.  For now, just trust this is a good thing.

Now go get your animal crawl on...