Exercise: Bear Crawls
Great for: warm up, coordination, core strength, shoulder strength.
Do: Get on all fours, then just hover your knees above the ground. Crawl using opposite hand/foot. Keep your core braced and relatively still.
Do: When going backwards, take smaller steps with your feet (so that your hands can keep up!)
Don’t: Raise your butt up in the air, or bring your knees to your elbows as you crawl.
Harder: backwards is more challenging for most people!
Bear crawls are a pretty straight-forward movement in that the name says it all: you’re crawling forward and backwards, using the strength of your arms, legs, and core. But it does require a little more focus in some areas. When performing the movement, you want to step forward the hand opposite from the forward stepping foot. This is a small but great way to work on coordination skills. Additionally, the crawling form is a great way to brace and work the core, and also condition and strengthen the quads. In any kind of skating, we tend to burn out our legs–quads specifically–so need that sort of lower body conditioning. And as for the core strengthening, that lends to better overall stability in skating, whether you’re trying to spin off coping in a skatepark, or land an apex jump in a derby bout.
This move is deceptive. It looks pretty simple, and it basically is, but it’s truly challenging! It will work your central nervous system, because walking on all fours, in opposition, is just not something we do every day. Great for building coordination and getting your proprioceptive brain working in high gear. Your core should be doing most of the work in this one – you’ll be bracing your trunk to keep it stable and relatively motionless while you switch between left arm/right foot and right arm/left foot supporting you! Finally, your shoulders and your quads will also be feeling the burn – this is great for all the blockers doing a lot of bracing out there!
Hot tip: When going backwards, make sure to take small steps with your feet, otherwise it will be really challenging for your hands to keep up! Also, for tortoises AND for bears, slow and steady wins this race.
When to do this: During warm-up for on-skate or off-skate training; or at the end of a workout for an extra punch of effort!
Sets/Reps: Try 3 to 5 sets of 20 yard crawls with short (10-20s breaks in between. If you have less space, I’ll let ya do your own math…