3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

Crank up your core strength, coordination and mobility with 3 awesome Bear Crawl variations from STACK Expert Tony Bonvechio.

Try to name a sport in which athletes don't need a blend of core strength, hip stability and shoulder mobility. Go ahead, we'll wait.

That's right, you can't.

Every team sport and most individual sports require all these attributes, and few exercise train them as well as the Bear Crawl.

As simple as they seem, Bear Crawls are tricky. They build strength, coordination and mobility in all the right places, but only if performed correctly.

RELATED: Why Bear Crawls Are All The Rage

Here are three Bear Crawl variations to get your body in synch from head to toe.

Bear Crawls

This basic exercise is a good place to start for most athletes, but you can make it a little less challenging by keeping your hands and knees on the floor the whole time. Use them in a full-body warm-up or as a core exercise during an upper-body workout.

WATCH: Adrian Gonzalez Weighted Bear Crawl

Coaching Cues

  • Squeeze your glutes so your hips don't wiggle side to side.
  • Make a double chin so your head doesn't poke forward.
  • Press yourself away from the floor each time your hands touch down.
  • Exhale fully on each rep to keep your core tense.

Bear Crawl with Hover

This progression kicks things up a notch by adding a "hover" during each rep. Pause with your front hand and back foot a few inches above the ground, exhale fully and then complete the rep.

Coaching Cues

  • Start with small steps because of the increased difficulty.
  • Hold your breath during the hover to improve stability.
  • Imagine you're crawling in a tunnel—this will prevent unwanted side-to-side motion, especially during the hover.

Bear Crawl with Sled Tow

When you simply need to torture yourself (or your athletes, if you're a coach), adding a sled to your crawls can make an innocent exercise downright brutal. This variation shifts the emphasis from the upper body to the lower body, making it a perfect crawling exercise for leg day.

RELATED: Get Faster by Improving Your Core Mobility

Coaching Cues

  • Start far enough away from the sled that the chain and harness are taut.
  • Keep your hips above your hands for better lower-body leverage.
  • Imagine driving the floor away from you with your feet.

Sample Workouts

Here are 2 sample workouts (one upper body and one lower body) that incorporate Crawls:

Upper Body

Lower Body


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CORE | EXERCISES | WORKOUTS | MOBILITY | EXERCISE | PRESS | KETTLEBELL