4 Bear Crawl Variations That Build Total-Body Strength

STACK Expert John Papp offers Bear Crawl variations to help you build strength and stability in your core, shoulders and glutes.

Crawling isn't just for infants. With slight variations, the Bear Crawl is a great way to strengthen your core, shoulders and even your glutes. Try these Crawls during your next workout to build strength and stability. Also, note that all the variations below can be performed forward, laterally or in reverse. Watch the video for a demonstration of each variation.

Bear Crawl

Bear Crawl

This isn't the Bear Crawl you do in football with your butt up in the air moving as fast as possible. This is the most basic Crawl movement, used in all the variations below, so pay close attention:

  • Get into a push-up position.
  • Tuck your knees up under you so they are directly under your hips.
  • Keeping your back flat, slowly crawl forward one step at a time.
  • The movement should be slow and methodical.
  • Try to maintain a flat back as if there were a glass of water on your back and you can't spill it.
  • Keep this position and go for distance or time.

Mini-Band Bear Crawl (Wrist)

Mini-Band Wrist Bear Crawl

Grab a light mini-band and put it around your wrists. Get into the bear crawl position and make sure to keep your hands apart the whole time. This variation will crush your shoulders and your core.

Mini-Band Bear Crawl (Legs)

Mini-Band Legs Bear Crawl

Grab a mini-band again, but this time go a little bit heavier. Put it around your legs just above the knees. Perform the Bear Crawl the same as above but keep your legs apart. The constant tension will burn up your glutes just as if you were doing Lateral Band Walks.

Weighted Bear Crawl

Weighted Bear Crawl

Assume the bear crawl position with a plate on your back and perform the basic Bear Crawl. With this variation, it is extra important to prevent rotation; otherwise the plate might fall off your back. It's best to use a large bumper plate instead of a smaller metal plate to distribute the weight more equally.

Watch the video above for demonstrations of each exercise. Give them a shot! As always, check out my Instagram and YouTube for content uploaded daily.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock