Tutorial Thursday #40 – crawling

‘What’s with the strange topics in the aerobis Tutorial Thursday?’

Well, you should also turn your attention towards the more basic topics. If you want to train functionally you have to challenge your body in all of its possible movements. Especially when it comes to locomotion. We tend to move mostly upright and with the help of our legs alone. And obviously this makes sense. Ok, ok, many of us more often than not use four wheels rather than their legs but that is another topic. Or isn’t it? You see, this could be the reason why they completely unlearned a basic way of moving: crawling!

Tutorial Thursday 40  crawling 1
Sweet like a baby, strong like a bear with crawling

In the beginning…

We we are new-born babies our main activities consist of eating food and recycling it into our diapers. We don’t move much, we just lie around all day and get carried by our parents. A state of pure luxury. But if we want to develop we have to discover the world. We can’t do this while lying around, at least only to a very limited degree. So the next step would be crawling.

To be able to crawl we first have to master the turn to get from our backs to a face-down position. This is an interesting exercise that I have seen and tested in many primal move workshops and similar events. It seems crazy that we don this far too less as adults. Granted, we rotate from one side to the other every night and every ten minutes. But that’s not the same. As adults we have learned to use our arms and legs to push off and shift the centre of our body. As a baby, however, we can’t do that yet. As a baby you have to do it this way: rotate torso, move your head back, and lift your arms and legs up in the air to shift your center of gravity. Sounds like quite a challenge for a little body with such a young musculoskeletal system. If you are unsure how it looked when you did this as a baby here’s a video that shows this movement pretty well.


So far, so good

The face-down position is a milestone in our development. From here we can lift and turn our head to see more of the world. Our environment seems gigantic now. There are so many interesting this to see. Well, just to see… is not enough!

We want more!

So we have to change our position. The actual crawling movement stands at the end of a development. Only crawling enables us to move relatively quickly with manageable effort.It is actually kind of sad that we unlearn crawling at some point in our childhood. We almost completely forget about it. In the daily work with my customers I can see that most of them have a really hard time moving on all fours. They lack mobility and strength. Thus, you should definitely implement crawling into your workout more. Crawling improves core strength and strengthens the shoulder girdle and leg musculature.

But how?

Crawling is only effective if it is done correctly:

  • position yourself on all fours (place your weight on hands and knees)
  • your arms are straight, hands are below the shoulders, and the knees are below your hip
  • your head is an extension of the spine (you are looking directly at the floor) and the shoulders move away from your ears
  • shift your weight onto your toes and lift the knees slightly above the ground
  • move the right knee towards the right hand
  • it stays 2-3 cm above the floor
  • simultaneously, move the left hand forward
  • pay attention to your pelvis and your shoulder girdle: they should stay steady and always parallel to the floor
  • repeat with your left leg and right hand
Tutorial Thursday 40  crawling 2 Tutorial Thursday 40  crawling 3 Tutorial Thursday 40  crawling 4

Sweet like a baby, strong like a bear

Crawling is the perfect warm-up or corrective exercise. It activates the whole front of your body, strengthens your core, and the spine is fixated in a perfect position. You are almost bound to tense your abs. Just try it! And don’t feel stupid during. We have all done it as babies. Back then we even looked sweet while doing it! And your strength will also increase when you crawl regularly.

You can only win.

get functional!
Your Fabien

Author: Fabien Mpouma

Fabien is bachelor of arts sportscience (DSHS) and since his studies he is working in the sector of health- and rehabilitation sports. He was course instructor for several institutions in the field of rehabilitation and mental and physical disease. He has a lot of experience in prevention with adults, youths, and children. He worked as regional manager for Outdoor Gym and now as a Personal Trainer and Foodcoach. Since 2014 he is Manager for Training & Education and Head Coach for aerobis. In 2016 he opened his own facility for Personal- and Grouptraining in his hometown Siegburg. Stay in contact with Fabien by sending him an email

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