Many parents ask, “Should I encourage my baby to crawl?” Especially if their child seems more interested in walking as an early mode of movement rather than crawling.

But skipping the baby crawling on hands & knees stage may cause your child to miss some important developmental boosts – both mentally and physically.

Baby Crawling Importance

Research has shown that baby crawling increases hand-eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills (large and refined movements), balance, and overall strength.

Crawling Age: When Do Babies Crawl?

The crawling age starts as early as 6 months but can be delayed by an additional 4 months or more. If Baby is nearing the crawling age, it may be time to consider the following development benefits of crawling and ways to help Baby crawl.

Crawling Baby Brain Development: Criss-Cross Crawling

There are two main types of baby crawling: belly crawling and hands & knees crawling. Unlike belly crawling, which relies on coordination of the same-side leg and arm when fully mastered, hands & knees crawling requires coordination of opposite-side limbs. This is called contra-lateral or cross-lateral (crossing sides). This movement sequences diagonally through the body as the crawling baby reaches forward with one hand while her opposite knee follows.

Why is criss-cross motion important?

There’s an important pathway between the brain’s hemispheres—a band of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. The criss-crossing of movement of baby crawling on hands and knees through the body supports this criss-crossing of information in the brain. That is, crawling helps develop this band of nerves that allows the hemispheres of Baby’s brain to communicate with each other.

Dr. Carla Hannaford explains in her book, Smart Moves: Why Leaning Is Not All in Your Head, “Cross lateral movements, like a baby’s crawling, activate both hemispheres in a balanced way. These activities work both sides of the body evenly and involve coordinated movements of both eyes, both ears, both hands and both feet as well as balanced core muscles.”

“When both eyes, both ears, both hands and feet are being used equally, the corpus callosum orchestrating these processes between the two hemispheres becomes more fully developed. Because both hemispheres and all four lobes are activated, cognitive function is heightened and ease of learning increases.”

What happens when crawling baby can then combine upper-lower and side-side coordination in her body? She can move diagonally (crossing sides). Additionally, with the spinal axis giving her an up and a down, she will now be able to move any way she wants – three dimensionally.

The Ability to Cross Midline

That is, to move a limb to the opposite side of the body. This is important for reflex integration, daily function, vision, hearing, and learning.

  • Spine rotation: Crawling necessitates a twisting coordination through the torso.
  • Strengthens the lower back in preparation for being upright
  • Prepares the ankles for the bending and straightening needed later in walking
  • Strengthens hand-eye coordination because it requires Baby to reach with her hands

Crawling Prepares the Hip Joints for Standing and Walking

Crawling helps organize and shape the hip sockets. As Keith Mankin, MD notes, “The muscle function starts to reshape the hips. As the hips reshape, pulled inward and forward by the muscle function, they become stronger and better positioned to lift the body and to start forward propulsion. And ultimately, these functional changes lead to increased strength and balance which lift the child upward into stance and walking.” (source)

Crawling on Hands & Knees Supports Reading Skills

All this integration of brain halves, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination helps prepare the brain and body for reading.

Crawling supports learning, creative problem solving, and brain function in general—so it’s also beneficial at any other age!

Do Creative Crawling Options Count?

Some babies crawl with one knee and one foot or scoot on their bottom. These babies very wisely found a solution for getting around!

However, these options actually indicate that they’re having difficulty coordinating or weight bearing on both hands and both knees. There are many reasons why this can happen, from both internal and external influences.

So, when one of these is their only option, they can miss out on some of the benefits of crawling. If your baby is moving creatively, there are fun, nonjudgmental, noninvasive ways to encourage hands and knees crawling!

But Some Say Crawling Isn’t Important

You may hear this. It’s sometimes stated for the simple fact that crawling on hands & knees doesn’t always happen these days—so if babies aren’t doing it, it must not be important. However, there are a few current parenting trends that can contribute to the inhibition of reflexes and typical motor development in general, such as propping in exersaucers or upright holding devices. An increase in the skipping of crawling points to these and other factors—it doesn’t indicate that crawling is not important (source).

Dr. Hannaford explains in her book, “We have known for years that children who miss the vitally important crawling stage may exhibit learning difficulties later on. Baby crawling on hands and knees, a cross-lateral movement, activates development of the corpus callosum. This gets both sides of the body working together, including the arms, legs, eyes (binocular vision) and the ears (binaural hearing). With equal stimulation, the senses more fully access the environment and both sides of the body can move in a more integrated way for more efficient action.”

How to Help Baby Crawl (at any stage)

There are some things you can do from the beginning, as well as at any stage, to help baby crawl!

• Provide your baby with as much floor time as possible. This will give her freedom to explore her movement. It will be extra enticing if you join her on the floor!

• Allow her to discover sitting and standing completely on her own in order to help baby crawl. This will build adequate strength and coordination needed for supporting herself on hands and knees.

• As much as possible, avoid keeping your baby held directly upright in sitting and standing either by propping devices or by hand. This will help prevent her from developing excess tension that can make crawling harder and can even encourage scooting.

• Notice if your baby arches a lot, doesn’t want to curl into a ball and cuddle, doesn’t use both arms or legs, prefers to sit rather than move around on her tummy, habitually rolls long distances, may skip a milestone, or doesn’t seem to be interested in moving. These can be signs that respectful support could help provide your baby with more freedom of movement.

• Lastly, when helping your baby crawl, always listen to your gut feelings, even if you’re told not to worry about it or that your baby will grow out of it. Baby crawling on hands & knees is profoundly important. There’s no rush for a crawling baby to stand and walk. Allow baby to crawl for as long as she will, without “walking” her, until she chooses to walk on her own.

  • Author
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Eliza Parker

A certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator, Aware Parenting Instructor, Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner, and trained Feldenkrais® practitioner, Eliza Parker respects babies as whole people who enter the world knowing how to communicate, learn, and self-heal within relationship. Her Conscious Baby practice employs a unique approach to baby-led milestone development and attunement to non-verbal cues and crying.

Latest posts by Eliza Parker (see all)

  • Why is Baby Crawling On Hands & Knees Important for Development? – December 27, 2017

Steps Toward Crawling

Between six and ten months old, most babies are really starting to move. At first they may get up on all fours and rock back and forth—like a rocket at countdown, waiting to take off. But unlike a rocket ship, little ones might stay in “countdown” mode for a weeks before they are ready to start moving. The process of learning to crawl is actually pretty complex. Babies need to coordinate the movement of their arms and legs, and develop the muscle strength in their arms, shoulders, and legs to support their weight.

How Babies Learn to Crawl

A baby’s first jump forward might actually be a scoot backward. As babies figure out how to do that arm-leg-arm-leg crawling movement, they sometimes go backward first, and then learn how to crawl forward. So, for a while, babies might cry in frustration as they somehow finds themselves scooting away from the very object or person they are so determined to reach.

The process of learning to crawl differs among babies as they work out a way to move that is unique to them. Some ways babies learn to move:

  • The “I’ll Have the Usual”
    This is the classic crawl—alternating hand on one side and knee on the other to go, go, go.

  • The “Crab”
    Just like at the beach, the “crab” bends one knee and extends the opposite leg to scoot forward.

  • The “Commando”
    Look out, this crawler lies flat on her belly and drags herself forward using her arms.

  • The “Rolling Wonder”
    Who needs to crawl when rolling gets me where I need to go?

  • The “Take It in Stride” Kid
    Some children skip crawling and go right to walking. No time to waste—here I come!

There’s no right or wrong way to crawl. As long as a baby is making progress in his ability to use his body to get around, that’s what is important.

How to Support Your Baby’s Crawling Skills

The process of learning to crawl differs among babies as they work out a way to move that is unique to them.

  1. Give your baby plenty of tummy time, starting from birth. By playing on their bellies, babies develop the muscle strength in their shoulders, arms, back and trunk (torso) that helps them learn to crawl.

  2. Encourage your baby to reach for the toys she is interested in. Lay interesting toys at just a short distance from your almost-crawler. See if she is able to move herself toward these objects.

  3. Make sure your baby has space to explore that is safe and supervised. Now is the time to begin child-proofing your home. Take a walk through (or better yet, a crawl-through) your home and see what potential hazards may be at your baby’s level.

  4. Place the palms of your hands behind your child’s feet when he is on all fours. This stabilizes him and gives him something to “push off” from when he is just learning to crawl.

What to Avoid

  • Baby walkers.
    Not only are they potentially dangerous, they limit practice time on the floor learning to crawl. Walkers can also hamper muscle development.

  • Spending lots of time in baby seats and baby carriers.
    Babies learn how to crawl, and later pull up to stand and then walk, when they have plenty of time each day to play, move, and explore.

  • Pushing your child to learn to crawl.
    Pressing a child to develop a skill he isn’t ready for can actually slow the learning process.

When Should I Worry?

As with most developmental milestones, it is “normal” for crawling to happen at any point across a fairly wide span of time—anywhere from 6 to 10 months of age. (Remember, some children skip crawling altogether!) Also, if a child is a bit bigger or heavier than is typical for his age, he may crawl later as it is more challenging for babies to push up onto all fours and move their extra body weight. Babies who were born prematurely may also crawl later.

In most cases, there is nothing physically wrong with babies who are slow to crawl. They may just be busy working on other skills that are more interesting to them, like learning to use their hands to figure out how objects work. They may prefer to sit and explore the world visually or by touch (with their hands), instead of exploring through movement. Remember, babies, like adults, have different preferences and interests.

Contact your child’s health care provider if:

  • You notice that your child is using only one side of her body to crawl (she pushes off with only one arm or drags one side of her body as she scoots across the floor); or

  • Your baby is not making forward progress in using her body to get around.

How to Child-Proof Your Home for Crawling

Learning to crawl means it’s time to child-proof your home!

Now that your baby is crawling, she will soon be pulling up as she prepares to walk. This means she will be able to get to get her hands on objects that had previously been unreachable and are potentially dangerous.

And remember, even though babies are moving around fairly well on their own, they still aren’t able to follow rules about what to touch or not to touch. So it is very important to make sure your home is child-proofed so that your baby has a safe place to play and explore.

Take a walk through (or better yet, a crawl-through) your home and see what potential hazards may be at your baby’s level.

Some obvious things to take notice of:

  • Electrical outlets

  • Electrical cords

  • Baby gates on all stairs—top and bottom

  • Toilet seat locks

  • Plant stands (as well as other “tippy” tables)

  • Houseplants within baby’s reach

  • Poisonous home cleaning supplies within baby’s reach

  • Sharp corners on coffee tables and end tables

  • Fragile knick-knacks that can be grabbed or knocked over

By making your baby’s environment as safe as possible, you are creating the perfect space to support her growing skills and healthy development.

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Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

NBC’s American Ninja Warrior series went to Houston for another round of qualifying.

The third episode of this season put the competitors through an assortment of obstacles, including a tilting slider, cargo crossing and swinging spikes. It was also a notable night because Kacy Catanzaro, who was the first female to beat the warped wall in 2014, returned to the show.

While Catanzaro was the main event of the evening, there were a lot of storylines in play as the warriors fought for the right to compete for the elusive $1 million grand prize.

Here is the list of competitors who were able to finish the course and their times:

American Ninja Warrior Houston Finishers
Competitor Time
Daniel Gil 1:30.78
Brent Steffensen 1:49.96
Dillon Gates 2:20.81
Geoff Lancaster 2:21.59
Andrew Lowes 2:36.71
Tremayne Dortch 2:51.55
Abel Gonzalez 3:03.72
Nathan Jasso 3:06.17
Ryan McCoy 3:07.16
Sam Sann 3:10.43
Joe Calderon 3:17.27
Jon Horton 3:30.32
Tony Matesi 3:40.06
Jonathan Parr 4:25.60
NBC Broadcast

The finals for American Ninja Warrior will take place in Las Vegas later this summer. The previous two qualifying rounds in Venice Beach, California and Kansas City, Missouri set things up nicely for what was on display in this third qualifying stop.

What better place to start than with the main event, which was Catanzaro’s return to the show. She was the final competitor on the track, struggling to contain her emotions on the starting block:

Kacy Catanzaro @KacyCatanzaro

Standing on that starting block.. I can’t even describe the feeling #POMninjawarrior #client

Unfortunately, those feelings would give way to disappointment, as the 25-year-old would fail to make it past the cargo crossing on her jump. She came up short and found the water, leaving the crowd in attendance upset.

Here’s how Catanzaro’s quest ended, via Valerie Vine Star:

After Catanzaro’s run aired, Lesley Goldberg of the Hollywood Reporter ran an interview with the American Ninja Warrior star about her early exit:

I’m doing OK. I definitely don’t want to take the easy way out and say that it was only because I couldn’t reach it and it’s not possible; I’d never want to say that or make it seem that way. I do, in my mind and at the moment, I tried hard and just couldn’t reach it. But everybody always feels that they tried hard.

The good news is Catanzaro’s quest to get back to the finals isn’t over, as she will be up for a wild-card spot. Given her popularity, it would be stunning if she didn’t get another shot.

Catanzaro also got to see her boyfriend, Brent Steffensen, make it through the course this year after he was eliminated early in the competition last year. The American Ninja Warrior regular did have the fastest time of the day when he walked off the course, via Ninja Warrior:

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

He’s baaack! Classic @BrentSteffensen form with fastest time of the night! #AmericanNinjaWarrior http://t.co/t2ugACZQu1

However, Steffensen would end the night looking up at Daniel Gil. He posted the fastest finishing time of anyone on the course and looked at ease with everything, as this photo from the cargo crossing section shows, via Ninja Warrior:

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

Let’s hope Daniel Gil can hold on to the rope & net as well as he can hold those notes! #AmericanNinjaWarrior http://t.co/ElYO3l5Rb6

The warped wall would come into play, as tends to be the case when Catanzaro is around, but this time on the men’s side, as Jonathan Horton became the shortest male competitor to scale the 14-foot high test, via Ninja Warrior:

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

#AmericanNinjaWarrior history is made! @j_horton11 becomes the shortest man EVER to scale the Warped Wall! http://t.co/J7XkHPGNOD

Horton would end up completing the course, ensuring his climb up the wall wasn’t wasted. You don’t need to be a giant to be a ninja, just a lot of strength, will and determination to power through a course that is going to challenge every muscle in your body.

In a cruel twist of fate for Anthony Scott, who was disqualified from last year’s competition after his foot hit the water during an event, the same thing happened again Monday night, via Ninja Warrior:

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

Looks like the Ninja Panther meets his nemesis once more. #AmericanNinjaWarrior http://t.co/kjVJFEuReR

Even though things didn’t turn out as many hoped for Catanzaro, it was a notable night for other competitors like Gil and Steffensen. There’s still a long way to go before the finals come up later this summer, but all 15 finishers have to feel strong about their chances moving forward.

There’s a lot at stake in terms of pride, bragging rights and a cool $1 million waiting for the winner.

Written by Zoe Chin/Sports Director

Update:

In a recent email to Student Media, there is a possibility that the event will be canceled due to low attendance. Nothing has been confirmed yet.

Panthers will have an opportunity to test their ninja skills at an “American Ninja Warrior” inspired off-campus excursion on Friday, March 29.

Hosted by the Biscayne Bay Campus Wellness and Recreation center, the event will take place at the Ninja Lounge on (14401 NE 19th ave. North Miami FL 33181) from 10 a.m. to noon.

The obstacle course zone will give attendees the opportunity to test their strength, speed, and will in various obstacles used in the television show, “American Ninja Warrior,” including the warped wall.

There are three levels to the warped wall measured at different heights to make it increasingly difficult for participants to try.

There is also a rock climbing wall that is open for use. There are different types of walls to climb and try out.

The virtual reality game room can also be used at the Ninja Lounge. To use the VR room, participants have to purchase tickets on site. Purchasing the tickets for the VR room is separate from entrance and registration fees.

Food is provided at the event. Two slices of pizza and a drink are included with the registration fee.

Anyone going to the event, however, is required to find their own transportation. It will not be provided by BBC’s WRC.

Participants will also be required to meet at the Ninja Lounge at 9:30 a.m.

There is also a waiver that needs to be filled out before the students can participate in the courses offered by the Ninja Lounge. BBC WRC suggests coming early to the event to fill out the form.

Registration for the event is first come, first serve and is non-refundable or transferable.There are three ways to register for the event, go to active.com and search for “FIU Ninja Lounge Obstacle Course,” call the BBC WRC at (305)-919-5678 or email [email protected]

Feature image by Guido Gonzalez/PantherNOW

Regain and Build Your Original Strength Through Crawling

In the last three years, there has been a lot of attention given to crawling within the fitness industry. Crawling, the developmental movement pattern that we were all given the ability to perform, is being touted as a rehabilitative, restorative, and even a performance-enhancing movement. Some people are even calling crawling one of the best strength training exercises a person can perform. It is really quite laughable when you think about it: “Crawling, like a baby, can help your body heal and make you stronger and more resilient.” It would even be hysterical, if it weren’t for the fact that is true.

Yes, crawling, a seemingly childish and foolish “exercise,” could be the one thing that improves your health, your strength, your mobility, and your performance in any athletic area. It could even improve your ability to think, focus, and reason.

I know what you are thinking, and yes, I am serious.

The Benefits of Crawling

Crawling is a developmental movement pattern that ties everything about you together. In developing children, crawling activates and integrates the different parts of the brain. Through crawling, neural connections and pathways are established in the brain that allow the brain to become more efficient at communication between the left and right hemispheres. The better the brain can communicate and process information, the better the body moves.1 Crawling also unites your sensory systems. It integrates your vestibular system (your balance system), your proprioceptive system (your sense of self in space, or your self awareness system), and your visual system (your visual system). It can even improve your hand eye coordination.2

Perhaps the greatest benefit to crawling is that it builds a foundation of reflexive strength, the original strength you were born to develop. Your reflexive strength, also known as your reflexive stability, is your body’s ability to anticipate movement before it happens and/or reflexively react to movement as it happens. The faster your reflexes are, the more resilient you are. Your reflexive strength is your foundation of strength. If you are lacking reflexive strength, you cannot be as strong and as mobile as you are meant to be.

Imagine that your body was one big “X.” It is in the center of your “X” that your body transfers the forces that you generate from one side to the other, from the bottom of you to the top of you. In other words, the center of your body is where the powerful forces you generate intersect and cross over. The more solid your center, the better the forces that you generate, or forces that you encounter, can be transferred. If your center is not solid, those forces could end up going into areas you don’t want them to go and this could lead to injury. The more solid your “X,” the more resilient and capable you are. Having your reflexive strength is having a solid center, and having a solid center is having a body that is strong and mobile – a body without limits.

Yeah, but how does crawling tie your body together?

The Foundation of Your Gait

Crawling is the foundation of your gait pattern. It is the contra-lateral movement (coordinated opposite limb movement) that our walking pattern is built upon. Crawling teaches our shoulders and our hips how to work together in a coordinated fashion – it “ties” them together. Crawling also reflexively stimulates the muscles throughout your arms, legs, and torso to fire through the sensory nerves, or mechano-receptors, in our hands and feet. These sensory nerves act like buttons. When these buttons get pressed, the muscles throughout the body instantly contract.

Every step you take, every time your hands touch the ground, you are reflexively firing the muscles throughout your body. Every step makes your reflexes just a little more efficient, just a little more crisp. This is gentle strength training – foundational strength training.

Crawling is also a reset for your central nervous system. It restores your central nervous system, lowers your stress levels, and allows you to recover faster from the rigors of your training or your day-to-day life.

Babies Crawl, Adults Walk

Yes, babies were meant to crawl and adults were meant to walk. You are right. But be honest, how much walking do you do? And is the walking you do the walking that is built off a foundation of crawling? Do your shoulders and hips work together in a deliberate, coordinated, contra-lateral fashion? Walking is supposed to be a reset, a restorative movement that keeps our nervous system operating at peak levels. Walking is also supposed to keep our bodies tied together by keeping us reflexively sharp. But most of us don’t walk like that. Most of us might need to go back and reestablish that crawling pattern that walking was meant to be built upon.

Crawling is hardwired into each one of us. Even though we are no longer children, the program for crawling is inside of us today. Even if you skipped crawling as a child for whatever reason, you still have the “crawling program.” That program still works. You may have to dust it off a little, but it will still tie your body together in the same way that it did when you were a child. It will still nourish your brain and intimately integrate it with your body. Crawling can even still help improve your hand-eye coordination. Everything it once did, it can still do. You were made to crawl. It is the pattern that was designed to keep you healthy, strong and resilient throughout your entire life.

Don’t believe me? Do you think you being able to Spiderman crawl for a mile might indicate health and strength?

Regaining Your Original Strength

If you have mobility restrictions, if you have nagging pains and injuries, if you feel fragile at times, it may be simply because you are lacking your reflexive strength – your original strength. You can regain the reflexive strength you were meant to have. Crawling can help you restore your original strength and allow you to improve your life in many areas. Your physical strength will improve, your mobility will improve, your mental focus will improve, your response to stress will improve and so will your mood. When you are moving better and feeling better, it is easier to be in a good mood.

Test this out for yourself and see what crawling can do for you. Yes, it is childish, but the ways of a child are much simpler and wiser than our ways today. Children develop and build strength the right way – on a solid foundation. It is like building a house on rock. It will last. As adults, we try to add strength to a faulty, eroded foundation. It is like trying to build a house on sand. It doesn’t work too well. To be as strong as we were meant to be, we need a very solid foundation.

Over the next four weeks, I will introduce you to a crawling progression program. This program is designed to help you rebuild your solid foundation of strength, your reflexive strength, and help you regain the resiliency you were meant to have. The hope of this program is to help you improve your physical performance in whatever area you are passionate about, but ultimately, my desire is that it simply improves your life and allows you to live without limits.

If you embark on this program over the next four weeks, pay attention to how you feel and don’t be surprised if you hit personal records in lifts or activities that you’ve never reached before. Resetting the nervous system and restoring reflexive strength doesn’t have to take a long time before the benefits come calling. The more you crawl, the more you establish, restore, and cement your reflexive strength. Owning your reflexive strength is like takes the brakes off your body. In the beginning, we will start out easy and establish our crawling pattern. In the end, if you make it to the end, you will be strong enough to do almost anything.

Again, crawling improves and integrates the whole person, the whole you. What do you think? Are you up for the challenge? Don’t let the simplicity keep you away.

If you would like to get an idea of how crawling works and what it should look like, check out this video:

1. Carla Hannaford, Smart Moves (Salt Lake City: Great River Books, 2005), P. 131.
2. Carla Hannaford, Smart Moves (Salt Lake City: Great River Books, 2005), P. 112.

THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL BENEFITS OF Crawling

Why Crawling Works?

The reason why crawling works is rooted in the way that you learned as a baby to crawl. It’s a way of creating hand-eye coordination and getting the left part of the brain to communicate with the right part of the brain. And it’s a way to tie together your entire sensory system. The more you crawl, the more you establish, restore, and cement reflexive strength. It can also be a whole lot of fun.

Crawling benefits for the brain

And that’s what leads to the mental and cognitive benefits of crawling. Yes, crawling around the floor for a few minutes at a time is not just good for your body, it’s also good for your brain. Crawling activates the development of the corpus callosum, getting both sides of the body working together. When you start new exercise patterns, what the nervous system does is build new connections which is one of the reasons dancing provides significant cognitive benefits.

The Reset

Crawling helps to “reset” the central nervous system. Imagine coming home from work or school full of anxiety and stress. Well, crawling around on the ground is one way to help relieve your body of that stress.

Finally, crawling is good for boosting self-awareness and a sense of self. In babies, crawling helps them navigate the world around them, out of the protective embrace of a parent. It helps them develop a sense of self in this big, new world. In the same way, crawling is a way for an adult to explore their sense of self and to see their environment from a different point of view. Don’t just crawl forwards, but try backwards as well as crawling laterally – to the left then the right.

For these reasons, then, it’s clear that crawling has some amazing physical and mental benefits. So don’t be afraid to find your flow and channel your inner child – crawling across the floor may be the very movement that your body needs.

Try a Bear or Crab Walk for starters!

Forget Planks—Crawling Just Might Be the Best Core Exercise Ever

Guzman

Planks are hailed as the Holy Grail of core exercises-not only because they carve your core, but because they recruit other muscles all over your body. As amazing as they may be, there just might be a new move in town: the crawl.

This isn’t some crazy newfangled idea that someone just came up with-we all started out doing it before we could walk, after all (duh). Crawling as an adult was brought up back in 2011 by Tim Anderson, cofounder of Original Strength and author of the book Becoming Bulletproof. Crawling helps children develop a healthy gait pattern, and when adults (who spend all their time on two limbs, not four) forget this pattern it can result in pain, he says, according to the Washington Post.

Plus, crawling, climbing, etc., taps into patterns of motion that humans were designed for, so it’s key to incorporate into your fitness routine-just ask Adam Von Rothfelder, whose whole training method is based on natural movement. (Here’s exactly what that means and an example workout that puts your brain and body to the test.) The movement doesn’t just benefit your body; crawling with the correct form and coordinated hand-foot movement can be surprisingly difficult for your mind too.

Unlike the hand-and-knees crawling of babies, when it comes to crawling for fitness, it’s more hands-and-feet. Try these different crawling exercises courtesy of trainer Kira Stokes, and feel the all-over benefits you’ve been missing.

Panther Planks

Image zoom

A. Place wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.

B. Maintaining a flat back, lift knees 2 inches off the ground. Hold this position, hovering off the floor.

(This is just one of many plank variations trainer Kira Stokes came up with for this 30-day plank challenge.)

Moving Panthers

Image zoom

A. Start on all fours, with knees hovering 2 inches above the ground.

B. Keeping back flat and core tight, move opposite arm and leg forward 2 inches, rotate elbow in, and dip toward the floor. Repeat with the other side.

C. Move forward for 4 total steps, then backward for 4 steps.

(For more arm-sculpting moves, try the rest of this 30-day sculpted-arms challenge.)

Lateral Panther

Image zoom

A. Assume panther plank position: wrists under shoulders and knees under hips, with a flat back and knees hovering 2 inches off the ground.

B. Maintaining a flat back and keeping knees 2 inches off the ground, move body to the right by simultaneously moving right hand and right foot to the right a few inches, then left hand and left foot to the right.

C. Move right for 4 steps, then move left the same way for 4 steps.

  • By Lauren Mazzo @lauren_mazzo

Crawling on hands and knees

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