January 10, 2017
Any routine can become tired and stale. One of the reasons new trends in fitness are so compelling is that they break from boring norms and reinvigorate tired assumptions about exercise. Just as choosing a new route to work can brighten your day and make it seem more interesting and full of possibility, a new workout regimen can spice up your fitness life.
Crawling is an exciting way to engage in the fundamentals of movement while exercising strength, mobility and stability. Originating in 2012, and sometimes referred to as Primal Movement, or Equinox’s Animal Flow, the workout is now picking up momentum in the fitness community faster than you may think.
It has been pioneered in the U.S. by Original Strength, an organization that believes “You were made to move.” Their fitness philosophy is about pressing the reset button and rebooting your mind and body to work together by remembering how your body is built to move. This reboot can be achieved through practice that replicates the fundamental stages of movement first learned in infancy.
So how does crawling work? The goal is to coordinate your body’s movements from top to toe, as a unified and balanced whole. There are many variations you can try, but here are the basics:
Enthusiasts claim that crawling can reap similar but more extreme results than a traditional plank, which strengthens core muscles and the upper body, while honing balance and lengthening and stretching the spine. Increasing your core strength further benefits your back, improving posture and helping to alleviate lower back pain.
Advocates of crawling are likely to highlight the training as proprioceptively dynamic. This means that the exercise requires you to use your proprioception — the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation. For example, if you were blindfolded, it is your proprioception that would tell you whether your arm is above your head or by your side.
Some evidence may suggest that these kinds of exercises have neurological benefits as well as physical and may strengthen your memory in addition to your muscles. Crawling unites your sensory systems by integrating your vestibular system (balance system), your proprioceptive system (sense of self in space) and your visual system. This sensory union may help improve your hand-eye coordination as well.
Crawling is a relatively simple exercise that can reap great benefits if practiced regularly. Given the potential that crawling has to affect the neurological aspects of wellness as well as the physical, this new trend might be here to stay. With more and more people joining the movement, it turns out you’re never too old to start crawling.