Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mimicking animal movements is the principle at the heart of the Zuu regime, and once you get over the self-consciousness of slithering like a snake or jumping like a frog, you realise how copying critters can create a tough workout. One of the classic Zuu moves is the bear crawl, and it’s a great exercise even if it’s the only animal movement you incorporate into your training.

RECOMMENDED: Train Like an Animal at Virgin Active’s Iron Zuu Class

The Benefits of Bear Crawling

You’ll feel the strain the bear crawl places on your upper arms, chest and shoulders, but they’re far from the only muscles that’ll be aching the next day. The challenge of keeping your body stable as you pad around like a grizzly will ensure that your core strength and endurance improves with every step.

How To Bear Crawl

The basic movement is simple: you have to crawl back, forward and even side-to-side without letting your knees touch the ground. Whatever direction you’re heading in, the key is to support yourself with your hands and toes, otherwise you’ll end up just crawling like a human, which is far less impressive than a bear.

Crawling forward is the easiest. Move hands and feet on the same side at the same time, so right hand and right leg, then left hand and left leg. Keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout. Space allowing, try and crawl 10 metres forward, then 10 back, for a minute or however long your favourite circuit interval is. Once you’re comfortable, try moving laterally.

RECOMMENDED: Crocodile Walk Exercise

Variation: The Bear Squat

Continuing the bear theme with other kinds of exercise is not tricky: there are all manner of other moves linked to the powerhouse predators, some more tenuously than others (the jury’s out on the “wading into a stream to catch leaping salmon in mid-air with your teeth” regime).

One move that’s fairly hard to imagine an actual bear doing, but that is a worthy addition to any workout, is the bear squat. Start in the bear position, supported by your hands and toes with your knees off the ground. Then straighten your legs and lift your hips towards the ceiling. Once your legs are straight, slowly return to the starting position. Aim for 20 reps of this quad-buster as an excellent way to break up your bear walks.