The bear crawl corresponds to a 14-month-old child. Typically this is manifested with 3 points of contact with the floor. However, in this video the bear crawl is progressed to 2 points of contact.
The bear crawl is an excellent exercise to challenge dynamic core stability. When we say core stability, we are talking about the ability to control the torso, which dictates spinal movement. We want to limit the spine from moving excessively during any movement whether it’s flexion, extension, or rotation. Too much spinal movement under heavy loads can result in compensation! Compensation can lead to tissue overuse and injury. Building a stable core is a fundamental prerequisite to lifting heavier weight safely and effectively.
Here we demonstrate how to appropriately progress into a 2-point contact bear crawl.
Begin with 4 points of contact (both hands and feet) with slight knee elevation.
Elevate your arm while maintaining a neutral spine, and then elevate your leg while maintaining a neutral spine. Next, begin to elevate one arm and the contralateral leg; if this is a challenge for you, begin here and perform this exercise in an isometric manner. Once you achieve the isometric hold, you may begin to crawl.
The bear crawl is also a great exercise because it helps with body awareness. Proprioception (knowing where your joints are in space) is considered another sense of the body, just like smell and taste! Having a good sense of body awareness is key in helping maintain proper form during lifts and exercises. If you are not aware if you are maintaining a neutral spine, you may place a weighted ball on the lumbar spine region as a cue to prevent excessive rotation at the trunk. Make sure you don’t compensate with lumbar lordosis to keep the ball on you back!
Note: Form here is not perfect either! The knees elevate and the trunk rotates slightly during the crawl!