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Crawling, it’s no childs play

Crawling has become exceptionally popular of late. There are articles, YouTube videos and training templates abound all based on crawling. Heres one such YouTube clip:

But, other than Chester Bennington being a hugely underrated vocalist (seriously, did you hear his cover of that Adele song?), what does crawling bring to the party?

(Ok, I promise no more Linkin Park references from here……)

So crawling, the basics:

Get down on all fours and make your way from here to there. Simple.

And that there is one of the greatest benefits, a very low idiot factor. After all, babies can do it….

But outside of that, what benefits does it carry?

It’s not going to bring about Olympian levels of strength or Endurance, not will it give you a gymnasts flexibility.

But what is can do is tie everything together for you. Crawling fits into an exercise category I’ve come to label as “Glue exercises” This term came about after I referred Mark, a client of mine out to Physiotherapist Andy Watson at Raglan Sports Therapy. Andy messaged me after the appointment, as requested, with a synopsis of what he discovered.

Part of the message read, “He’s more like a bag of lego than a man!”

I showed Mark the message and we had a laugh about that.

Oddly enough that quip was the best diagnosis we had and by keeping on coming back to that thought we built a great training program and served to “Glue” him back together from a bag of lego into a fully pose able Lego Man.

(Side note, for my recent 40th birthday, I was turned into a Lego Man in my own Lego version of Wild Geese)

Lego Dave in his Lego Wild Geese Gym!

Lego Dave in his Lego Wild Geese Gym!

Marks program was built around exercises that encouraged as many joint to move in as synchronous manner as possible in order to try and restore the natural linkage between the joints under the control of the central nervous system.

Damn that was a mouthful! Here’s a couple of videos of the man in action, please bare in mind that this is NOT where we started, but it is where we ended up, even though because of his tremendous attitude, we got here pretty damn quick!

And (read the caption on this one, it’s genuine)

Now, consider how we develop as humans from child to adult. We’re barely coordinated floppy babies. Then we learn to lift our heads (spinal extension) Then we learn to roll over, proprioception, core stimulation (via spinal rotation) Then we get to all fours Then we rock in all fours Then we crawl and climb up to our feet holding onto stuff Then we walk. Then we spend the rest of our lives fucking it all up again.

So crawling is like revisiting some original programming.

We were mammals before we were apes, apes before we were Homo Sapiens.

Getting down on all fours is like going back in time.

Not only that it challenges the hand and wrist, the scapula, spinal mobility, core strength and hip movement in very, very beneficial ways. Ways that all cross over into our more upright endeavours. So how should we crawl?

Any way we like.

There are recognised crawling patterns, but the styles are fairly unimportant. What is importantly is that we practice them smoothly. There should be no noise other than our breath, no dragging feet, no slapping down of our hands, no impact as we contact the floor.

A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Apr 21, 2017 at 3:18am PDT

As we get better at it, stronger, more enduring and better coordinated, slow down.

Nope, slower than that again.

Add in mixed terrain, up and down hill, over obstacles, under obstacles.

But keep it smooth.

A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Apr 8, 2017 at 6:09am PDT

And if all that hasn’t convinced you to get down on the floor, I don’t know what will. Start out slow and steady, then get slower and steadier.Then have a crack at Mark’s circuit, I bet you find it harder than he makes it look!

And for anyone out there looking for more help with their training, maybe you need to glue yourself together, I’m currently accepting a limited number of online clients, contact me for details


Dave Hedges

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