Apart from looking and feeling funny on the floor what are the benefits of crawling as an adult?
To begin with crawling is a developmental movement pattern that as a baby, you yourself most likely went through on your progression towards walking. As you graduated from crawling onto walking you probably thought, “right I’m done with that part of my life”, but hold your horses. Crawling can be equally as valuable a movement now as it was way back then. I am going to try to convince you that crawling isn’t just a way for our hidden cameras to get funny footage of you, it can also be both strength, conditioning and mobility work.
Reason 1 – It’s good for your brain
To say that crawling plays a major role in a developing brain is an understatement. It helps increase body awareness, nurtures gross and fine motor skills as well as developing the child’s visual abilities. Also not to mention developing the necessary strength and coordination to get up walking. But what about for us adults?
Some of you who have crawled as an adult may have found it super easy, but I can guarantee that some of you reading this right now, felt as uncoordinated as a giraffe on ice skates, especially while going backwards or sideways. Getting down on hands and knees and moving in a non-ridiculous fashion requires the left and right side to join forces to get things done. Doing this gives you a lot of sensory input from all the parts of the body that are moving and being contacted by the floor. This improves the coordination between the left and right side of your walnut, increases your body awareness and also improves your “reflexive” strength eg. Catching yourself while tripping over before you faceplant.
* It may also add 10 points to your IQ score although I have no data to back that up.
Reason 2- It’s good for your body
If you are over 30 and have been paying attention you may have noticed that your body may not feel as good as it once did. Some will write it off and say “I’m just getting old” but many of the things that cause it to not feel as good as it once did can be minimised or eliminated. It is true that ageing can cause a loss in muscle mass and strength, balance can decline along with your confidence level and your body may start to feel “tighter”. These can start to decline in your late 20s and continue to fall until the inevitable sleep. But what if someone wanted to do something about it?
There are issues that we see at Strength + Soul that are really common in the general population. To see how these can be helped with crawling I will give 2 examples:
A Stiff Upper Back
A mobile upper back or thoracic spine, is an important player in many things but for this we will focus on shoulder health. If this region is tight it can limit the ability of the shoulder blade to move which then restricts how your shoulder moves. As you perform variations of crawling and maintain your eyes on the horizon it can encourage thoracic extension while loading the upper body in a way which improves shoulder stability. Winning!
A Weak “Core”
I cannot think of anyone I have come across where I thought to myself “guess we don’t need to do any core work”. We like to view the “core” as anything from hips all the way to your neck, front back and sides. This is the area which you produce and transmit huge amounts of force through, generate movement from and all the while hopefully protecting your spine and vital organs. Your shoulders and hips must work in a reciprocal fashion to make movement occur and these forces must be transferred through your midsection. A baby crawl can be a gentle way to get these opposite sides working in harmony while setting the blueprint for for more challenging variations such as the leopard crawl or the spiderman crawl. Most crawling variations will challenge many of the jobs of the core such as rotary stability and anti extension. So if you want a strong core start acting like a big baby!
After reading this short snippet i hope you now have a few reasons at least to drop down onto the floor on all fours. Crawling can be so good for the body and brain it’s a wonder why we all don’t do more of it.