Why Bear Crawling Is The New Plank

Get those paws on the floor…

The plank is over. We repeat, the plank is over.

But before you breathe a sigh of relief, let us introduce you to its successor: bear crawling.

'What is bear crawling?' we hear you cry.

Well, it's exactly what it sounds like: primal, animal-esque movement that engages your core whilst moving, building truly functional muscle and increasing your ability to stabilise the spine (good news for those of us who have ever suffered from low back pain from hours of sitting at a desk).

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Moreover, it also strengthens and tones your arms, shoulders and chest whilst also improving endurance.

Team ELLE tried and tested bear crawling recently (in Green Park, much to the amusement of tourists and passers by), and can confirm it is a great total body workout that boosts strength, flexibility and coordination.

So how does one bear crawl, exactly?

It's simple, but tough: come onto all fours, making sure the wrists and elbows are stacked under the shoulders, knees are under hips, and the back is flat.

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Draw your navel into your spine, engage your pelvic floor and hover your knees a couple of inches off the ground, so the hips are slightly higher than the shoulders.

Keep the back of the neck long. From here, 'crawl' 10 paces forwards, 10 paces back, 10 to the left, and 10 to the right, ending up where you started.

Repeat as many times as you can while keeping the core engaged and the spine completely neutral, so only the arms and legs move.

Your abdominals will quickly begin to feel like they're on fire, and you'll soon notice a real difference in your abdominal and upper strength if you incorporate this into your regular gym routine (though you may not want to do it in public – we don't blame you).

We don't know what's worse: holding your body rigid in one straight line for minutes at a time while gritting your teeth, shaking and willing time to go faster, or pawing yourself across the ground pretending to be a wild animal.

If you're completely unselfconscious and enjoy a spot of role play, bear crawling is right up your street.

For the rest of us mere mortals? Come back plank, all is forgiven.

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