Client:

I don’t have that much extra time to warm up and work on my mobility so what is just 1 or 2 things I can do 

Physical Therapist (in my own head):

Well they have knee problems, ankle problems, wrist problems, shoulder problems + neck and back pain and they do not want to modify any workouts so there are about 1,000 things to work on… 

Physical Therapist (to the client):

Actually, there is one very important exercise you can do that will work on the flexibility and stability you need for everything you have going on! 

Client (mouth watering dying to know what it is):

Ok, can you send me a video so I can do it today before the workout? 

Physical Therapist (jumping up and down because my client is going to be compliant with home exercise program):

Yep, it is uploaded in your app! Enjoy let me know how it goes, I would also love to see some video of how you do! 

What is this magical exercise I give almost all my clients? 

CRAWLING

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Crawling will improve your performance and decrease your risk of injury. 

And here is the WHY! 

Crawling provides your body…

  • Learning reciprocal motion:

Right arm and left leg moving together is the most basic movement pattern. It is stored in the spinal cord like a reflex (example hit the front your knee and your foot kicks out, same idea no brain power needed). It also creates rotation in your trunk and side bending in safe range of motion patterns This will improve your running, swimming, biking, single leg balance, lunges, and any alternating movement

  • Proximal stabilization of shoulders and hips:

This allows the shoulder and hip joints to be stable while moving. The rotator cuff turns on and protects the shoulder during crawling It cinches and pulls the actual bones together protecting the front, back, and sides. This is also a great strengthening exercise for the rotator cuff that is non painful because you are not challenging a large range of motion. The glut muscles do the same at the hip joint. When we focus on not letting our hips drop side to side our gluteus medius turns on to protect and stabilize our hip and spine as we move from one leg to another. Thus, crawling will help stop your neck, back, and shoulder pain! 

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  • Motor control:

This is how our body and mind work together to plan through and execute movements. If you are a coach have you ever told an athlete chest up over and over again and it was like the were ignoring you because it never really changed? As an athlete have you ever videoed a movement and thought “that’s not what I feel like doing that” It is because we have poor body awareness and motor control. Our brain and body are not streaming movement together seamlessly. Crawling helps develop the part of the brain (your motor cortex) that is in charge of moving your body that right way, the natural way. 

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  • Vestibular Training:

Your bodies ability to know if you are upright, up side down, turning or something in-between so you do not get dizzy. Crawling helps by fixing the head on the horizon without us hyperextending our neck. In our daily lives due to poor posture, we frequently hyper extend our spines. With the stabilization, it helps keep our inner ear crystals aligned telling our brain where we are at! QA

  • Proprioception:

This is your joints ability to communicate with your brain so you know what position your joint is in! Is your knee really driving out or is your knee caving in? Your brain should tell you immediately so you can adjust to the most powerful position. Again because of the stabilization piece this allows all of our joints to get maximal feedback and be able to communicate with our brains more effectively and quickly. 

  • Posture stability:

Your core muscles and back muscles turn on and contract at the same time. This allows your posture to improve to you can support yourself better while sitting and standing. 

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Easy to see why crawling is my favorite exercise!

Now, how and where can it be PROGRAMMED into my training plan? 

A. Effective warm up to bring maximal body awareness and stability. Make sure to move forward, backward, and side to side. 

B. Great Super Set exercise because it allows you to program and learn more complex tasks more quickly with better body awareness. Try performing in-between your next deadlift set to cue to neutral spine and prevent back pain! 

C. Excellent injury prevention exercise because it primes joints and your brain to ensure you are frying on all cylinders. Program into warm up and accessory work for athletes at high risk of injury via their Functional Movement Screen

D. Strong Cool down exercise because it allows your body to relax and return to proper posture/ baseline without restrictions, tightness, and compensation patterns created during fitness. 

E. Important for individual mobility programming because it gives each individual what they need i.e. stability, flexibility, sequencing, cardio, breathing, and more

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Comment on our link or post your video in the Mobility Athletes Facebook Page of how you are incorporating crawling to improve your performance!