Vision, Values, and Philosophy

With the popularity of crossfit, such an exercise as the bear walk has become relevant and in demand again. This multi-functional movement, which has a lot of advantages, can be used as a basic exercise, as well as as an effective warm-up of almost all the muscles of the body.

The benefits of exercise

This exercise has a lot of advantages and almost no disadvantages.

Main advantages:

Unloads the spine, relieves compression.
Strengthens the muscles of the back, shoulders, legs, and cortex.
Increases flexibility and mobility.
Teaches you how to move your body weight correctly and use your foot.
It is useful for joints, can be used to strengthen muscles and ligaments even when axial loads are prohibited.

The only drawback is that the classic bear crawls can not be used to pump up the muscles, since the movement is intended for completely different purposes. However, in crossfit, there is a variant of power execution of this movement using dumbbells. It gives a powerful load on all the muscles of the body.

Also, the exercise is often used as a warm-up, before performing push-ups upside down.
What muscles work

When performing a bear pass, almost all the muscles of the body are involved. Also, a large number of stabilizer muscles are involved in the work, which do not always work during classical exercises.

The main burden falls on:

  • Shoulders.
  • Thighs.
  • Cortical muscles.
  • My back.
  • Forearms.

When using the power option, the main load is switched to the muscles of the shoulder girdle and arms.
Execution technique

Despite the visual simplicity, this is a fairly complex exercise, in which it is important to take into account all the technical features. If performed incorrectly, the benefits of a bear walk will be much lower.


Place your weight on all fours, face down, arms and legs slightly bent to minimize the strain on the joint. The pelvis is exposed up, arms and legs on the same line.
Put forward the opposite arm and leg, alternately changing limbs.
Take 25-30 steps, this is the recommended norm for 1 approach.

Bear crawls: technique.
Bear walk in video format

It is important to make sure that the back is straight, but without excessive bending in the lower back (even a slight roundness in the lumbar region is allowed, this is anatomically correct, taking into account the position of the pelvis and movement). Also, this position will evenly load the cortical muscles, especially the abdominal press. With an excessive deflection in the lower back, part of the load from the press would switch to the lower back, which led to hypertension, possible pinching and other problems.
Option with dumbbells

Dumbbell bear crawl is a heavier version that is an alternative to walking a lizard (monitor lizard) with dumbbells. The load in this case is almost completely transferred to the forelimbs. To additionally load the legs, weights can be used.

The technique does not change, the only difference is that instead of the floor, you will have to rest on the handle of the dumbbell, moving it on the floor during each movement of your hands. It is especially important to monitor the shoulders and upper back. When working with dumbbells, very often athletes try to compensate for the weight of the load, as a result of which they hunch their back and lower their shoulders down (while spreading their shoulder blades). This error will not only reduce the efficiency of the penetration, but can also lead to problems in the cervical spine over time.

Dumbbell bear crawl in video format

How to implement it in training (recommendations)

The no-weight option can be used in any way, from the warm-up before the vertical bench press in crossfit, to the usual morning exercises for the back. If you train directly on the penetration itself, it is recommended to do about 4-5 series, each with 30 steps.
When working with dumbbells, start with 10 steps (5 for each hand). This is the “starting point” for further progression. After completing a series of 20-30 steps, further development should focus solely on adding weight to the dumbbells.
If you train at home and the area does not allow you to take a large number of steps, divide them into series. For example, 5-10 steps in one direction, a U-turn and repeated passage of the same distance.

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