Crawling – it seems like such an easy movement, but not only does it take more coordination than we realize but it is also a great full-body workout.
Crawling exercises are important to include in your workout routine because they are functional bodyweight exercises that can improve your core strength, coordination, and even your mobility.
Plus crawling is an amazing cardio workout that you can do anywhere.
Here are 21 Crawling Exercises to strengthen your entire body while getting your heart rate up. These crawling exercises are great for everyone from the beginner to the advanced exerciser and can be regressed and progressed as necessary. Using a combination of these moves in your workouts, will help you get in a great cardio workout while working your body in every plane of motion.
Even though babies can do it, crawling is far from easy and is sure to challenge your entire core!
21 Fun Crawling Exercises
When doing these crawling exercises, make sure to brace your core so that you don’t feel them in your low back. Also only advance to harder variations like the Slider and Power Wheel crawls as your core becomes stronger and you can perform the moves correctly.
1.Baby Crawl (0:15) – The baby crawl is a great place for beginners to start. It is a great move to help improve your coordination and introduce you to contralateral movements (aka opposite arm and opposite leg working together).
To do the Baby Crawl, start on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. To begin crawling forward, step your right hand and left knee forward then your left hand and right knee. Do not take too big a step forward so that your opposite arm and opposite leg can work together. Brace your core as you crawl forward.
To move backward, keep the same movement pattern; however, make sure you don’t take too big a step backward otherwise you will overload your shoulders. You want to keep the movements small and tight and make sure your core is engaged the entire time.
Once you feel comfortable with the contralateral movement, try progressing to the Traditional Bear Crawl or the Table Top Crawl.
2.Traditional Bear Crawl (0:32) – The Traditional Bear Crawl is similar to the crawl that many babies do with their limbs straighter and their butt up in the air. Because your butt is up in the air, the move is a little less challenging for the core than the Table Top Crawl.
To do the Traditional Bear Crawl, start on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Then push your butt back and up into the air. With your legs and arms basically straight, step your left hand forward and your right foot forward. Then step your right hand forward and your left foot forward.
Keep crawling forward on your hands and feet with your butt up in the air.
To Bear Crawl backward, you may find that you move the same arm and the same leg to step back to move more quickly backward.
Keep your butt up in the air as you crawl forward and backward.
3.Table Top Crawl (0:46) – The Table Top Crawl requires more core strength and stability than the Traditional Bear Crawl. It also requires more hip mobility and a decent amount of shoulder strength, especially to crawl backward. Plus, because your knees are bent, you will feel your quads working hard as you crawl.
To do the Table Top Crawl, set up on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Flex your feet and lift up onto your toes/the balls of your feet.
Then take a step forward with your left foot and right hand, keeping your knees close to the ground and your back flat. Make sure to brace your core so that your hips don’t wiggle a lot side to side as you crawl forward.
Then step forward with your right foot and left hand. Keep crawling forward, moving the opposite arm and opposite leg together. Take small steps forward so that you don’t get too spread out. You don’t want your hips to start to wiggle and your butt to go up in the air. Also, keep your knees as close to the ground as possible.
You can also do the Table Top Crawl backward. Backward may be a bit more challenging and harder on the shoulders. Make sure to keep your steps small, especially when starting out, so that you don’t overload your shoulders and can keep up the contralateral movement.
To do the Table Top Crawl backward, step back with the opposite arm and leg. Make sure you don’t get too spread out as you crawl backward. If you reach too far back with your feet and get too stretched out, your going to put a lot of pressure on your shoulders and then you wont’ be able to move fluidly. Keep you steps nice and short and compact to start with and your knees close to the ground. Make sure to brace your core and keep your butt down.
4. Sideways Table Top Crawl (1:03) – The Sideways Table Top Crawl is a great way to work your core in the frontal plane of motion. Even though you are moving sideways, you are still performing a contralateral movement.
To do the Sideways Table Top Crawl, set up on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Flex your feet and lift up onto your toes/the balls of your feet.
Start with your hands close together and your feet about hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Then step your left hand to the left so your hands are about shoulder-width apart as you step your right foot in toward your left foot to bring your feet together.
Then step your right hand to meet your left hand as you move your left foot to the left so your feet are again about hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Keep stepping the opposite arm and the opposite leg out to the side. Then come back the other way leading with the other hand and leg.
Beginners may do a Lateral Crawl variation of the Baby Crawl.
5. Circle Crawl (1:18) – The Circle Crawl is another great Table Top Crawl variation. With this move, you want to focus on circling your hands and feet around a point beneath your belly button.
Do not circle your body around your hands.
To do Circle Crawls, set up on your hands and knees. Flex your feet and lift up onto your hands and toes. With your knees about under your hips and your hands under your shoulders, start to circle, stepping with the opposite hand and foot.
Pretend their is a string attaching your belly button to the ground as you circle. You may even want to put something on the ground under your belly button to remind you to circle around that so that you don’t start circling around your hands.
Do complete a full circle one direction then switch and do a complete circle the other way. Remember you are crawling around in a circle with the opposite hand and foot working together.
Keep your knees close to the ground as you circle and your core engaged. Beginners may do the Circle Crawl on their hands and knees like with the Baby Crawl.
6. Crab Crawl (1:34) – The Crab Crawl can be a fun and different way to move around; however it is a crawling variation that can be harder on the shoulders and rotator cuff muscles so be careful when doing this variation.
To do the Crab Crawl, sit on your butt with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind you on the ground.
Then lift your butt up off the ground and step your right hand forward toward your hip as you step your left leg out in front. Then step with our right foot and left hand. Leading with your feet, begin to move forward, keeping your butt up off the ground.
To crawl backward, lead with your hands, reaching the right hand back as you move your left foot in closer to your glutes. Then your left hand will reach back as you bring your right foot in closer to your glutes.
Keep your butt up off the ground the entire time.
If your chest is super tight and you suffer from shoulder pain and injury, this may not be the right crawling variation for you.
7.Sideways Crab Crawl (1:53) – Typically Crabs walk sideways so the Sideways Crab Crawl is actually more crab like and a super fun lateral movement.
Just like with the Crab Crawl, it can be harder on the shoulders so make sure to stretch out your chest and shoulders well before doing this exercise. Also, be careful if you’ve suffered from shoulder pain and injury in the past.
To do the Sideways Crab Crawl, sit on your butt with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind you on the ground.
Lift your butt up off the ground and begin to move sideways. You will step to the right with your right hand and left foot and then your left hand and right foot. Just like with the sideways Table Top Crawl it is a contralateral movement.
Crawl to one side then come back facing the same way leading with the other hand and foot.
8. Gorilla Crawl (2:12) – The Gorilla Crawl is a great crawling variation to work your legs and core. It is more challenging for many people because it requires a bit more hip mobility.
To do the Gorilla Crawl, start standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Then bend over and reach your hands out on the ground in front of you.
You will shift your weight forward to your hands on the ground and then jump your feet forward outside your hands.
Once you’ve jumped your feet close to outside your hands, you will again reach your hands out and place them in front of you on the ground before jumping your feet back outside your hands.
Your weight may feel like it is a bit forward during this crawl. Do not stand up between reps. The more mobile your hips, the more you will be able to get your feet outside your hands.
Beginners may need to do more of a Gorilla “walk.” Beginners will want to step one hand out first before bringing the other hand out to meet it instead of reaching both out at the same time. They will still want to jump their feet outside their hands, but will make the move easier by walking their hands out instead of jumping them out.
9. Sideways Gorilla Crawl (2:26) – The Sideways Gorilla Crawl requires less hip mobility, but can sometimes be difficult in terms of coordination because you are shifting your weight from your hands to your feet back to your hands as you move sideways.
To do the Sideways Gorilla Crawl, start in a crouch on the balls of your feet with your feet about hip-width apart. Then place your hands out to the left at about shoulder height.
Shift your weight onto your hands and press off your hands as you jump your feet over to the left. As you land back in the crouch, shift your weight back to your feet as you lift your hands and place them again out to the left.
Again shift your weight to your hands and jump your feet past your hands to the left. Continue moving left. Then to come back right, reach your hands out to your right side and then jump your feet to the right.
When your feet land, shift your weight and lift your hands before reaching them to the right again.
Stay low in the crouch the entire time, pushing off your hands then feet then hands.
10. Inchworms (2:41) – This is a great crawl to include in your warm up routine because it can help stretch your hamstrings, hips, abs and even your chest. If you have low back pain, this is a great crawling exercise to include in your routine.
To do the Inchworm, start standing with your feet together. Bend over and place your hands on the ground in front of you while trying to keep your legs straight.
Walk your hands out while keeping your legs straight until you are in the plank position. Then drop your hips toward the ground and arch back, pressing your chest out. You can even look back and up toward the ceiling as you drop your hips and press your chest out. Keep your arms straight as you do this almost Upward Facing Dog variation.
Then return to the plank position before you begin to walk your feet in, keeping your legs straight and pushing your butt up toward the ceiling. Walk your feet in as close to your hands as your flexibility allows.
Repeat walking your hands back out while keeping your legs straight. If you need to, you can even stand up between Inchworms.
Beginners may need to bend their knees a little as they perform the Inchworms. Try to stretch your hamstrings though as you walk out and back in.
11. Beginner Alligator (3:00) – The Alligator Crawl is a great exercise to engage and work your obliques. Because the Advanced or Full Alligator Crawl requires a lot of upper body strength, beginners will want to start with this straight-arm variation.
To do the Beginner Alligator, start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a nice straight line from your head to your heels. Then step your right hand forward as you bring your left knee out and in toward your left elbow.
Then step forward with your left hand as you bring your right knee up to your right elbow.
Keep crawling forward, driving your knee in toward the outside of the same elbow as you keep your core engaged.
12. Advanced Alligator (3:15) – To do the more advanced Alligator Crawl, you are going to stay low the entire time, which is going to be harder on your shoulders, chest and triceps.
To do the Advanced Alligator Crawl, you will do the exact same movement as the Beginner Alligator, bringing the same knee into the same elbow as you step the other arm forward; however, instead of keeping your arms basically straight, you are going to crawl while holding near the bottom of a push up position.
Keep your body low and close to the ground as you step your right hand out and bring your left knee to the outside of your left elbow. Then step your left hand out as you bring your right knee into your right elbow.
13. Army Crawl (3:32) – While with a true Army Crawl you will want to drag your body on the ground, with our Army Crawl variation you won’t actually drag your body on the ground. Instead you will crawl forward on your forearms keeping your body low to the ground.
The Army Crawl is also a contralateral movement. When you crawl you will step forward with your left forearm and right leg then your right forearm and left leg. Try to stay as low to the ground as possible.
The Army Crawl is a great crawling variation to use with the Partner Crawl Under, Jump Over exercise when you have to crawl under your partner (although you can use a Table Top Crawl if your partner is taller). For a workout using the Partner Crawl Under, Jump Over, check out this Partner Strength and Cardio Circuit.
14. Crawl With Sit Through (3:45) – To make the basic crawls more fun, you can add in other movements while crawling around. One great movement to add in while doing the Table Top Crawl is the Sit Through. The Sit Through is a great rotational core move to include with your crawls.
To do the Crawl with Sit Through, you will do the Table Top Crawl forward then perform a Sit Through to each side. To do the Sit Through, pause in the Table Top Crawl position.
Then rotate open toward the right and bring your left leg under and through toward where your right hand is. As you bring your left leg forward and through, lift your right hand. You should almost be sitting when you rotate through with your left hand down to support you. Then bring the left leg back through so you are back in the starting crawl position.
Next rotate to the left and kick your right leg through and forward as you lift your left hand. Bring the leg back through to the crawling position and then change the direction of your crawl. If you just crawled forward and performed a Sit Through to each side after the Sit Throughs, crawl backward.
Then perform a Sit Through to each side and move back to crawling forward. Move quickly as you crawl back and forth performing a Sit Through to each side before you change directions.
15. Crawl With Pull Through (4:03) – The Crawl with Pull Through is another great variation of the Basic Table Top Crawl. This move is a great exercise for anyone that sits at a desk all day because it works on glute activation and hip extension.
To do the Crawl with Pull Through, a sandbag works best although you can use a dumbbell or even a sledge hammer.
Using a sandbag, place the sandbag on the ground and set up on your hands and knees with the sandbag behind your feet. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your knees should be under your hips. Then flex your feet and lift up onto your hands and toes.
From your hands and feet, reach one hand back through your legs to grab the sandbag. As you reach back, sit your butt back toward your heels.
Then push off the balls of your feet and drive your hips forward to pull the sandbag up under your body and through overhead. As you pull the sandbag through, extend your hips and squeeze your glutes to help you power the pull. You don’t want to pull the sandbag through using only your arm.
Your hips should power the pull so that you can pull the sandbag up to your head or a little beyond.
Once you’ve pulled the sandbag, perform a Table Top Crawl up past the bag and then sit your butt back again and reach through with the other hand. Pull the sandbag up and through.
Make sure to use a heavy enough bag that you feel challenged. If it doesn’t force you to use your glutes, the weight is too light. If you can throw the bag 10 feet out in front of you, the bag is also too light. Pick a bag that you can only pull a little past your head at most.
16. Plank Walk (4:20) – While not as tough on the quads as the Table Top Crawl, the Plank Walk is a tougher crawling variation for the core and shoulders. You are basically holding a Plank as you crawl forward and backward, which really makes those abs work!
To do the Plank Walk, set up in a high plank position from your hands and toes with your hands under your shoulders and your legs out straight behind you and your feet close together. Brace your abs and keep your body in a nice straight line from your head to your heels.
Then take a small step forward with your right hand and left foot. Then your left hand and right foot. These will be very small steps that allow you to keep your core tight and your body in a nice straight line. Do not let your hips sag or your butt go way up in the air.
Also, try to prevent your hips from wiggling a lot as you crawl.
To go backward, just reverse the crawl, keeping your steps small and your body in a nice straight line.
17. Sideways Plank Walk (4:37) – Another great lateral crawl, the Sideways Plank Walk is a great way to challenge your core and shoulders.
To do the Sideways Plank Walk, set up in a high plank position from your hands and toes with your hands under your shoulders and your legs out straight behind you and your feet close together. Brace your abs and keep your body in a nice straight line from your head to your heels.
Then step your right hand in close to your left as you step your left foot out so your feet are about hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Then step your left hand out so your hands are about shoulder-width apart as you step your right foot in so your feet are together.
Keep moving to one side, bringing your feet together as you step your hands out wide before you step your feet out wide and your hands back together.
Do not let your butt go up in the air or your hips sag as you crawl. Keep your body in a nice straight line. Also, work to keep your hands under your shoulders as you crawl. If your hands creep out in front of your shoulders toward your head, it will put more strain on your shoulders.
18. Slider Crawl (4:53) – A great variation of the Plank Walk is the Slider Crawl using Valslides or even towels or paper plates. The Slider Crawl is an advanced crawl that is very core and shoulder intensive.
To do the Slider Crawl, place your feet on the sliders and set up in a high plank position from your hands and toes. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your feet should be together on the sliders.
Keeping your body in a nice straight line, step forward with your left hand and then your right hand, dragging your legs behind you on the sliders.
Brace your abs and keep your core tight so that your hips don’t wiggle as you crawl forward in the plank position.
To crawl backward, you will take small step backward with your hands, pushing your body back on the sliders. Make sure your body stays in a nice straight line as you push yourself backward.
19. Power Wheel Crawl (5:12) – The Power Wheel is another great tool to advance the Plank Walk. Do not use the Power Wheel if you haven’t mastered the Slider Crawl.
To do the Power Wheel Crawl, place your feet in the Power Wheel and then turn over onto your hands and lift up into the high plank position. Brace your abs and set your body in a nice straight line with your hands under your shoulders.
Then begin to walk forward, stepping forward with one hand and then the other as you drag your legs in the Power Wheel behind you. Keep your body in a straight line as you move forward and do not let your hips wiggle a lot side to side. Also, do not let your hips sag or your butt go up in the air as you crawl forward.
Take small steps forward with your hands then reverse the crawl and take small steps backward, pushing yourself backward on the Power Wheel. Keep your body in a nice straight line as you crawl backward.
20. Thor(ettes) Hammer Crawl (5:31) – Another way to advance crawling exercises is by pushing a weight. You can push a sled, box or even a Sledge Hammer.
To do the Thor(ettes) Hammer Crawl, place the sledge hammer flat on its side on the ground and your hands on top of the hammer.
Push the hammer down into the ground as you push it forward, running your knees in. This crawling variation is very similar to a Low Sled Push.
21. Thor(ettes) Hammer Pull (5:48) – Once you’ve pushed the hammer down, you can crawl and pull it back to put it away.
This crawl is basically the reverse of the Crawl with Pull Through and can also be done with a sandbag instead of the hammer.
To do the Thor(ettes) Hammer Pull, place the hammer on its side with the handle just in front of you while you are in the Table Top Crawl position. Reach forward and grab the hammer and pull it back to you as you hold the crawl position. If the hammer is heavy, you may need to sit your butt back as you pull the hammer or weight to you.
Then crawl backward until the handle is just beyond your head. Again reach forward and pull it back to you. You can either alternate arms or pull with one arm and then the other. After each pull, crawl backward so that the hammer is just beyond your head.
Enjoy these 21 Crawling Exercises for a great full-body cardio workout that will strengthen your core and improve your mobility.
What are your favorite crawls?
And for more Untraditional Bodyweight Moves, check out these 10 Untraditional Exercises!
thank you. Fun and hard work.
You’re welcome! Glad you like them!
Am 83yo 19 yrs post-stroke. These look great to workout minus my fear of falling (on the floor already!)
Starting with baby crawl will allow you to start on the ground 🙂
Thank you so much for this article! Great explanations of each variation!