Why is it so that a baby starts its life without the ability to move on their own? They transition from lying to rolling, wiggling to crawling, scooting to standing, and then they are able to move, grab, step, and maneuver on their own. Not to mention, many of those big progressive steps happen within one year of birth! How the heck do they learn so fast? THAT is what I want to talk to you about today
Out of all of the developmental patterns, it has been shown that one of those particular positions has a profound effect on the strength & actual shape of the spine, core, limb positions, and thus body as a whole. For babies, it is their prime source of movement, and by doing it on a day to day basis, their body LITERALLY becomes so much stronger that eventually they can just stand up and move around.
I’m talking about Crawling
We want to push and rush children to stand and start walking, but truthfully, we should encourage them to keep crawling more (in addition to practicing standing). Why? Our body is designed for ‘cross body’ patterning motion (opposite arm, opposite leg together). When you can move your left and right sides in a smooth rhythm and coordination, we display an incredible ability for maximal strength, speed, and most importantly, injury prevention, anti-aging, more energy, & balance. A baby uses crawling to strengthen their body so incredibly, they transform their bodies to go from only being on the ground, to be a walkin’, moving-&-grooving ball of Love.
But what does this have to do with you?
Well, I’m talking to you, an adult, about starting to crawl around on the floor to move stronger, live better & decrease injuries. Sound silly? Great, that means you’ve imagined yourself doing it. Now you just need to TRY IT!
Side note: I promise, it is just as silly as it is imagined, but the strength you feel in your shoulders, core, hips, and legs are NOT silly at all, it is REAL and empowering!
As an adult, here is what crawling can do for you and your body:
- Decompress spine & lower back from the pressure & stress of gravity (being upright)
- Strengthens the wrists/forearms in an ‘open palm’ position (to balance the gripping of weights & opposite of our tech-focused lifestyle)
- Strengthens your pelvis, hips & core by controlling the cross body movements with a sturdy spine
- Improves coordination & balance by enhancing the Brain-to-Body connection
- Makes your “workouts” more fun
Movements like rolling, crawling, wiggling & ground-to-standing are known as Neuro-Developmental Exercises. These exercises communicate with our bodies in a language that is very primitive and simplistic in nature. It allows us to tap into the basic patterns our human body learned to move & experience life as, and that opens us up to truly connect to a more pain-free and pleasure-filled life.
Utilizing them as adults help us reconnect and reestablish the basic fundamental movement patterns we use every day (sometimes mindlessly). Walking, running, reaching, turning, moving up & down, sitting, standing, supporting our own body in the countless different positions or postures we find ourselves in throughout the day.
Believe it or not, a large majority of people do not have great posture, walking gait, movement mechanics, exercise technique. And even more of us don’t know how to sit or stand straight. The truth is, we do not focus on how we are moving throughout the day, our mind is focused on thinking, doing, planning, and moving “on to the next thing”.
If you care about your posture, here is a link to other articles I’ve written about that: Click on Me !
Adding Neuro-developmental exercises into daily living & workouts help to re-establish these basic movement patterns, allowing your body to regain its physical fluidity. And this, in turn, can affect you at many levels; physically, emotionally, mentally, intellectually.
“Your body has primitive reflexes built into it and they are operated at an ‘instinct’ level. They are old survival movement patterns which keep us alive in our early lives as babies. Sometimes they are retained for various reasons (in my view, it’s often because of shocks and early traumas) and the body end’s up a bit stuck in terms of movement.” – Tony Galvin
Okay okay, so I bet you are eagerly hopping out of your chair and down to the floor (and if not, I’ll wait a second until you are)…
… … …
Okay! Start out simple and effective by just taking on a nice and traditional Quadruped (all-fours) Crawl. Here are some body cues to focus on during this primal movement:
- Open your fingers wide and softly press the hell of your palm to the ground and then your fingertips afterward – no high five slaps to the floor!
- Remember to breathe consistently throughout, no holding in
- Focus on lifting and placing your hand and knee/shin down to the ground at the same time. This is the big focus of cross body patterning
- Imagine your belly button lifting towards your spine as you take your crawl forward; focusing on a stable & long spine.
It may seem silly at first, and that is absolutely fine. Let it feel silly and still do it anyway is what really matters! That is where the progress is made
If you live in the Fishkill area, then you can come to crawl on our turf at Orca Empire Fitness. No, we don’t do this all day, BUT we do do (hehe) it while warming up before things such as deadlifting, sprinting, & kettlebell training to make sure the brain & body are ready to take on more challenging exercises with more strength, less chance of injuries, and with longer lasting results into the future!
Come on by to check it out for yourself!
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