Tsong works with trainer Kyle Long for a crawling and
locomotion workout at Judkins Park in Seattle, Wash. on
Tuesday May 29, 2018.
midst of working on a lizard crawl, a complicated series of
movements that involves balance and core and shoulder
strength, I remembered that the ground — more specifically,
gravity — is the best free training tool you have.
I was at
Judkins Park in the Central District with local trainer Kyle
Long to learn more about crawling. Yes: on hands and knees.
is a foundational movement for all sports, Long says, and any
athlete can benefit. Working with your hands and feet on the
ground helps you isolate different body parts for better body
awareness, teaches you to engage your core and presents plenty
We did a
few wrist warm-ups, then Long had me stand straight to focus
on core engagement and form. After a plank hold and some
rhomboid pushups to work my shoulder mobility and strength, we
started with an inchworm. From a plank, I walked my feet
forward in tiny steps to my hands, bending my knees as needed
to get to a forward fold, then went back to a plank. It was a
good warm-up, and I soon felt the intensity in my shoulders.
the inchworms, we worked on hands and knees on a bear crawl.
Long told me to dig into my toes, and keep my hips level, as I
moved forward with opposite hand and opposite knee. He
increased the challenge by putting a half-full water bottle on
my lower back. If it rolled off or the water sloshed, it meant
my pelvis wasn’t level.
slowly, and heard sloshing. I tried harder, and still there
was sloshing. (Try it at home; you’ll see.) You can add
reversing, or switching to moving your right hand and foot at
the same time, then left. All the variations require
coordination and concentration.
straightened my arms and legs for an inverted V bear crawl to
walk forward and back, head down, core engaged. Long added
variations, including bending my elbows as I crawled (hard),
and moving sideways, crossing ankles and wrists (very hard).
he reminded me to breathe.
ready for beginner lizard. Long demonstrated first, placing
his right hand and left foot on the ground, and bending his
other foot toward his lower back, his left hand floating by
his side. He reached his free hand forward to the ground,
shifted forward and twisted, bent his free leg into his chest
in a side plank variation, then put his foot down in front of
his knee. He bent his lower foot this time, picked up his
right hand, reached forward and returned to the starting
went into overdrive; it looked like the game Twister, without
any colorful dots for help.
easier than it looked, with Long cuing me forward. It also was
fun, pushing my body far more than the previous crawls.
course, there was more. He showed me how to work a
one-arm-style push up into the lizard, which I could barely
execute. I asked whether this was advanced lizard.
showed me advanced lizard, hovering a few inches off the
ground while moving forward with the same movements. I made
one attempt, lost all bearings, then decided I would work on
mastering beginner lizard first.
the crawls can be used as a warm-up, or as a daily exercise to
strengthen core and improve body awareness. After an hour of
crawling, I had gotten a full workout. After years of building
strength, I have learned the little things often can make the