Crawl like a Bear

First published in Obstacle Race Magazine

Obtacle Race Magazine

Feb 2014

By Michael Cohen

Animal Movements are part of the functional natural movements that we teach at Wild Forest Gym Obstacle Course Racing, which are key skills when obstacle racing.

In this edition of ORM we look at the bear crawl, which is a quadrupedal movement i.e. a movement that uses all four limbs. Continue reading

The Top 5 Benefits of Alternative Locomotion: Part 3 – Multiplanar.

spartans bear crawlingby Joe Di Stefano of Spartan Coaches

Click here for Part I and click here for Part II

The human body has three primary planes of motion, the sagittal plane, the frontal plane, and the transverse plane.

All human movement can be categorized as occurring in in one of these planes depending on if it involves stressing the body as a left and right side, a front and back side, or a top and bottom; respectively. In short, the human body can move forward/back, side to side, and up and down.

These movements are an integral part of functional natural movements that we use at Training Camps. Continue reading

The Top 5 benefits of Alternative Locomotion Movements aka Animal Movements Part 2/5

teaching ipso crawl

Ispo Crawl when left hand is synched with right foot movement

by Joe Di Stefano

click here for Part I

Eliciting a more balanced training effect.

“Body weight training” not so long ago was synonymous with doing a whole bunch of push ups and sit ups each night in front of the TV. Occasionally including chin ups for some but let’s face it most either did not have access to a chin up bar, did an entirely imbalanced ratio of push ups and sit ups to chin ups, or simply couldn’t do a single chin up so focused on the other two…as for legs, they either got the total shaft or were taken care of by “running”.  Continue reading

The Top 5 Benefits of Alternative Locomotion Movements aka Animal Movements 1/5

spartans bear crawling

Drilling bear crawl at our Spartan Race Training Camp on 28 April 2013

The Top 5 Benefits of Alternative Locomotion Movements aka Animal Movements

by Joe Di Stefino

Part 1: Reacquaints your body with more evolutionary muscle activation sequences and patterns.

According to almost any source you can find, upwards of 80% of our population will have some form of back pain and/or treatment during their lifetime…with shoulders and knees lagging not too far behind. It is my contention that the vast majority of these injuries are caused by a sedentary lifestyle and are entirely avoidable, even those that are seemingly “freak” accidents, wear and tear, or even trauma. Continue reading

Training Day for Tough Mudder Part 1

tough mudder training day

Was it to be a typical session?

Firstly, there is no such thing as typical. Every Obstacle Course Training Session is unique.  This is determined by weather, participants abilities and group dynamics. But one thing that can be guaranteed is that no 2 sessions are the same. This is an important starting point to training. Repetition is like walking around blinkered. It is confining and is a form of isolation that limits the way your mind and body functions and how it can develop. Continue reading

Should I eat before training


This post was inspired buy an unfortunate situation that a new student experienced in training this morning when he started to feel nausea / sick and a bit faint after 40 minutes into training. So here is the advice about eating and training.

This morning we had a warm-up jog, then through the woodland trails we were side stepping, bear crawling, crab crawling and frog leaping. Then it was onto log lifting. By this time we had been working ourselves hard which included churning our stomachs, and then for him the nausea started to kick in! Continue reading

Why would I want to crawl around like an animal?

teaching ipso crawl

Ispo Crawl when left hand is synched with left foot movement

As a stranger to ‘Functional Natural Movement’ I wouldn’t be surprised if you have such a question pop up in your mind as ‘Why would I want to crawl around like an animal?’

From an onlookers point of view it may look strange however crawling or I should quadrupedal exercises comes in all forms and styles.

downward dog posture

Yoga ‘Downward dog posture’

Yoga has asanas (postures) that include – dog, cat, camel and table.  Gym workouts of all forms will have you on all 4’s doing exercises such as press ups and squat thrusts. Pilates will have you doing the ‘Fire hydrant’ and ‘Donkey Kicks’ and lots more. Obstacle Course Challenges to crawl under, over and around obstacles. Continue reading

Animal Movement Exercise Glossary

by Joe Di Stefano of Spartan Coaching

Bear Crawl: Begin in a baby’s crawl position, lift the knees 1-2″ and maintain this posture as you walk in a coordinated left arm / right leg and vice versa sequence for 30-60ft

Bird Dog: Beginning in a baby crawl or “quadruped” position with the knees on the floor. Lift the opposing arm and leg, point and stretch to opposing sides of the room. Hold, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating for desired number of repetitions. For a more advanced progression, balance a water bottle on your lower back, if it falls off you know you were moving too much from your spine and not enough from your butt! Continue reading

Functional Movement vs Natural Movement

kettlebellFunctional Movement is becoming an intrinsic aspect to most training regimes and disciplines. The important aspect to Functional Movements are that movements mimics the biomechanics that we use in day-to-day tasks or sports disciplines.

Functional Movements will incorporate such movements as: Dead lift with a kettlebell; Deep squats; Turkish Get up exercise with kettlebell and quadrupedal movements such as the Bear crawl. Each of these movements are purposeful, however are taught in such away, that they are sterile and repetitive. Continue reading