If you’ve never channeled your inner animal, now there is no better time to do it.
The benefits range from increased coordination to better mobility for functional fitness.
In this article, we’ll take you through some of the best animal walk exercises and how to perform them. After you get used to achieving them, you will be astounded by your newfound level of mobility.
Now get in your best animal stance, and let’s get started.
Benefits of Animal Walks
We mentioned that animal walks could improve your coordination and mobility for functional fitness, but the benefits don’t stop there.
How often are we lying on the floor trying to retrieve something far under the couch only to realize we don’t have the strength to return upright or the flexibility to stretch our bodies?
If playing on the floor with your children or grandchildren sounds horrific because you can’t imagine trying to get back up or not hurting from sitting on the floor for a while, animal walks might be just the thing for you.
They work to increase our range of motion, flexibility, and mobility while toning and engaging our muscle stabilizers.
Our stabilizers are usually an afterthought in our training routines, but they are incredibly essential to our overall coordination and balance. Plus, animal walks get your heart rate pumping and can be performed anywhere.
If you’ve seen people moving around like animals in the park in unison, chances are they were performing these walks to increase their overall strength and stability.
Four of the Best Animal Walk Exercises
We all have our favorites, and below we will walk through four of the best animal walk exercises to perform to gain better balance and stability.
To date, people who love Animal Flow or other mobility programs swear by the bear crawl or walk, the duck walk, crab walk, chameleon walk, monkey walk, and frog jumps.
Didn’t you always wonder when the game Leap Frog would come in handy? Let’s dive into the first four on that list to see how to perform them and what muscles they target.
Bear Walk or Crawl
No need to fear bears while walking through the woods anymore because you can get in your bear walk stance and join them.
Maybe that’s a bit of a reach, but the bear walk engages most of your main muscle groups for a full-body workout.
The legs, chest, core, and shoulders engage as you begin in your crawl position with your hands and feet on the ground.
In this walk position, you want to keep your legs as straight as possible with your back straight and your head pointed towards the ground.
As you crawl, move your hands in opposition to your feet, so think your right hand moves forward with your left foot.
As you get more comfortable with this walk, feel how engaged your muscles are, especially in your deltoids and triceps.
Walk forward and backward with this one and get that heart rate pumping. You are literally a bear now.
Trust us on this one. Ducks make it look easy, and this walk is not.
This walk targets the lower body and has it burning.
To get into position, you need to squat down as low as possible, similar to the Asian squat stance. That means your back is tall, your knees aren’t extended over your toes, your core is tight, and your feet are shoulder-width apart.
The squat is hard enough, but now it’s time to move. Step one foot forward in the squat position and begin walking.
Not so easy, right? The key to this walk is to keep your back up straight and try not to lean over too much.
As you walk, try to stay in that squat position as much as you can. This is a killer for those quads.
If you need to come up a bit in the squat, do that and then progress your way to a lower squat in the future.
This exercise works to strengthen your hips which is vital as we age. Your lower body will thank you for this one.
We all did this one as a kid, and who knew that it would be so great for functional fitness later in life.
As an adult, it might be a little harder to get used to, but we will get it a try.
This walk is another great full-body workout similar to the bear walk. The difference is in the position.
The best way to get started on this one is from a seated position. Place your hands on the floor and push up onto your feet, so your hips come off of the floor slightly.
Feel the core and shoulders engage as you press up into position. Now it’s time to walk.
As always, move forward first, walking with your hands and feet in opposition. Once that feels comfortable, go backward for a bit.
Before you know it, you will be crab walking across the room in no time.
These animals walks are testing our strength, and we love it.
Before you argue that this is impossible, you can walk like a chameleon, but it is a demanding exercise. However, once your body becomes acquainted with the walks discussed above, this one will be more feasible.
This is another full-body workout, so get ready to sweat by utilizing the legs, core, and shoulders.
If you have ever paid attention to how Spiderman crawls, this is exactly what you will be doing. Perhaps now is a good time to revisit one of those movies to practice.
To begin this walk, we are going to be in our favorite position, the plank. While a regular plank position usually has your hands placed directly underneath the shoulders, the chameleon walk requires your hands to be placed further apart on the outside of the shoulders.
You’ll understand why as you start the walk. Bring your body down like you will perform a push-up, but stop when you are about halfway.
Now it’s time to move your body forward. Remember, this exercise is advanced, so if you already think we are nutty, go back and practice some of the other exercises first.
Put one hand out in front of you and bring the opposite leg up until your knee reaches your elbow. Keep in mind that the entire time you are keeping your body low to the floor.
The movement should feel like you are a lizard. Now bring the other arm out and the one leg that was extended up to your other elbow.
Keep walking like this moving your arms and legs in opposition. Pretty intense, huh? Do you feel like Peter Parker yet?
Animal Walk Success
While animal walking might not get you bulging biceps and incredible muscle hypertrophy, it will bring you coordination, mobility, and flexibility, which decreases as you get older.
Performing an exercise like those described above are fun and allow you to play with your children and grandchildren a little easier.
An exercise that promotes such excellent increases to our functional fitness means we find success in our everyday activities. There is nothing better than that.
Happy animal walking!