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Forget Planks—Crawling Just Might Be the Best Core Exercise Ever

Guzman

Planks are hailed as the Holy Grail of core exercises—not only because they carve your core, but because they recruit other muscles all over your body. As amazing as they may be, there just might be a new move in town: the crawl.

This isn't some crazy newfangled idea that someone just came up with—we all started out doing it before we could walk, after all (duh). Crawling as an adult was brought up back in 2011 by Tim Anderson, cofounder of Original Strength and author of the book Becoming Bulletproof. Crawling helps children develop a healthy gait pattern, and when adults (who spend all their time on two limbs, not four) forget this pattern it can result in pain, he says, according to the Washington Post.

Plus, crawling, climbing, etc., taps into patterns of motion that humans were designed for, so it's key to incorporate into your fitness routine—just ask Adam Von Rothfelder, whose whole training method is based on natural movement. (Here's exactly what that means and an example workout that puts your brain and body to the test.) The movement doesn't just benefit your body; crawling with the correct form and coordinated hand-foot movement can be surprisingly difficult for your mind too.

Unlike the hand-and-knees crawling of babies, when it comes to crawling for fitness, it's more hands-and-feet. Try these different crawling exercises courtesy of trainer Kira Stokes, and feel the all-over benefits you've been missing.

Panther Planks

Panther Planks

A. Place wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.
B. Maintaining a flat back, lift knees 2 inches off the ground. Hold this position, hovering off the floor.

(This is just one of many plank variations trainer Kira Stokes came up with for this 30-day plank challenge.)

Moving Panthers

Panthers

A. Start on all fours, with knees hovering 2 inches above the ground.
B. Keeping back flat and core tight, move opposite arm and leg forward 2 inches, rotate elbow in, and dip toward the floor. Repeat with the other side.
C. Move forward for 4 total steps, then backward for 4 steps.

(For more arm-sculpting moves, try the rest of this 30-day sculpted-arms challenge.)

Lateral Panther

Lateral Panthers

A. Assume panther plank position: wrists under shoulders and knees under hips, with a flat back and knees hovering 2 inches off the ground.
B. Maintaining a flat back and keeping knees 2 inches off the ground, move body to the right by simultaneously moving right hand and right foot to the right a few inches, then left hand and left foot to the right.
C. Move right for 4 steps, then move left the same way for 4 steps.

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