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Beyond Planks Crawling Exercises for Core Strength


I remember it was one of the most challenging things we use to do for conditioning. Off-season basketball was far worse than in-season. While much shorter, our coaches made it their mission to get us both mentally and physically ready for the upcoming season. That meant all sorts of things that seemed like medieval torture and at the time they probably were a bit. Looking back, if we really understood what and why we were doing some of this crazy stuff we could have not just become tired, we could have been much better! Especially when it comes to things like crawling that just seemed simply evil at the time. 


Yea, we probably didn’t look to different from this type of crawling!

One of the worst things we ever had to do was go to the school’s football field. There we would be challenged to sprint specific times and if that wasn’t bad enough, do some crazy crawling! At the time I thought it was just a means for our coaches to make our lives worse. Fast forward over 20 years and maybe while that was their goal there could have been more. 

Crawling has seen a resurgence in fitness for a number of reasons. For one, it is a moving plank and as you know planks have passed crunches for the most popular core exercises. While most think that the way to progress in planks is to do them longer and longer. After all, more is better, isn’t it? 

At a point, planks stop really being productive for your core strength. What you want to do is challenge your ability to maintain the plank while you add in motion. All of sudden the plank changes, movement creates instability and creates a huge stress to your plank. Unfortunately people jump into WAY too difficult planks like crawling exercises before really establishing a better foundation. That is where something like our Bird Dog progressions can really help understand the purpose of crawling exercises in alignment, tension, and building strength. 

IMG 4158 - Beyond Planks Crawling Exercises for Core Strength

So, planking is one benefit, the other is the time under tension that your shoulders, hips, and core all get. In today’s fitness world, fast movements to get your heart rate up are all the rage. Unfortunately, one BIG thing we end up missing is time under tension. 

Why is this a bad thing? Many experts believe time under tension is a key component of not just building strength, but muscle as well. Here is the crazy part, we also assume that only fast movements get our heart rate up, but time after time we have found people’s heart rates jump into over time when they are placed in situations when their body is under high time under tension? 

How does that work? Well, if we put muscles under time under tension then we are extending the time they have to work. When we move quickly, the time our muscles are under tension is much less. Something to think about for sure! 

Sadly people go WAY too fast on crawling drills especially when we add in our Ultimate Sandbag drags. They lose SO much benefit by going way too fast or being out of position.

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Crawling has become a popular core exercise because it is a logical progression to the plank. When we use the plank we are trying to teach how to integrate all the core muscles to teach the bracing action that helps us resist unwanted movement. Moving into crawling patterns we teach this concept at a higher level with also implementing the opposite arm and limb movement that is such a big part of our human movement. ______________ When people see us use crawling with our Ultimate Sandbag in our #DVRT system they tend to think it is only about adding load to the movement. While that plays a part there are other variables that are equally, if not more important. One of the biggest ones that makes the Ultimate Sandbag a unique tool for such drills is the friction on the ground that creates changing resistance as you move the weight. Due to the dimension of the Ultimate Sandbag it is the ideal tool for drags. So, when people use other tools without dimension or pick up, or worse, throw the weight, they lose such a foundational part of the movement. ______________ How we grip the Ultimate Sandbag during these drags and crawls is also very important. The ability to create pre-tension and taking the right grip helps us connect both the Posterior and Anterior Oblique Systems that play a big part in our core stability during locomotion and plays and obvious part here as well. _____________ As you watch coaches @dvrtfitness_uk @larisalotz and @rdpaget in how they position their body and weight, watch how they grip and the deliberate action of the drag they create. This is what makes these crawling core exercises unique and powerful.

A post shared by Josh Henkin's Ultimate Sandbag (@ultimatesandbag) on

Lastly, we have a drill that builds cross patterning. Cross what?! When we walk, the most foundational movement we all perform and that makes us uniquely human, you will notice that our body works in opposites. Your right arm swings forward with your right leg. Why? This is the most efficient way to move and without getting too much depth about it (a blog for another time) we want to create movements that promote this cross patterning and crawling is a great way to do it!

3 planes of motion - Beyond Planks Crawling Exercises for Core Strength

Now, as with planks, eventually people want to increase the stress of their crawling drills. Using our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training drags is a wonderful way to add challenge and strengthening to the crawling exercises. Today’s video blog is all about how to do this correctly and some of the most common mistakes people make when adding these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training series. Check it out and see how this unassuming exercise can greatly benefit your fitness! 

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