How to Do a Bear Crawl, Plus 4 More of SHIFT SHOP’s Toughest Moves

How to Do a Bear Crawl, Plus 4 More of SHIFT SHOP’s Toughest Moves

SHIFT SHOP has been getting people dramatic results since its launch, promoting not only weight loss, but also  strength, muscle growth and endurance, agility, and coordination. But it doesn’t come easy. Chris Downing‘s progressive three-week ramp-up program doesn’t just demand effort, it demands a complete understanding of its movements to maximize results and minimize the risk of injury.

We’ve rounded up five of SHIFT SHOP’s most difficult moves, demonstrated by Chris personally.

How to Do a Bear Crawl

Crawling on all fours isn’t just for babies (and bears). Not only is the bear crawl a strength and endurance challenge — particularly for your shoulders, chest, and triceps, which probably haven’t supported you in this position often since you were a toddler — but it also mobilizes your hips, shoulders, and ankles, improves your balance, and increases your core strength.

The bear crawl also enhances contralateral coordination, which is the synchronous movement of opposite limbs (i.e., right arm and left leg, left arm and right leg). Such movement also trains your core to work anti-rotationally to prevent excessive twisting in to your spine: that’s the king of spine-saving support you need in athletic activities like running, throwing, and jumping, and in day-to-day actions like carrying heavy objects, shutting heavy doors, and climbing stairs.

In addition to the aforementioned upper-body muscles and core stabilizers, the bear crawl also fires up your glutes, quads, back extensors, and, to a lesser extent, your hamstrings and calves.

The bear crawl is easy to get wrong. Done correctly, you’ll maintain a rigid core and a flat back as you perform the exercise. But if you get too fast and loose with it, you’ll lose that stiff, stable core and get all bendy-twisty, increasing the strain on your spine instead of minimizing it. The video below will show you how to do a bear crawl with ideal form.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Assume an all-fours position on your palms and balls of your feet with your back flat, your hands below your shoulders, your knees bent 90 degrees below your hips (don’t let them touch the floor). This is the starting position.
  • Crawl by moving opposite limbs (right arm and left leg, left arm and right leg) simultaneously.
  • Consider crawling in more than one direction (forward, backward, left right) to increase the challenge.

HOW NOT TO DO IT:

DON’T round your back.

DON’T raise your hips above shoulder level.

DON’T allow your knees to rise more than a few inches off the floor.

DON’T extend your legs too far behind you, or reach too far forward with your arms — take small steps, and keep your arms and your thighs roughly perpendicular to the floor.

How to Do a Baby Hop

Don’t let the name of this exercise fool you into thinking it’s easy. By holding a low-squat position as you hop, you’re not only going to maximize “time under tension” in your quads’ (a key muscle growth stimulus), but also how much they burn. It doesn’t matter that the hops are tiny — your legs are going to be on fire by the time you’re done.

Other muscles worked include the glutes, hamstrings, an calves. As with any exercise, good form is essential — stay low, and keep your knees wide, elbows up, and chest high.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Assume a wide stance with your feet slightly beyond shoulder width, toes turned slightly outward.
  • Cross your forearms, raise your elbows to shoulder height, and keep them there.
  • Keep your chest high, your gaze forward, and your back straight.
  • Squat down until the tops of your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor (or as low as you can go without lifting your heels off the floor or rounding your back).
  • Maintain the low squat position as you hop forward about six inches each time. Be sure to land softly to minimize the impact on your legs and spine.
  • Hop forward and backward.

HOW NOT TO DO IT:

DON’T perform the move from a standing, or partial-squat position. Drop as low as you can without having to round your back (keep it flat).

DON’T bend forward at the waist or drop your elbows towards the floor. Keep your chest up and elbows high.

DON’T let your knees collapse inward.

How to Do a Catcher’s Crawl

Also known by various animal-inspired names — including the frog squat, and the animal crawl — the catcher’s crawl is a forward-hopping move that mobilizes your hips, strengthens your thighs, and fires up the extensor muscles that flank your spine and support good posture. Practice the move enough and you’ll have an easier time getting into a full squat — which in turn helps build a stronger, more shapely lower body.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Drop your hips low and lift your chest high in a catcher’s position.
  • Look forward in the catcher’s position.
  • Keep your back flat as you reach forward, placing your hands on the floor, and then hop forward with your feet.

HOW NOT TO DO IT:

DON’T round your back.

DON’T forget to assume the “catcher” position at the end of each rep.

DON’T keep your head down throughout the move.

How to Do a Lateral Shuffle

A foundational movement in many sports, including baseball, tennis, and basketball, the lateral shuffle is an athletic drill performed from the classic defensive stance: legs wide, knees bent, chest up, arms forward, gaze straight ahead. As you alternately shuffle left and right, you’ll improve your agility, mobility, core strength, and muscular endurance (especially in your quads and glutes).

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Stay in an athletic stance with your knees bent.
  • Move explosively in each direction.
  • Keep your back flat the entire time.

HOW NOT TO DO IT:

DON’T keep your legs straight.

DON’T cross your feet.

DON’T shuffle forward instead of sideways.

How to Do a Broad Jump Pogo Hop

You might remember the broad jump from gym class — an explosive, two-footed forward leap that starts and ends in a wide-stance squat. But you’re probably not familiar with the second part of this combo move: pogo hops, which are small jumps that, in this case, are performed in reverse to bring you back to your starting point. Together, these two movements build explosive power and enhance muscular endurance while helping to improve dynamic balance.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Jump forward as explosively as you can.
  • Swing your arms to help propel yourself.
  • Land softly.
  • Move backwards with small hops.

HOW NOT TO DO IT:

DON’T allow your knees to collapse inward at any point in the movement.

DON’T leave your arms out of the action.

DON’T broad jump in both directions (forward and backward)