Breaking Down the Bear Crawl: Hip and Shoulder Stability

By Jesse Kepka
NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist


A few Saturday tips back, I wrote of my admiration for the Rowing Machine, as it covers your cardio conditioning and strength building all in one movement. Efficient in time, space, and versatile capacities. Enter here: the bear crawl. 

The bear crawl offers all the same magic, with even less space. All you need is enough room to be on your hands and knees, and you can gain strength, stability and elevate your heartrate with super simple mechanics. Your shoulders, hips and quads will be burning in a matter of seconds! Is it a commercial break in that football game? Hit the floor for a bear crawl. 

NASM will walk you through simple progressions in this video: 

Some key points to remember: 

  1. Knees under hips, wrists under shoulders, cervical spine is neutral. This is so important for joint stability and preventing injury! 
  2. In going from a 4-point stance to a bear crawl, your knees are only hovering off the floor a couple of inches. You don’t want to raise your booty above your shoulders – your trunk should stay in a solid line. 
  3. Dig your hands and your toes into the ground so that, if someone were to come and try to tip you over, it would be difficult for them to do so. Ground yourself, bear style!

If you have never tried this before, you will be surprised at the amount of work needed to perform these simple movements – and even more shocked at how out of breath you will be!


Tip shared by Jesse Kepka, NASM-certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and owner of Elevate Fitness. Jesse is a co-organizer for Priority Fit Camp. Each week, we publish a health and wellness tip that is shared at the Priority Fit Camp community workout. The free group class happens every Saturday at 7:50 a.m.  

Click for more info on the free Saturday group workout.