Movement Highlight: Foot-hand crawlPosted | 2 comments
Hey MovNation people!
Last movement highlight from the combo-workout video recently released “One Step At A Time“. First check out the “foot-hand crawl” in slow motion in the video excerpt below.
Basic isn’t it? Kids do it. About anybody can do it. Yet what’s commonly know as “bear crawl” is actually not the monopoly of bears and other grizzlies, or other animals moving on all fours for that matter. It is a natural human movement as well, and as far as known and with all due respect to bears…we are not bears. In MovNat the technique falls in the “crawling” locomotive skill category. It is a skill because just like any other movement pattern, it can be improved and mastered through mindful practice, which is at the core of the MovNat Physical Education system.
Why use the foot-hand crawl
Oh boy, real life applications are numerous, passing low obstacles, crawling up a steep slope (before it becomes actual climbing), hiding behind a wall while moving, stalking, etc…
How to perform the foot-hand crawl efficiently
- You will start in a prone position. This is a contralateral pattern, which means that you are on support on the opposite foot and hand, while the opposite leg and arm are traveling forward.
The reason why we call this technique “foot-hand” crawl is because the primary source of motion lies in pushing off your legs through the feet. The arms, though placed in front of the body, are not leading the dance, they are actually responding to the impulse of the legs pushing and moving bodyweight forward. You will need to travel hand(s) forward to create a new point of support “down the road” and maintain balance and momentum.
- Posture…yes. Just like when stepping under. The spine remains optimally elongated the hips level with the head. While it would be possible to perform the same movement with a rounded back, executing the movement with a compromised posture will not bring any benefits in term of postural rehabilitation. Movement itself can be an effective form of physical therapy if you simply, progressively, and mindfully reset the body in its original, natural movement mode. But the reason why you want to perform the move with a good posture is not just because of its effectiveness in stretching and strengthening the back, and support the restoration or maintenance of a good posture altogether. It’s primarily about efficiency in adapting to the specific environment. That’s explained in the following point.
- So two main practical reasons for maintaining a straight back in the foot-hand crawl, first off being able to better see where you are going. You want to always be aware of where you’re headed. It’s amusing to see this movement being used for mere “conditioning” while people pack in a gym with rounded backs looking down and bumping into each other. If you find yourself in a situation that demands that you move on all fours this way, you MUST look where you’re going, and if your back is rounded, it will put a great stress on your neck trying to keep your head up. The second reason is very similar to stepping under something, you want to avoid bruising and hurting your back, especially your spine, if you are going to pass underneath something hard. Keeping your hips level with head will allow you to know that if your head passed, the rest of your will follow without bumping into anything. Last but not least, good posture lends to better breath control.
- Breathing…yes yes yes, again and always. If you can’t control your breathing, especially from the diaphragm (abdominal breathing), inefficiency will control you and it won’t be pretty. You will asphyxiate your cells, tense the whole body, and waste tons of energy in the process. Put that damn diaphragm to use!
- Relaxation: no, not sitting in lotus stance, though it’s a super cool stance, but relaxing in motion, and that’s an art. Controlling in breathing will be very handy here. In any case, when you travel the opposite leg and arm forward, as the other leg and arm support your whole bodyweight, relax that leg and arm! You can’t tense your whole body all the time unless you want to look stiff because you ARE stiff and look inefficient because you ARE inefficient. Chill out!
So you like intensity all right, you want to go fast, but can you maintain that speed for much time? Can you be both fast and energy efficient? Maybe you want to slow down cow-boy, and practice this movement slowly at first, acquire the coordination, balance, and relaxation necessary, and increasingly go faster while making sure you’re not compromising form as you do. That’s MovNat. The most applicable conditioning stems from the increasingly challenging practice of complex skills without compromising with efficiency, ever (at least in training).
After you’ve developed this general technique, only then does it become time to increase difficulty by practicing the same movement on uneven surfaces, or a longer distance, at a higher speed, while balancing on something narrow, passing underneath an obstacle, while carrying a load on your back etc…possibilities are endless, but the rules of efficiency are not. I hope this helps.
Now you movnatters GO movnat…Vive La MovNation!
Erwan Le Corre
Founder of MovNat
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