Some fitness moves require more coordination than others. The surfer burpee has more moving parts than, say, a classic squat–right? If you’ve ever tried a lateral bear crawl, you probably already know that it’s one of those (hard)core exercises that’s as much a mental workout as a physical one. But on this week’s episode of The Right Way, Kat Atienza, coach and co-owner of circuit-training studio Session in New York City, is taking you step-by-step through this intricate core move.
If you’re new to the lateral bear crawl, the exercise involves coming to your hands and knees and lifting your knees a few inches off the ground so that you’re balancing on the balls of your feet and palms. Once you feel stable here, you’ll slowly walk (on all fours, yep!) to your right a few paces, then back to your left.
Performed correctly, the move activates your entire core, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, and more. The problem is, it can be hard to stay stable as you’re moving side to side. You may find yourself feeling tangled up and unsure of how to transfer your weight to one arm and leg at a time. Fortunately, Atienza has a great tip to help you feel solid in your bear plank position.
As you’re moving right to left, you may feel compelled to step your left hand and your left foot out before bringing both your right hand and right leg in to come back into your bear. “This adds a little bit of a sway to one side,” says Atienza. Not to mention, it takes a lot of the work out of your core.
Instead, Atienza recommends moving in a slightly different pattern. “As we step laterally, hand and opposite leg are going to step to that same side. Then the other hand and the opposite leg are going to step the same way,” she says. “This really allows for your weight to be evenly distributed.”
Now you know how to do your lateral bear crawl with all the coordination of a fitness instructor. But make sure you watch the whole video to learn Atienza’s other tips for nailing this tricky, but worthwhile, core move. Then you’re ready to throw this exercise into the mix with your planks, crunches, and other midsection-focused moves.
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