Jumping around like a monkey may sound ridiculous and stupid. But, when it’s done as an exercise, it can improve your endurance and agility. Animal walks or exercises that imitate the movements of animals have numerous benefits for sports, martial arts, and overall fitness. The easiest exercises can be performed even by beginners. But, the harder progressions require considerable strength and coordination.
Animal Walk Exercises For Endurance And Mobility
Animal walk exercises are calculated and coordinated. For instance, monkey walks are a good exercise to improve handstands and crab walks help improve shoulder mobility and hip hinge strength. Here are some animal walk exercises that enhance your agility and endurance.
1. Monkey Walks
Monkey walks can be performed in multiple variations and are ideal for mobility and total body control. It strengthens the upper body, especially the shoulders, and lower body muscles such as quads and hamstrings.
Begin from a typical bear crawl position and instead of moving forward and backward, move left to right. Move your feet simultaneously, just like a monkey. This fluidic and circling movement exercise improves your handstands and other overhead work.
2. Crab Walks
Crab walks are a fantastic exercise for beginners to condition their wrists and improve strength in the triceps, hamstring, and glutes. A more difficult variation involves you pushing your hips up until your body is completely horizontal. This harder variation helps improve your shoulder flexibility and strengthens your glutes and hamstrings.
Begin in a sitting position with your palms resting on the ground behind you. Lift your torso off the ground and using your left leg and right arm, move forward. Repeat the method with the other limbs. After a few steps, try crab walking backward.
3. Lizard Walk
Compared to other animal walk exercises, lizard walk is more intense and difficult. Though it offers a complete body workout, it particularly works the chest muscles. It’s so effective that it can almost replace push-ups. Lizard walk improves overall fitness, balance, and body control.
Begin on your hands and feet on the ground, with your body close to the floor. Extend your left arm out as far as you can and touch the ground. At the same time, move your right hip up in a smooth motion and bring your right knee up to your body so that your right foot is below your knee. Repeat the same on the other side.
4. Bear Walk
A bear walk exercise is similar to a crab walk, except that in a bear walk, you will be facing the ground, as opposed to facing upwards in a crab walk. Bear walk exercise is an effective workout for triceps, pectorals, and deltoids.
Just like a bear, begin on all fours while facing the ground. Extend your arms completely and keep your legs as straight as you possibly can. Walk forward for a few steps, and then backward.
5. Duck Walks
This is a simple yet effective animal walk exercise. Duck walk is moving forward or backward while in a squatting position. The aim is to stay as low as possible for the entire duration of the exercise. Some people with less lower body mobility may find it hard to keep low.
But, try to go as low as your mobility permits. Duck walk is hugely beneficial for the entire lower body mobility, and greatly increases the flexibility and strength in the hip region. It is quite strenuous and can be a good endurance builder.
6. Bunny Hops
Bunny hops is an excellent overall exercise. It can improve the explosiveness and mobility in your lower body. Since this exercise is dynamic in nature, it exposes your lower body to a wide range of movements that you normally don’t experience in other exercises. This has a tremendous impact in improving the lower body mobility.
By varying the height and distance of the hop, you can greatly improve the explosiveness in the lower body. The higher and further the jump gets, the more plyometric strength the bunny hop will require.
7. Chameleon Walks
The chameleon walk is the most strength demanding exercise among all animals walks. This walk involves moving while doing a one-arm-one-leg push-up, which is quite tricky. Chameleon walks increase strength and stability throughout the body more effectively than any other animal walk exercises.
Since it is difficult to balance your body on just one arm and one leg, this exercise develops your movement coordination. It also improves your stability and your endurance level.