February 28, 2024

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Let the movement of animals inspire your next workout

Let the movement of animals inspire your next workout

Lately, my workouts have been looking a little weird: I've been gliding like a lizard, crawling like a bear and scurrying like a crab. It's called quadrupedal movement (or animal movement) training, and it's taken over TikTok (related hashtag, #primalmovement, 2.4 billion views).

At first glance, the rehearsals seem a bit silly, more like an audition for Gollum in “Lord of the Rings” than a workout. But is it effective?

Proponents say the exercise targets muscles often neglected by other workouts, and that moving your arms and legs diagonally across the body (instead of, say, running, where you only move in a line back and forth) is important for building flexible joints and body awareness. .

To test the animals' movement, I collected some common exercises and tried them four times a week for a month. Here's what I learned.

There is a lot of overlap between animal movement and more established practices e.g Yoga, Pilates And Danceany Seeks to Improves balance And essence powerAs well as increased joints Mobility “Stability and stability,” said Dr. Sachin Allahabadi, a Houston orthopedic surgeon who sometimes warms up with “bear crawls” before high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions.

But research on animal movement is still limited. One small study found this It burns around the same number As many calories as the duration of other moderate aerobic exercise, such as doubles tennis. last She suggests It improves coordination and flexibility of the hip and shoulder, which is especially important as we age.

At first, I found the exercises difficult and required intense concentration: what was my right hand doing, and where was my left foot? But after a few weeks, they started to feel familiar, almost like they were dancing. It also made me move in ways I rarely did, even in yoga classes, challenging my shoulders and arms. And while the 30-minute session didn't have the intensity of a 10K run, I was definitely panting as if I'd climbed a ridge.

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But it's not a panacea: it can become repetitive, and to maintain (or build) muscle mass, you need to add resistance training. It's also difficult to do this while watching Netflix.

From now on, I'll use animal movement to break up long periods at my desk, the way Jeffrey Buxton, an exercise scientist at Grove City College, does. Or I'll add them to my circuit training exercises — a round of crab walks to replace jumping jacks, for example. “It's an accessible exercise that defines a lot of elements,” Dr. Buxton said.