While I was training in Tampa, Florida at CrossFit 813, I started joining in on their Animal Flow movement class each Tuesday evening. It was one of the best decisions I have made for my athletic development because it targeted specific limitations in strength that I had, and still have today. After seeing my snatch go up sixty pounds, my clean and jerk improve by thirty-five pounds, and my back squat improve I was completely hooked and knew it was something I needed to implement at Summit Strength and CrossFit SSP.
The past week I have started implementing a lot of animal flow movements into the workout of the day for the CrossFit class, as well as into my own training and warm ups. Additionally, our athletes always do animal flow for a warm up because it targets the tightest areas in most people, namely the hips and thoracic spine. But, what are the animal flow movements? Unfortunately there are more than I can get into in this short post, these three are the easiest to learn and implement daily:
- Bear Crawl: The bear crawl is a classic movement done by sports teams for a long time. Many of our athletes at Summit Strength strength already know this move so it has been easy to implement. To get into the position, start on your hands and knees, and then press through your toes so your knees are no longer on the ground. Additionally, try to keep your hips completely level. If I set your favorite beverage on your back, it should not fall off. Then, simply walk forward, backward, or side to side.
- Crab Walk: To do the crab walk, start by sitting down on your butt, then put your hands behind you in a comfortable position, and raise your hips as if you are going to do a bridge. Your hips and but should be slightly lower than your shoulders. Then, same as the bear crawl, walk forward, backward, or side to side.
- Ape Hop: The ape hop is often the most difficult animal flow move to do well. Start by squatting deep with your hands on the floor between your legs. Put your hands out in front of you, then jump your feet outside of your hands to return to the starting position. Do this move forward and back, and possible side to side as you get better.
These three movements are a good start to learn an animal flow. You can implement them as a warm up, conditioning sequence, or even a core strengthening routine. By doing these, you will definitely improve core strength, overall mobility, and strength in any overhead position.