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Build Upper Body Strength With Animal Walks and Hand-Walking Exercises

Michael is an online fitness writer who's an expert in strength training exercises.

Alligator walk exercise.

Alligator walk exercise.

Hand Walk Exercise Benefits

To do the plank exercise, you just hold yourself up with your arms while maintaining a straight back. It seems funny, but it is a very good exercise that is harder than it looks. Squats are another good exercise that might look silly. You lower yourself down like you are going to sit on a chair. In one exercise you mimic a table. In another, you mimic sitting in a chair. Good exercises often look a little weird.

There are exercises that look impressive and there are exercises that people do because they get results. Walking on your hands like an animal may seem silly, but it can provide you with a great workout. Think of walking on your hands as doing moving planks or push-ups. One of the main benefits is that you are pushing and pulling. Walking on your hands works most of your muscles. It is a full-body workout and one of the few ways to work out your biceps without equipment. You get to work your triceps, biceps, wrists, forearms, shoulders, back, chest and abs along with your leg muscles.

Since crawling uses so many muscles, doing animal walks is a good way to burn a lot of calories and lose fat while improving your strength, endurance, coordination and balance. There are lots of different ways to crawl and you can crawl in different directions, including sideways. To build muscle and lose fat make sure you challenge yourself. If the animal walks are not challenging enough by themselves then walk with some weights or pull something behind you.

Adding animal walks is a good way to mix up your workout routine if you want to build upper body strength and firm up your abs. The examples I provided below are just a few of the ways you could do it. Don't limit yourself. Use your imagination and you should be able to think of other ways to walk on your hands. I like to change my workout routine every 3 or 4 weeks. So I keep looking for new ways to exercise.

Bear Walk

Crawl on your hands and feet at a fast pace while keeping your butt high in the air and your knees off the ground. Move your right hand forward with your left foot and then move your left hand forward with your right foot to go forward. Reverse the movement to go backwards.

Tiger Walk

This walk is the same as the bear walk except you do not raise your butt higher than your head. Your body is parallel to the ground. Do not bend your back. Keep your body straight like you are doing a plank.

Panther Walk

Get into position like you are doing a tiger walk. Move your right arm and leg. Then move your left arm and leg. The difference is that you move the arm and leg on the same side together instead of moving the opposite arm and leg together.

3-Legged Walk

Walk around while keeping one leg or arm in the air. Go forwards, backwards and sideways. Pick a walk and try it with just 3 limbs.

Army Crawl

Get into an elbow plank stance but with your body on the ground and your legs hips-width apart. Then drag yourself forward using your arms. Move your arm and the opposite leg together and keep your elbows and knees close to the ground. To move your leg forward move your knee out to the side and towards your elbow. You abs should be engaged like you are holding a plank.

Alligator Crawl

Put your feet in a plastic bag or tie a towel around them. Then get into a raised push-up position making sure your back is straight. Walk forward by using only your arms while you drag your legs across the floor. You can also walk backwards. What you have your feet on and the floor you are using changes the difficulty. A towel provides more resistance than a plastic bag. So the exercise is easier with a bag and on some surfaces, a towel will not work.

Inchworm Walk

Keeping your legs straight, bend down and put your hands on the ground. Get into the plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Walk your hands forward past your head, taking small steps. Then walk your feet towards your hands taking small steps. Alternate between walking your hands forward and walking your feet towards your hands. Try to keep your hands and legs as straight as possible while stepping forward. Don't bend them more than you need to. When you move your hands forward keep your legs straight. Alternate between being flat and forming an upside-down V.

Centipede Crawl

Do this like the inchworm walk but alternate between moving your hands and moving your legs more frequently so you stay flat. While holding a plank you move your hands forward slightly by taking small steps with your arms. Then you take a few small steps with your legs.

Crab Walk

Lay down on your back and lift your body up using your arms and legs. Then walk backwards on all fours. You can also move sideways or forward. Move the opposite arm and leg together like a bear walk or move the arm and leg from the same side like a panther walk.

Doing the gorilla walk exercise.

Doing the gorilla walk exercise.

Walking up & down a door.

Walking up & down a door.

Gorilla Walk

Squat down with your legs shoulder-width apart and put your knuckles on the floor so they are between your feet. Quickly move both your hands ahead of you and place your knuckles back on the floor. Then swing your legs to your hands so your hands are between your legs again. Don't jump. Let your arms do most of the work. Alternate between moving your hands and moving your feet. You can also do this exercise with your palms down.

Wall Crawl

Get into the raised push-up position with your feet close to a wall or door. Walk backwards towards the wall with your hands and walk up the wall with your feet. Alternate between walking up the wall and walking back down. You can also walk sideways on the wall. If you need more grip, do it with your bare feet or while wearing a pair of shoes. Walk up and down slowly at a steady pace and be careful not to lose your balance. Exercising against a door or wall is another good way to mix up your workout routine.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Michael H