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Spiderman Crawls: How To, Alternatives,…

There are many different ways to improve your current exercise routine. What about doing spiderman crawls, what will the effects be?

Spiderman crawls, also known as spider walks, are an exercise where you crawl on your hands and feet in a specific way. With each step you bring your legs sideways forward close to the arm of that side.

Spiderman crawls are an exercise that can be useful as a warmup, to improve flexibility in hip adductors, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, to improve hip mobility, or to improve coordination.

For other fitness goals, there are likely better exercise options. You do get some cardiovascular and muscle engagement when doing spiderman crawls but generally not that much.

Whether you should add spiderman crawls or alternatives to your routine depends on things like your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals.

How to do a spiderman crawl

For the spiderman crawl you need a good amount of space in front of you and a surface that is suited for this exercise. Once you have that, to do a spiderman crawl take the following steps:

  1. Start in high plank position. That means on your hands and feet with your body straight and shoulders above your hands.
  2. Move one hand forward and the leg of the opposite side out to the side and forward. You want to move the leg forward as close to the hand of that side as comfortable.
  3. Repeat the same movement but with the hand and leg of the opposite side.
  4. Keep moving forward by alternating between step 2 and step 3.

You may have to get used to the spiderman crawl movement before you can do it at higher speeds. You can start at a very slow speed and build up from there.

The main attention points for spiderman crawls are keeping your neck and head in one line with your body and keeping your back more or less straight.

If you don’t have the room to crawl for at least a few steps you can also consider just doing the superman stretch.

How to do a spiderman crawl

Spiderman crawl muscles worked

Spiderman crawls mainly engage your core, hip flexor and glute muscles. Your erector spinae, hamstrings, shoulders, back, chest, triceps, and quadriceps will have to work to a certain extent too.

Besides that, spiderman crawls can help you stretch muscles like your hip adductors, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

Exercise beginners may even be able to build a tiny amount of hip flexor, ab, and oblique muscle with spiderman crawls. However, this exercise will likely stop being challenging enough soon to see a lot of muscle growth and strength progress.

Any progress is a nice addition but if you are serious about building muscle you likely want to turn to more challenging resistance training exercises.

In theory, you can strap on ankle and/or wrist weights to see more hip flexor and shoulder muscle growth. Even then, there will be more effective ways to strengthen these muscles.

Spiderman crawl benefits

Some people question how useful this exercise can be but adding spiderman crawls to your routine can offer you some helpful benefits. Some of the most important ones include:

  1. Injury prevention: Warming up your muscles with spiderman crawls before pushing them hard can help you reduce your injury risk. In turn this can save you from weeks of training downtime.
  2. Flexibility and mobility: Spiderman crawls can push your boundaries when it comes to range of motion of certain body parts, mainly your hips. By doing this you can gain some flexibility and mobility.
  3. Improved athletic performance: Warming up your muscles before they have to perform in a competition with spiderman crawls can make them work better (generate more power, work faster,…).
  4. Balance and coordination: Balance and coordination are fitness skills that can be improved by challenging them. Spiderman crawls can help you with this.
  5. No equipment or location required: Since spiderman crawls are a bodyweight exercise you don’t have to invest in equipment or be in a specific location.
  6. Busy schedule friendly: To get the benefits of spiderman crawls you only need a few spare minutes throughout the day. You can even do this exercise while talking to friends and family.

While inevitably many workouts are better for some of these benefits than spiderman crawls, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one activity to your routine.

Potential risks

The main thing to keep in mind is that spiderman crawls can be hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, hip flexors, wrists, shoulders, elbows, and lower back, even if you implement the right technique.

If you are sensitive or weak in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any back, wrist, or hip pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before implementing spiderman crawls into your workout routine.

If you feel pain in any body parts it may be a sign you are overdoing it. In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, a less intense workout schedule, or it may be a sign that spiderman crawls are not (yet) for you.

That being said, spiderman crawls are a relatively safe exercise for most people if they don’t overdo it with how far they put their feet forward per step.

Spiderman crawl alternatives

While spiderman crawls can definitely be a great addition to your workout routine, there are also some alternatives available for training similar aspects of your physical health. Some of these spiderman crawl alternatives include:

  • Spider lunges
  • Other crawl variations
  • Knee to chest stretch
  • High knees
  • Standing leg lifts
  • Spider lunges
  • Crab walks
  • Standing toe touches
  • Hip flexor stretches

Which one of these options is the best depends on things like your personal situation, training goals, the equipment you have available, etc.

Conclusion

Many people will benefit from adding spiderman crawls with the right technique to their routine to improve flexibility in hip adductors, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, to improve hip mobility, to warm up, or improve coordination.

For both cardiovascular and muscular training, other exercise options are likely better.

Also keep in mind that consistency is an important factor for any workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently. If doing spiderman crawls is a workout you love, great. If not, other exercises can also offer a lot of benefits.

If you do decide to implement more spiderman crawls make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles.