Benefits, muscles worked and mistakes to avoid   


The crab walk is an intense core and upper body strengthening exercise that’s done using bodyweight as resistance. Not only does this exercise strengthen the core muscles, but it also helps burn fat and targets the shoulders, back, arms and legs, especially the hamstrings.

Performing this exercise can feel a bit awkward and challenging at first, but by following the correct form and steps, you can master this full body strengthening exercise. Read on to learn how it’s performed and what benefits it offers:

How to do the crab walk exercise

Step 1: Start seated on the floor or an exercise mat with knees bent and hands at least two inches behind. Keep your fingertips pointed towards the hips, keeping an upright posture.

Step 2: Lift your hips slowly off the floor while keeping the knees bent and arms straight.

Step 3: Bring your left foot forward, and simultaneously move your right hand forward. Repeat with your right foot and left hand while focusing on posture and movement.

Step 4: Do not arch your back or bend your hips down throughout the exercise. Make sure that the spine is neutral and the shoulders are pulled back and down. Keep your gaze straight.

Step 5: Maintain this position, and continue to walk forward, aiming for ten reps. Gradually, increase the reps as you gain more confidence and strength.

Beginner tips

Focus on your form. (Photo via Instagram/vulkanskaslottet)
Focus on your form. (Photo via Instagram/vulkanskaslottet)

Here are some quick tips to make the crab walk exercise easy and maximize the results:

  • Ensure that the palms are directly behind the butt and feet are at an appropriate distance. The abs should be engaged throughout the exercise to prevent straining the back.
  • To spice up the exercise, you can do this move at different speeds and challenge your muscles even more.
  • Focus on your posture throughout the move to prevent straining and injuring the neck and shoulders.

What are the benefits?

Here are some of the reasons to add the crab walk exercise to your workout routine:

It can be done anywhere, any time

The best thing about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere, any time, that too without any equipment. All you need is your body as resistance and enough space to perform the move.

It’s a full body intense exercise

If you want to target some major muscles in the body in a short time, this exercise is a good option. Just a few reps of this full body movement can tone and strengthen many of the major upper and lower body muscles.

It’s easy to learn

Crab walk strengthens major lower and upper body muscles. (Photo via Pexels/Pikx By Panther)
Crab walk strengthens major lower and upper body muscles. (Photo via Pexels/Pikx By Panther)

Initially, this exercise might seem challenging, but it’s relatively easy to learn. Despite being easy to learn, the crab walk is a demanding exercise and require great upper body strength.

So, if you’re a beginner, first focus on building strength before attempting this exercise to prevent pain and injury.

Mistakes to look out for

Although the crab walk can be mastered in a few attempts, there are some mistakes you should look out for.

First do not bend your elbows while doing the exercise, as it can make your posture and movement quite uncomfortable. Keep the arms straight throughout the exercise to avoid strain and discomfort.

The next thing you want to watch out for is flat feet. When doing the exercise, do not keep your feet flat on the floor; instead allow your toes to lift slightly, and get on your heels for more hip stability. Do not rush through reps; instead focus on a slow pace to gain the maximum benefits of this exercise.

What muscles does the crab walk exercise target?

Crab walk tones the core. (Photo via Pexels/Scott Webb)
Crab walk tones the core. (Photo via Pexels/Scott Webb)

The crab walk exercise targets several muscles, including the shoulders, triceps, abdominals, quadriceps and hamstrings. It can be considered a full body move, as it works on different muscle groups at once and benefits more in less time.

The best thing about this exercise is that it doesn’t require any additional equipment and can be easily added to any workout routine.

Add this move to your daily cardio or HIIT workouts to attain the best results. You can also do it as part of your warm-up session before going for weight-lifting exercises.

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