How to Do the Inchworm Exercise

fit sportive man and woman doing plank core exercise training

The inchworm is an exercise that works the arms, chest and upper back as well as the lower back and abs. It is called the inchworm because it mimics the up-and-down motion of a worm moving across a flat surface. The exercise requires no additional equipment, meaning you can do it almost anywhere. Consult your physician before starting an exercise program, especially if you are new to exercise.

Stand with your feet at hip width. Hinge forward at the waist and touch the floor with your palms. Bend your knees, if necessary.

Walk your hands forward until you are supporting all your weight on your hands and toes. Your body should make a straight line and your hands should line up with your shoulders. Hold this position for 10 seconds.

Walk your feet forward to meet your hands. Keep your palms on the floor and bend your knees, if necessary.

Repeat the inchworm five times or until you get to a wall. Turn around and inchworm back in the opposite direction.


Several additional moves will increase the intensity in the bottom of the inchworm: Do up to five push-ups. Alternate lifting each foot for five seconds. Pivot to one side to balance on one arm, then switch to the other side.


To prevent injury to your back during inchworms, keep your back as straight as possible throughout every movement. Don't let your lower back round. Because reaching too far forward with your arms puts stress on your shoulders, make smaller movements as you inch forward with your hands.