Crab Walk to Health
The crab walk puts you in a position never used for non-exercise or daily motion purposes. Balancing on your hands and feet with your front facing the ceiling and your hips thrust upwards, the crab walk challenges muscles to work in an unfamiliar way while stretching the muscles together and your body as a whole. Simply maintaining the position is a good workout but taking a few crabby steps back and forward and to either side results in extra strengthening and stretching for a full body workout.
Raise Your Pincers
Once you've gotten into the crab walk position you can do some more muscle toning by raising one leg into the air and trying to get it as close to perpendicular to the ground as possible. Then, switch to raising the other leg while balancing on your three planted limbs to work your glutes and your entire back as you stretch the hamstring of the raised leg. To enhance the full body stretch of the crab walk try to raise your hips up towards the ceiling as high as you can.
Transition From a Crawl
To include the hips in the stretching bonanza start off on all fours with your front towards the ground. Raise up so that just your feet and hands are touching the ground and your butt is in the air. Move your right leg to put it on the spot where your left hand is resting as you lift your left hand off the ground and turn your body so your front faces the ceiling. Plant your left hand behind you and you're back in the crab walk position. Do some crab walking and then switch back to the all-fours position so you can repeat the transition in the opposite direction.
Change Your Hands to Help Your Shoulders
Shoulder tightness leads to injury and exercise deficiencies almost across the board. Doing the crab walk with your fingers pointed away from your toes is a good way to improve shoulder flexibility. If you want to take the shoulder stretch to the next level, rotate your hands inwards so your fingers point towards your toes as you do the crab walk. You should only move to the new hand position once you've become comfortable with the crab walk.
One other "crab walk" exercise targets many of the same muscles as the traditional version but does so in a very different way. Step into the loop of a looped exercise band (if you have regular bands you can tie the ends together to make them a loop). Make sure the bands are snug around your ankles when your feet are just shoulder length apart. Keeping your left foot in place, step to the side with your right foot, pushing against the tension of the band. Take five steps to the right and then return in the other direction for a great hip flexor and core workout.