The stationary bear crawl, or opposite hand-knee lift is one of our favourite exercises to activate the spinal stabilizers that play a key role in back injury prevention. Often times, those who have chronic back pain have difficulty activating their multifidus, a stabilizer of the low back and pelvis. This exercise helps to activate and strengthen the multifidus, iliocostalis, longissimus, as well as improving core stability and reinforcing a healthy, neutral spine. No equipment necessary – this can be done anywhere.
What to do:
In a four-point position, place your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Find your neutral spine (not too arched or rounded), ensure your chin is tucked and that you are looking straight down. Brace your core and lift your opposite hand and knee just off the ground. Hold for a few seconds then return to your starting position and alternate sides, breathing regularly. Focus on keeping the movement controlled and minimizing swaying of the hips.Below is a video of what NOT to do:In the video directly above, neutral spine is lost. The back is arched as the pelvis comes into anterior tilt and hips are rocking side to side. You can place a water bottle or foam roller on your lower back to ensure you don’t lose your neutral spine. We like to aim for 3 sets of 10 lifts.