Bear Crawls Are the New Planks. I Hate Them.

Ever since late summer, I’ve been working out at the gym in a small-group setting. I’d had a personal trainer before who focused solely on strength; the program at my gym, THRIVE, also emphasizes balance and functionality. New gym members are given two months’ worth of free sessions. My original trainer wasn’t a great fit, and it was an adjustment for me to go from one-on-one attention to being in a small group.

I signed up with a new trainer last summer and this second time around has gone a bit smoother. I work out with the same person, more or less, and we get along well. The new trainer has adjusted to me, too. I am mouthy and tend to get inordinately crabby when he tells me to do an extra round of exercises at the last minute or when he’s inflexible about the order of exercises or when he changes the music so I have to listen to the Timberlake station on Pandora for a whole hour, AGAIN.

But he bears the full brunt of my wrath when the workout calls for bear crawls. I thought my workout anger had peaked when I had to plank, but it dwarfs in comparison to the rage I feel about bear crawls.

Here is a prototypical enthusiastic personal trainer cheerfully advising others on how to make poor, unsuspecting clients instantly miserable:

I tweaked my back while doing some lateral bear crawls yesterday (and promptly exacerbated the pain while doing kettle ball deadlifts) and earned myself some snuggle time with a heating pad today.

My problem, even when I plank, is I stiffen my back and not my core. Like the trainer explains in the video, my legs make larger strides to overcompensate for weak upper body strength and in the process strain my quads. My trainer constantly corrects me on my large stride and I helpfully tell him large strides make the exercise go by quicker so I can stop using all my mental facilities in channeling my hate toward him, and use them toward something positive and productive.

He tries to sugarcoat with smiley faces and exclamation points on the workout boards, and when I tell him that I’ve watched lots of NatGeo specials and highlights of Chicago Bears games and the Chicago Cubs victory parade and I can say with some authority BEARS DO NOT CRAWL LIKE THIS, he just shrugs and tells me I have to do three sets of 20 yards of crawls.

Bear Crawls Are the New Planks. I Hate Them.

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