One of the things we use a lot in BJJ training are animal inspired bodyweight exercises. From the Shrimp to the Alligator (and its more sinister cousin the Rotagilla, which is a backwards Alligator), the act of moving my bodyweight through different crawls has proven to be more of a challenge than I thought it would.

I mean, since I do a lot of bodyweight training in my training programs I figured that moving around on the floor couldn’t be too hard. However, I quickly found that “static” bodyweight exercises where you stay in one place are much different than ones where you actually move around.

Anytime I come across something that seems harder than it should be I figure I’ve exposed a weakness that needs to be addressed. This led me to start using more animal crawls in my warm ups and on my “light” workout days. It also led me to start looking for more info on new animal crawls and how to incorporate them into my workouts.

After looking around a bit I found out that the technical term for animal crawls are Animal Flows and that there are a lot of cool ones to choose from. So, that leads me to my workout this morning. One of the resources I came across was the Global Bodyweight Training website and the Animal Flow Workouts. I bought yesterday it and started to use what I learned from it right away.

In it you learn 3 basic Animal Forms – the Ape, Beast and Crab – plus 3 transitions. All of the Animal Forms can be done forward, backwards and sideways for different challenges and the transitions are not only great ways to move from one form to the next but they are also killer exercises themselves.

For example, the Front Kickthrough not only looks really cool but it makes a great addition to a cardio circuit. This morning I was alternating 20 KB Swings (you can do 10 Squat Jumps if you don’t have a KB) with 10 Front Kickthroughs, resting just long enough to catch my breath between sets. Do that for 5 rounds and your heart will be pounding, guaranteed!

Here is a video from the Animal Flow Workouts videos going over how to do a Traveling and Static Frog so you can try this workout for yourself. Start with the easiest version, especially if you have any issues with your shoulders.

I’m really digging the this new element in my program. They are fun to do and they really challenge me in new ways. Plus, they seem to be doing my shoulders a lot of good – something from having to stabilize my shoulders as I use my arms to “walk” on.

I’ve already got some great ideas on how to incorporate these new Animal Flows into the No Gym, No Problem Bodyweight Workout Program and I’m sure you’ll find them a valuable addition to your program as well.

-James Wilson-

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