Crab kicks are a variation of the crab bridges meant to engage your muscles more. In this exercise you get in the crab position and alternately kick up your legs.
This exercise will not require you to have any equipment to perform.
A crab position is where you ground your arms behind your back and use them and your legs to keep your body suspended.
Holding the bridge is a challenge by itself but if you want more engagement from your exercise you can incorporate the kicks.
This exercise is mainly good for training your cardiovascular health and it also engages more muscles compared to traditional cardio exercises.
By increasing your heart rate, crab kicks will also boost your metabolism which helps burn fat and build muscles.
If your goal is to only train for cardio, there are better options than the crab kicks.
However, if you want to train cardio while working most of your body muscles then the crab kicks are the right exercise for you.
Crab kicks can be incorporated into your workout program since it is useful for full body warm-up and also improve your coordination when doing complex exercises.
The exercise will engage your triceps and deltoids to help keep your body from sinking down. All leg, glute and hip muscles are involved in the kicking action.
Your abdominals and core muscles will at the same time help you to balance and stabilize your body.
HOW TO DO CRAB KICKS
For this exercise, all you need is a space with enough free room for you to move your legs comfortably.
You can also get an exercise mat to make the exercise more comfortable for your hands although any flat surface could work.
- Start by sitting on the floor with your hands grounded behind you and your feet hip-width apart in front of you.
- Your palms should be sturdy on the floor and in such a way that your fingers are pointing toward your feet.
- Tighten your abs to lift your hips off the ground. Keep your shoulders pushed down throughout the exercise instead of letting them droop.
- Move up your right leg and stretch it. Kick the leg up about almost 90 degrees with your hips as far as it can stretch.
- Return your leg back to start position and repeat the movement with your other leg.
- Do as many repetitions of this movement as you comfortably can for around 3 sets.
You can do the kicks faster for more cardiovascular engagement although it will take time to get used to the crab kicks before you can advance to the higher speeds.
Remember to keep your arms straight and hips lifted throughout the exercise. It is also important to keep your shoulders fully engaged and pressed down.
Doing faster kicks is one of the ways to make the exercise more challenging. If you feel normal paced kicks are becoming too easy, you can turn it up by doing quicker kicks.
You should also make sure you are familiar and comfortable with this exercise before advancing to the faster kicks.
You can also make the crab kicks more challenging by incorporating ankle weights and a weighted vest.
This will make the exercise work your muscles even harder because of the increased resistance from the weights.
WHAT MUSCLES DO CRAB KICKS WORK?
Crab kicks are classified under full-body exercises since they are a compound exercise that targets and works most of the muscle groups in your body.
There however are some muscles that will be worked harder than others. They will primarily target your hip flexors, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
They will also work your core, lower back, triceps, deltoids, and trapezius muscles to some extent.
Hip flexors are a group of muscles near the top of your thighs that are key players in moving your lower body.
They let you to walk, kick, bend, and swivel your hips. These muscles help lift your leg off the ground to perform the actual crab kick.
The gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus are important for helping lift your legs and rotation.
These muscles are found in the posterior off the hips and make up your butt muscles.
The glutes also help stabilize your pelvis while also extending your hips. They therefore help hold the crab position and lift the leg.
QUADRICEPS AND HAMSTRINGS
Quadriceps are the muscle group that covers the front and sides of the thigh and extend to the knee to help in walking, standing and most activities involving the leg
Hamstrings extend down the back side of the thighs and also help in lifting and lowering the legs during crab kicks.
Your core muscles are engaged throughout the crab kicks to make sure the hips stay suspended.
The exercise will also target your shoulder and chest muscles as well as your triceps which offer support for the arm.
BENEFITS OF DOING CRAB KICKS
- Helps lose weight. This exercise will elevate your metabolism as it gets your heart rate up since it is a cardiovascular exercise.
High metabolism will burn body fat. Crab kicks will also help burn calories while building extra muscle mass.
- Strengthens your muscles. Crab kicks also work your muscle besides being your cardiovascular exercise.
The main priority of the exercise are the hamstrings, quads and glutes. The crab kicks will work these muscles to boost strength overtime.
- Improves balance and coordination. Crab kicks will challenge your coordination while alternating legs and maintaining the movement when doing the exercise.
Don’t require equipment. This is advantageous especially for people who don’t have access to workout equipment or a gym.
All this exercise requires is space to move freely. It will work your muscles without needing to result to additional equipment.
- Improves flexibility. Crab kicks will improve the mobility of your hips and also increase range of motion of your legs. This will improve your flexibility and mobility.
ALTERNATIVES TO CRAB KICKS
Start by sitting on the floor with your feet out in front of you, hip-width apart.
Plant your palms behind you and push up onto your hands and feet so your hips are raised. Walk back and forth for a full set.
This exercise is similar to the kicks except that it replaces the kicks with a crawl-like movement on your fours.
This exercise is a great workout for the core. From your crab position bring one elbow and the opposite knee together, alternating sides with each rep.
It’s a test of both balance and strength, and it will take time to get used to it before you can do it right.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING CRAB KICKS
STARTING OFF TOO FAST
If you are just starting out this exercise, it is important to start off with slow kicks before advancing to the faster ones.
Take time to learn proper coordination for this workout to make it easier for you to attempt the advanced version.
Since crab kicks double as cardiovascular and resistance training workout they will be an excellent addition to your exercise routine.
Crab kicks can be a good exercise choice as a warm-up or coordination training exercise.
Remember to stay consistent since it is the only way any workout plan can be effective.