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Born Again Crawler

Baby Elvis has been an amazing teacher and inspiration on how we learn to move. Watching him crawl all over the house has taught me so much about reflexive stability, how we acquire a new skill, and all the amazing knowledge we arrive in this world already possessing. Why do we forget what we know and lose flexibility as we grow? There are many lifestyle factors at play, but one thing’s for sure, these postures need to be consciously and regularly practiced. Heck, Elvis tried to crawl for about 3 weeks straight, army-style on his tummy and kept face planting for hours on end. For the rest of us, a couple of rehab exercises a day should be no problem!

“Reset” Button

Original Strength co-founder Tim Anderson wrote about the benefits of crawling in his book, Becoming Bulletproof. “There’s a reason kids learn to crawl before they take their first steps,” he explains. “It helps them develop a healthy gait pattern.” Calling itself “the foundation for all other training systems,” Original Strength helps people regain strength, mobility, and stability they once had. The system is said to help anyone “reset their operating system using a way they already know.” Nowadays, Original Strength teachers can be found worldwide including at Urban Wellness Clinic, and pro-athletes are beginning to welcome the practice. The “move like a baby” rediscovery is also big in China, where some claim the practice has cured their neck and back pain!

The neurodevelopmental progress of how a baby moves follows this sequence: tracking with the eyes, turning the head, rolling from on the back to the tummy, pushing oneself up to lift their head, crawling, half-kneeling and squatting, and finally pulling oneself up to stand and walk. We learn this way for a reason. Life is meant to be dynamic and ideally through our day we would walk, squat, rest, run, lift something heavy, get on your belly to examine something. We should be able to do all this with ease, but instead we sit all day and lose these baseline movement patterns. Did you know there’s a longevity study looking at how easily you can get off the floor from a sitting to standing position without using your hands? Try it now!

It’s harder than it looks to breathe, keep your head up, and crawl simultaneously!

Don’t despair if the test upsets you. At Urban Wellness Clinic, we too believe in the reset button–it’s fundamental to all of our approaches. Crawling works because it necessitates synchronizing the body parts involved in coordination, movement and reflexive stability, which can work toward ultimately resetting your nervous system if practiced enough. It’s harder than it looks to breathe, keep your head up, and crawl simultaneously! If you come to us, chances are we’ll recommend it, because on top of everything else, it’s an incredible way of checking in with your body. We’re here to help, and on all fours is a great place to start!

Of course, for those with knee issues, or other limitations, there is more than one way to get your crawl on. You can do it on your hands and knees, or you can get up on your toes and hover an inch or two above the ground–a great way to work those core muscles. As you crawl you’re also giving love to your shoulder girdle and your hips. This may be one of the most useful exercise out there! How ironic is it we learned it so early (the first time around)?

Are You Experienced?

The very cool thing here: almost anyone can take this on. In the process of relearning, it may not come naturally, but after some practice, the coordination comes back, and improvements happen. On top of having entered this world with all the necessary tools to perfectly calibrate your brilliantly designed body, chances are crawling exercises have been happening right under your nose. For example, the bird-dog yoga pose is a core strengthener and a cross crawl exercise that gets you on all fours extending opposing arms and legs. (Re)learning contralateral moves like these can help reprogram your nervous system, rebuild those connections, and is even linked to babies’ ability to read! The more you use it, the more you get it back!

If the thought of befriending the floor sounds like what the doctor ordered, visit our team at Urban Wellness Clinic for a full assessment of your history, your injuries both old and new, and a program customized to you! Give us a call at 212-355-0445 or email us at

Best in health,

Dr Emily Kiberd