Animal walks are a great way to warm up, but they can also be amazing movement drills for strength, conditioning and improving the overall movement coordination, mobility and capacity in the human body.
Animal walks have great benefits for sports, martial arts and overall fitness. The easiest progressions are approachable by absolute beginners, but the harder progressions require an immense amount of strength and coordination.
How much you want to utilize the animals walk exercises, and how far you want to take them, depends on your personal taste. We have taken the animals walk exercises to the extreme.
You can develop many different aspects of fitness with different animal walks.'
For example, monkey walks tend to be great for improving handstands, crab walks are great for improving shoulder mobility and hip hinge strength, and chameleon walks will really blast your triceps and chest muscles.
Below is our animal walk video demonstrating over 10 different animal walk variations.
Duck walk is a moving squat position where you are trying to stay as low as possible the entire duration of the exercise.
If your mobility in the lower body is not good enough to go this low, just try to go as low as your mobility allows.
Duck walks have great benefits for the entire lower body mobility, especially improving the flexibility and strength in the hips.
The exercise is surprisingly strenuous as well, and can act as a reasonable strength builder. It's an amazing warm-up exercise for sports and martial arts as well.
Bunny Hops Exercise
Bunny hops are a great exercise to improve the explosiveness and mobility in your lower body.
The dynamic nature of bunny hops will push your lower body through a range of motion that you normally wouldn't have the mobility for. This is the reason why they improve the lower body mobility so effectively.
If you want to develop explosiveness in the lower body, just vary the height and distance of your bunny hops. The higher and further you jump, the more plyometric strength the move will require.
This is a great beginner exercise to condition your wrists and improve strength in the triceps, hamstring and glutes.
The hardest variation is to push your hips up until your body is completely horizontal. This variation will greatly improve your shoulder flexibility and also strengthen tremendously your glutes and hamstrings.
Advanced crab walks also put the triceps under more stress.
The advanced crab walk exercise is also called a "table walk". You can increase the difficulty even further, when you focus on one leg and one arm at the time, while you are moving forward.
You can also move backwards.
This is a movement pattern where you are moving forward by leaning towards your knees and leaping forward (or backwards) with your legs.
You can increase the difficulty by increasing the distance you leap with your legs.
This is a popular conditioning exercise in budo martial arts, where the samurais used to hold their swords on their hips. This improves the body's ability to move with ease from the traditional Japanese sitting position.
Sneaking monkey is a great exercise for your lower body mobility.
Horse walk is a great exercise for opening up the hips and improving the mobility in the lower body's abductors and adductors.
You take the traditional horse stance (an ancient exercise in Shaolin martial arts) and then just start moving forward while trying to keep the depth of the hips as low as possible.
Horse walk is a much more pleasant way to improve your lower body mobility compared to just holding horse stance for a long periods of time.
This is the most strength demanding exercise among all animals walks.
Chameleon walk is basically a moving one arm-one leg push up!
Chameleon walks will build the strength and stability in the entire body better than any other animal walk out there. If you master this, you are a beast.
The one arm-one leg aspect of the chameleon walks will develop your movement coordination and stabilizers like nothing else, because it's very difficult to keep the body balanced with just two limbs.
To check the correct progressions for lizard walks and chameleon walks, check our article below:
Scorpion Walks and Scorpion Jumps
Scorpion walks are an awesome exercise, and they require a high level of mobility in the thoracic spine, core, hips, and shoulders.
Check our video and pictures for the best demonstration of this exercise.
In scorpion walks, you are basically throwing your leg over your hips and let your body follow with the movement.
The harder variation is to do the same movement, but this time with a jump. The jump will greatly increase the difficulty of the exercise.
Scorpion jumps look cool too, and they feel even cooler.
This is a very low crawl with maximal control in the extension of the elbows (controlling the range of motion with triceps).
Crouching tiger is a very fun way to move low on the ground.
Although it's not as hard as advanced lizard walks, the crouching tiger will still develop your body into a better movement locomotion machine.
This is an exercise that will develop your body's coordination. It also has small strength and mobility building elements to it.
Check our video for the best demonstration.
This is a fun flowing and circling movement exercise you can do to improve your handstands and other overhead work.
Because you are doing the monkey rolls in one spot, you can just keep on doing monkey rolls, then do more monkey rolls, and later notice you did them for 10 minutes straight.
Animal Walks Programming
How much you like to do these drills depends on your personal taste. If you are only looking for a fun way to warm-up, that's great too.
If you want to really practice these skills and create an awesome locomotion flow, then you can spend hours practicing these drills.
You can do different animals walks individually, but you can also combine them into a locomotion flow where you are transitioning between different animals walks.
If you are interested in other animal walk exercises, and you really want to master the lizard walk or learn how to move like a monkey, check our posts:
Train hard, stay safe.