Show me the alligator walk and I’ll show you a total-body workout that fires up your core, chest, strongest triceps and — well — pretty much every muscle group.
These animal-themed workouts have a habit of keeping us humbled whenever we do them in our week-long fitness challenges at Tom’s Guide. And make no mistake – this is a muscle-building class, regardless of your physical ability.
This exercise mimics the movement pattern of an alligator, combining a high plank with crawling and push-ups as you move across the floor. So put down your best kettlebells and dumbbells, you don’t need them here.
I gave my crocodile a seven-minute walk every day for a week to see what (if anything) would happen to my body. Here are my results.
How to do the crocodile walk exercise
Like any exercise, there are many different interpretations of the alligator walk on YouTube and social media, but this is walking with good posture.
- Start in a high plank position, arms straight, shoulders stacked over wrists
- Engage your core and squeeze your glutes
- Reach your left hand forward as far as possible, while bending your right leg and pulling it toward your right elbow, pressing the ball of your foot into the ground
- As you do this, lower yourself into a pushup position with your chest close to the ground and your hips in line with your shoulders.
- As you push back up, switch arms and legs by stepping forward with your right arm and left leg. Continue the repetitions, lowering your chest each time you walk.
I did the Crocodile Walk workout for 7 minutes every day for a week – here are my results
First battle – lack of space.
In the summer, I brazenly took the crocodile out for a walk in the communal garden. But when the fall frost finally subsided, I was hesitant to get started with concrete.
Instead, I decided to walk from room to room, using the 60 seconds on, 30 seconds off format, for a total of seven minutes, knocking into multiple plants and knocking over my glass of water. We’re off to a good start.
I started Day Two with more optimism. Wait, can I feel these DOMS?
My triceps, chest and core were definitely sore and I felt a bit stiff when I got dressed. The alligator walk combines push-ups and crawls, which means you’ll hit your triceps, pectorals, and anterior deltoids (front of your shoulders), hitting your core hard in the process.
You’ll also build strength in your hip flexors, glutes, and quadriceps, but this exercise is especially challenging on the upper body. I started having flashbacks to the similarly named alligator pull-up abs challenge, which burned my arms and chest in equal measure when I tried it.
Day 3 & 4
Over the next few days, I got used to the technique and decided to play with speed instead. If you don’t have a full set of push-ups available, spend time practicing and coordinating your arms and legs instead of practicing distance or repetitions.
To make strength training more cardio-focused, increase your pace — easier said than done in a small-city apartment — or slow it down with a technique called time under tension. I like to use this technique for pushups and squats because you can benefit from any exercise. Slowing down the eccentric and concentric phases helps develop control and hold muscles under tension longer, building strength and muscle in the process.
Both options increased the intensity of the workout on my muscles, reminding me that calisthenics (bodyweight training) can build strength and improve balance, coordination and mind-muscle connection without lifting heavy weights. A time and a place, and all that.
Day 5 & 6
As the week came to a close, I concluded that, unlike push-ups, sit-ups and crunches, crocs need space and you are simply compromising without it.
Despite adjusting the space to the back many times (this method is extremely difficult and requires even more coordination because your butt will try to shoot into the air), I still crave a runner or floor exercise to move forward and build momentum – a lesson for next time.
Despite the setbacks, I still managed to get my heart rate up, burn the muscles in my body, and fire up my hip flexors. And I had fun doing it, which is more than can be said for some of our TG fitness challenges.
After seven days of continuous upper-body training, I noticed my muscles were a bit tired and I was starting to lose coordination as I shifted my weight along the floor. Your weight should be evenly distributed as you move, which will help you avoid dropping your hips. I recommend dialing in your form using a mirror or filming yourself if you’re new to the move.
I did the Crocodile Walk workout 7 minutes every day for a week – verdict
Of course, after a week I didn’t look any different, but I enjoyed spending time doing push-ups, and my technique and coordination improved.
Exercises like these help develop mobility, improve mobility, and strengthen your joints, bones, and muscles when done regularly. Croc crawls work well as a stand-alone strength workout, or you can add them to workouts like racing to build your endurance.
If you are determined to walk like an animal and this exercise is not yet possible, use bridging exercises. Crab walking (as described in the article I Did the 7-Minute Crab Walk Every Day for a Week and Here’s What Happened) will help you get used to moving on your hands and knees. and move your body; Bear crawls use the same movement pattern without the push-ups.
Want to make the exercise even harder? Try holding a pair of dumbbells to create a deficit or wrapping a resistance band over your shoulders. And while the croc crawl is a core-burning exercise, if your goal is to develop lean abs, we recommend a mix of isolation and compound exercises to hit the abs hard .
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