7 Animal-Inspired Workout Moves

by Ashley Macha

If you’re sick of squats, lunges, and shoulder presses, it might be time to take some inspiration from the animal kingdom. Primal or animal-inspired exercise moves bring together the mobility, flexibility, stability, power, and endurance of some of the most athletic create that roam the earth (I can't make any guarantees that you'll be able to run as graceful as a gazelle, though).

A little skeptical to slither, crouch, and crawl across the gym floor? I promise, these moves aren't as bizarre as they sound, and they're a whole lot of fun. In fact, I'm almost positive you've at least heard of (if not definitely done) some of these moves already in a workout class.

1. Bear Crawl

Get ready to tone your arms, shoulders, abs, butt, hips, and hamstrings with one single move. To do a bear crawl, start on all fours in an upside down “V” shape, with your hands and feet flat on the ground and your butt in the air (growling is optional). Set a short distance (between 20 to 50 meters) and start crawling towards the line and then back again, making sure to keep your legs and arms straight. If this is too hard, come down to your knees and continue crawling.

2. Spider-Man Push-Ups

Time to break out that Spider-Man Halloween costume! Even if you're not a massive comic book fan, you’ll love doing Spider-Man push-ups to work your pectorals, shoulders, and abs. Start by getting into push-up position and as you bring your body down, pick your right leg up so that your right knee meets your right hand. Bring it back to push-up position on the way up and repeat with the left leg.

3. Donkey Kicks

Now this one is fun! Kick your legs back for this butt-lifting exercise, which also targets your abs and hips. To do a donkey kick, start on all fours with your arms shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Kick your right leg up behind you as high as you can. Switch legs and repeat, alternating on both sides. To add difficulty, put a weight in between the crease of the back of your knee and hee haw away!

4. Cobra Pose

This yoga move is great stretch to do in the morning to wake up your body and mind. You’ll feel it in your abs, shoulders, chest, butt, and back. To do a cobra pose, lay on your stomach on a yoga mat and place your hands on either side of your chest, about shoulder-width apart. Point your toes and gently pull your chest up and forward, holding for a few breaths and namaste your worries away.

5. Inchworms

Don’t worry, this isn’t a fancy version of the worm breakdance move (although, if you’re feeling it, go for it). To do an inchworm, start in a standing position, bending to move your hands to the ground in a high “V” position. Walk your hands slowly forward on the ground until you are in plank position and then immediately walk them back to your feet until you are standing again. This exercise strengthens stability, works your core, glutes, chest, deltoids, and is also good hamstring stretch.

6. Froggers

Remember playing leap frog as a kid? Yeah, these are nothing like that, but equally as entertaining. Froggers help open up your hip flexors and give your legs a nice stretch. Start by doing a push-up, and as you make your way back up, jump your feet up to where your hands were and pop your hands up, staying in a squat position, (similar to a frog) then hop back to a push-up position.

7. Crab Toe-Touches

I won’t make you do an awkward crab walk, but crab toe-touches will still give you a good workout. Start in a crab position, with your hands below your shoulders and your feet on the floor, and your hips pointing high. Lift your right arm up to touch the toes on your left foot, then switch sides.

Images: Aneniske/Flickr; Getty Images (2); Giphy (4); LivestrongWoman/YouTube; ScottHermanFitness/YouTube; Andree Hafley/YouTube; Howcast/YouTube; DT Personal Training/YouTube; Flip Fitness/YouTube; Howcast/YouTube; geobeats/YouTube