Is The Crab Walk Exercise Good For You?

Did you attend public school in the 1980s or 1990s? Did you participate in gym class? Then, chances are, you have done the crab walk. You might even have played crab walk kick ball, a variation allegedly safer than dodgeball, though a few students out there may have their doubts.

This move was a staple in gym classes for years. It was fun, it was silly, and it was a way to make gym class a little more engaging. But was it safe? And now that you're well out of school, is it a move you want to add to your workouts?

As with most other gym class staples — the crunch, the pull up, the endless pushups — the answer isn't a straight yes or no. It depends on each person's mobility, flexibility, and — most of all — shoulder health. Because as certified trainer and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance, Eric Cressey, puts it, the crab walk puts a lot of strain on the shoulder. From the rotator cuff to the nerves that go over the shoulder to the biceps tendon, the shoulder is turned in a direction it normally doesn't move. And that can spell big trouble for people with weak shoulders or shoulder problems.

It's a personal call

Not everyone agrees with Cressey, however. Noam Tamir, CSCS and founder of TS Fitness in New York, spoke with Men's Journal about the benefits of the crab walk. Tamir is actually a fan of the move, stating that it's a whole-body workout that can really work the shoulders and triceps. It's also, he says, great for encouraging good posture and improving coordination.

Livestrong adds that the crab walk engages the core and really works the glute muscles because of the different movement mechanics. They do add the warning, however, that the move is only suitable for people who have no shoulder injuries and can comfortably get into and out of the crab walk position.

Ultimately it comes down to each person's comfort and capabilities. Some may have strong enough shoulders that the strain on the joints isn't a concern, compared to the move's benefits. Others may want to follow Eric Cressey's suggestion and switch instead to the bear crawl, his go-to move for working the same muscle groups.