WHAT IS QUADRUPED?
Quadruped is the position where both hands and knees are on the ground. It is the starting position of crawling that all children do. When young babies are learning to walk, quadruped helps them develop curves in their spine and core strength. For adults, there are so many more reasons to add quadruped into your regimen.
WHY TRAIN QUADRUPED?
Quadruped is a training tool that allows you to train or treat almost any area of your body. It even allows you to train your body as an integrated whole. Walking is the most efficient form of transportation for the body, not quadruped. Being that it is a little more taxing on the body, its a great way to train certain muscle groups. Below are some of the areas that are targeted well by quadruped starting from the upper body and moving down:
QUADRUPED & SHOULDER STABILITY:
In order to properly perform a quadruped position, you must have good scapular and shoulder stability. This exercise requires protracting your shoulder blades (pull them up and together), in order to stabilizes the shoulder joint. Quadruped is not as taxing as a plank or a push up on some of the other muscle groups, so it provides you with an opportunity to focus on shoulder protraction. It can be a great carry over exercise for pushups and planks in this way. But, its important to remember that scapular stability is essential for arm mobility, so its not just push-ups and planks it helps with. Training scapular stability helps with any arm movement you perform!
QUADRUPED & SPINE MOBILITY:
A popular use of quadruped is the Cat-Camel exercise. This exercise helps you to really focus in on the movement of your spine. The Cat part of the exercise can help you unload a compressed lower back by curling up like a scared cat. This flexes each vertebrae, and opens up the space between them. Many degenerative low back patients benefit from this motion to help decompress their spine. (NOTE: this is NOT the case for every back patient, especially disc herniations, so please do not try to self treat low-back pain). The Camel portion of the exercise helps to regain thoracic extension (what you need to pull your chest forward) that many people lose with bad posture. In this way, cat-camel can help you regain positioning sense and mobility of your spine.
QUADRUPED & CORE:
Quadruped is a unique training tool in that it trains the core so it has to constantly fight gravity, like a plank. In this position, your back is facing the sky, and your stomach facing the ground. We all know that gravity pushes us down towards the ground. Therefore, in this exercise to contract the core muscles and squeeze them upwards toward the spine, each muscle must also fight the force of gravity pushing them downwards. This intensifies the core conditioning much more than doing a traditional sit up.
QUADRUPED & MULTI-JOINT INTEGRATION:
Lastly, but certainly not least: We very rarely only ever move one joint at a time (even when you think it might just be one joint). Therefore, using training tools that give us a chance to integrate multiple joint movements together is important to regain or improve functional movement. Being able to coordinate movement of multiple joints helps improve balance, overall coordination, and efficiency in movement. And lets face it– everyone could benefit from that!