How To Do Crab Walk (+ Workouts)

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

The crab walk is an intense upper body and core exercise that uses your own bodyweight for resistance. It will burn fat and tone your back, arms, shoulders, core, legs and hamstrings!

It can be a little awkward at first, because this exercise puts you in a position that you probably aren’t used to. But after practicing it, you’ll understand why it’s one of the best full-body strengthening (plus cardio!) exercises around.

Crab Walk Exercise Instructions:

  1. Begin by sitting on the floor with your feet hip-distance apart in front of you and your arms behind your back with fingers facing hips.
  2. Lift hips off the floor and tighten your abs.
  3. Start “walking” forward by moving your left hand followed by your right foot; and then your right hand followed by your left foot. Walk four or more steps as space allows, then walk back. Continue back and forth for desired amount of time.


Enter your email & get this article sent to your inbox.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    How to Perfect Your Crab Walk

    Use these tips to maximize your crab walk results and prevent injury:

    • Be sure to keep your palms on the floor behind your butt, your feet set apart and your abdominal engaged to keep your back safe.
    • You can experiment with performing the crab walk at different speeds to find the perfect challenge for you!
    • As a caution, do not let your feet get moving too fast for your upper body so as not to injure your shoulders.

    What Muscles Does Crab Walk Work?

    The crab walk is a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups including your triceps, shoulders, abdominals, and quads. It’s a full-body exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once, allowing you to get more done in less time.

    Here is a little more about each muscle group:

    GlutesThe gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus muscles are all engaged during this exercise, especially when pushing your hips upward and forward.
    HamstringsYour hamstring muscles are activated as you extend your hips and knees to move your body weight.
    QuadricepsYour quadriceps help stabilize and support your body while performing this exercise.
    Core musclesYour core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, are engaged by helping to stabilize your trunk and pelvis during the movement.
    Shoulders and tricepsThe shoulders and triceps help support your body weight as you lift your hips and move your arms.

    Moves like the crab walk are great total-body exercises that don’t require any additional equipment, making them ideal moves to perform when you don’t have a lot of time or fitness gear on hand.

    Crab Walk Benefits

    Practicing the crab walk frequently can provide several benefits, from increased coordination and agility to a stronger upper body and core. Take a look at the benefits of doing crab walk and try it yourself today.

    Improves Your Balance

    Doing crab walk can help improve your balance as you have to transfer your weight from your feet and hands and then back again.

    As you age, balance becomes increasingly important for everyday activities, to avoid falling, and to improve your athletic performance in virtually every other type of workout.

    Strengthens Your Upper Body

    Because the crab walk requires you to walk on both your feet and hands, this exercises makes you really work the muscles in your arms, specifically your triceps.

    Doing the crab walk repeatedly will work your arms and help you build upper body strength over time.

    Works Your Abs

    By keeping your core engaged during the crab walk, you’ll use your abdominal muscles and help sculpt a strong, lean stomach.

    You can do crunches all day long, but for a lean stomach and strong core it’s best to do a variety of core exercises that work your abs in different ways.

    Gets Your Heart Rate Up

    Because you are constantly moving quickly and supporting your bodyweight during this exercise, crab walk fires up your metabolism and gets your heart rate up.

    Elevating your heart rate through cardiovascular exercise is one of the best things you can do to train your body and stay healthy throughout the years.

    Improves Your Focus and Coordination

    Doing a move like the crab walk requires focus and coordination because you’re transferring your weight from your feet to your hands and back again, using different sides of your body, and trying to do this all quickly.

    You’ll improve your agility and coordination as well as your mental focus with this move.

    Chris Freytag demonstrating a Crab Crawl

    Incorporating Crab Walk Into Your Workouts

    Because the crab walk requires zero equipment, it’s easy to add into your existing workouts. Here are some suggestions.

    Use Crab Walks In Circuit or Interval Workouts

    Crab walks are a simple, albeit multi-tasking move, so they work great as part of circuit or interval training. Circuits and intervals help you accomplish more in less time during your workouts, making them perfect to do when you’re short on time.

    Try either of these crab walk workouts:

    Crab Walk Circuit Workout

    Do 1 minute of each without stopping. Then rest for 1 minute and repeat:

    Crab Walk Interval Workout

    Perform each move for 1 minute, then take a 30 second rest and go on to the next move. Take a 1 minute rest after completing all moves and then go through the intervals again.

    • Plié squats
    • Russian twist
    • Crab walk
    • Skaters
    • Push-ups
    • Crunches

    Use Crab Walks In Your Bodyweight Workouts

    Since the crab walk works multiple muscles at once and requires no equipment, it’s the perfect move to incorporate in your bodyweight-only workouts.

    Here are two different bodyweight workouts that incorporate the crab walk. Do either of these workouts 2-3 times per week in addition to getting your weekly cardio in.

    Lower Body Burner

    10 cross-behind lunges, 10 squats, 10 leg lifts, 10 glute bridges, 1 minute of crab walk. Do 1 minute of split jacks and 1 minute of butt kicks. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

    Awesome Arms Workout

    10 push-ups, 10 bicep curls, 10 burpees, 10 overhead presses, 1 minute of crab walk, 1 minute of mountain climbers. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

    Here are 3 more workouts for you to try that incorporate crab walk:

    How Many Calories Does the Crab Walk Burn?

    It’s hard to give an exact number of calories that you’ll burn, because different people burn calories at different rates. If you are working intensely, the average person will burn about 100 calories every 10 minutes.

    However, it’s not necessarily advisable to do this move for 10 minutes straight; that’s just a way of putting it in perspective.

    Other Exercises Similar To Crab Walk

    Want to try other moves to tone your lower body and work your arms? Here are some other great exercises you might like:

    (This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
    Skip to content