How to Do a Spider Walk

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

spider walk

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: Spider crawl, Spiderman walk or crawl

Targets: Pectorals, deltoids, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, triceps, biceps, abdominal muscles, obliques, hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, adductors, and abductors 

Equipment Needed: None, just your body

Level: Intermediate

The spider crawl is an intermediate bodyweight exercise that raises your heart rate and strengthens the muscles in your upper and lower body. 

When done correctly, the spider walk raises your heart rate, builds strength in your core, and targets your shoulders, chest, upper back, triceps, quadriceps, calves, glutes, hamstrings, adductors, and abductors. It’s pretty much an all-around fantastic exercise. 

Benefits

The spider walk targets the muscles in your shoulders, chest, upper back, arms, and the muscles of your lower body, specifically the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves.

Additionally, the spider walk helps strengthen your core, which may lead to reduced back pain, improved balance, and better flexion, extension, and rotation of your trunk.

You can use the spider walk as a warm-up or part of a strength training or cardio workout. Including the spider walk exercise in your fitness routine helps with movement coordination, core stability, and developing overall body strength.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Before you get down on the floor, make sure the space around you is clear of any debris or things that may get in your way. If you’re at the gym, consider using an aerobics room or basketball court. 

  1. Get down on the floor in the start of a plank position with your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, arms extended, shoulders positioned directly over your hands, and legs behind you, feet hip-width apart. This is your starting position. 
  2. Push the toes of your left foot into the floor. Raise the right foot off the floor and externally rotate the leg. Contract your core and glute muscles, keep your back flat, and bring your right knee to the outside of the right elbow. When your knee gets close to your elbow, squeeze the core muscles. This will help you bring the two closer together.
  3. Extend your left arm out in front of you, palm on the floor, while your right knee comes towards your right elbow. 
  4. Staying low to the ground, alternate your bent knee and hand as you walk/crawl forward 
  5. Continue this pattern, alternating right leg with left leg, until you “walk” the desired distance. 

Common Mistakes

The most common mistakes that you might make when performing the spider walk involves technique, form, and posture.

Dropping your Head

When doing the spider walk exercise focus on keeping your head in a neutral position in line with your spine. You want to avoid dropping your head, which puts pressure on your upper back and neck. 

Allowing Your Hips to Sag

The key to the effectiveness of the spider walk is to keep your back flat and your core tight. When you drop your hips, the core muscles stop doing their job, and you add pressure to your lower back. This can cause discomfort and pain. 

Putting Your Butt in the Air

Think of this as the opposite of sagging your hips. As you walk across the floor, avoid putting your butt in the air. Again, when you don’t keep your core engaged and your back flat, you risk injury. Plus, it takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise because your upper body is not required to work as hard since you shift the load to your lower body, letting your upper body off the hook. 

Not Keeping Your Core Muscles Engaged

Any time you are upright and moving, you’re engaging the muscles in your core. The power, stability, and support generated from these muscles will help you move quicker and protect your lower back from injury. 

Modifications and Variations

Need a Modification?

  • If you’re not ready to “walk” across the floor, try doing the spiderman pushup. The steps are exactly the same as the spider walk except you don’t move across the floor. 
  • Rather than skipping out on the spider walk, shorten the distance you walk across the floor. Start with just a few crawls and add distance each time you do the exercise. 

Up for a Challenge?

There are several ways to make this move more challenging.

  • Once you’ve mastered the spider walk, consider speeding up or alternating sides faster than your normal pace. 
  • Instead of the lunging movement with your legs, add a plyometric twist by jump-switching your legs forward. 
  • After you walk the desired distance, go backward. 
  • As you walk, lower your body closer to the ground. 

Safety and Precautions

The spider walk is generally a safe exercise for most fitness levels. If you have lower back issues, make sure your core muscles are engaged while performing the movement. This will help keep your back flat and prevent your hips from sagging. For wrist and shoulder issues, experiment with a push-up or plank first. If you can comfortably perform these movements, proceed to the spider walk. But if you feel any pain or discomfort while “walking,” stop the exercise. 

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

No Weight Workout Program 

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