When a fitness move has got an animal name in its title, you can pretty much guarantee that it is going to be intense. Even the mere mention of an “alligator crawl,” “frog jump,” or “monkey shuffle” is enough to get your muscles quaking. Another trainer favorite that has come straight from the animal kingdom—seemingly with the sole purpose of making us want to cry during the core section of our workouts? Bear planks, which require you to get down on all fours and lift your knees off the ground, using your core and shoulders to stabilize. And as if those aren’t hard enough as is (though, trust me—they are), dancing bear planks kick things up a whole other notch by adding some movement into the mix.
The move was initially meant to take place on top of a megaformer (check out the video, below), but can be easily recreated on the floor with no equipment at all. Instead of holding still, the way you would in the original version of a bear plank, you’ll slowly twist your torso, crunching through your oblique to bring your knees slightly sideways. “Dancing bears are an incredible way to not only work the core, but the entire body,” says Barry’s founding trainer Keoni Hudoba. “They’re perfect for stability.”
And to make things even harder? Funk up your dancing bear plank by pairing it with a hydrant, kicking one knee out to the side (while still hovering the other above the ground) between each rep. “By adding a hydrant into your dancing bear you can burn the glutes as well as the core, and shoulders,” says Hudoba. And if you really want to be a masochist with your muscle-building routine, you can throw a mini band around your feet or try the move on top of a set of sliders for a little extra resistance or instability training, respectively.
Now, go wild and try the dancing bear plank out on your own. Just be warned: Your obliques will be growling for days after you’re done.