Mixtaping different disciplines of fitness to create unique workouts is a hobby of mine lately.
Yesterday, I found myself short on time. I had roughly 20 minutes to make some workout magic happen. Assessing the previous day’s workout, I decided on two modes of exercise:
- The Lizard Crawl
The goal: total body training effect (in under 20 minutes)
Short burst workouts are a perfect solution to time-restricted days. Days where I’m tight on time, but high on motivation. “Short”… not be confused with “easy”.
Generally, shortening a workout means the intensity gets cranked up to offset the decreased volume and duration.
Lizard Crawling is a locomotion pattern popularized by Ido Portal’s movement catalog.
It involves crawling forward (or backward) in a low prone position, much lower than a traditional bear crawl. The Lizard Crawl is a total-body exercise, well worth learning and working through the progressions.
Most people will feel limited by their upper body strength when Lizard Crawling. The strength needed in this particular range of motion may need some acclimation.
That being said, there are plenty of Lizard Crawl variations to accommodate any skill level.
Here’s an example:
The Lizard Crawl, though graceful and rhythmic when performed by great movers, sucks the life out of you across even moderate distances. It’s a very complex and demanding pattern.
Rowing, on the other hand, is, well, rowing.
The rowing erg is beautiful in its simplicity, yet brutal in its ability to break a person’s soul at higher intensities. Though machine-based, rowing is one of those near total body activities that I cannot recommend enough. Rowing is primarily a posterior chain, upper body pull/lower body push action.
A quality rowing erg will cost you some cash, but across the long-term, it is well worth the investment.
Turns out, the Lizard Crawl and rowing compliment each other perfectly.
I’ve created workouts in the past using short distance Lizard Crawls and 250-meter row intervals, but never beyond that distance. The 250-meter is a fantastic distance for an all out sprint.
Today I increased the challenge a bit, bumping the row up to 500-meters.
Here’s how the workout was structured…
Lizard Crawl for 20 yards
500 meter Row
- Repeat for 6 rounds.
- Rest for 60-90 seconds in between each round.
That’s it. Two movements and roughly 18 minutes of time to work with.
Warm-up with something, anything. A jump rope or some simple dynamic movements will work fine. I do not advocate skipping warm-ups all of the time, this situation is unique, an outlier.
A cheetah doesn’t ask a Gazelle for a chance to warm-up before pursuing it for nearly a mile, it’s worth considering a human may not always have adequate time to warm-up.
Many times, doing less things, but doing those things better makes for the best workouts.
Aesthetics and performance are built incrementally, piece by piece, workout by workout.
Thoughts and Suggestions…
Find a pace on the rower a few levels below your personal best. I aimed for a 1:35 min/sec pace for the 500-meter intervals, knowing that my best 500 meter was roughly 1:27 min/sec.
Why do this? Because you will not be able to maintain a personal best pace for 500-meters across 6 rounds, with incomplete rest periods and lizard crawling before hopping on the rower. Setting a challenging pace just below your best will get the training effect you’re after and allow room for progression in the future.
After standing up out of the rower, expect your heart rate to be sky-high. 60 seconds of rest will not feel long enough, and it shouldn’t. It’s incomplete rest by design. Use every second to collect yourself before the next round. Walk around slowly, stay upright and slow your breathing.
Keep in mind, a 500-meter row is not an easy distance to row on its own. Adding pre-fatigue in the form of a Lizard Crawl will zap you.
When rest comes to an end, force yourself into the Lizard Crawl. You’ll want to rest longer in later rounds but don’t. Stay strict. When rest is over, settle your breath and start crawling immediately.
Anticipate the first few rounds of Lizard Crawling to feel great, followed by a steep drop off.
If the full Lizard Crawl is too aggressive, scale it back. Head over to my YouTube page and search “Lizard Crawl”. You’ll find a bunch of different Lizard Crawl options I’ve played around with.
Or, simply go with a crawling pattern in higher, more manageable body position, such as Beast (Animal Flow).
If you found this post while surfing the inter-webs, thank you for stopping by.
Do me a big favor and try this workout today, tomorrow or the next time you’re in a pinch for time.
For more about Ido Portal and some his training methods, check out this post:
Cheers to you,