After a few classes, the quadupedal movement has yet to go away. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s going to continue popping up.
Here’s why I think we do it: if you have to run through fire to avoid a zombie, the pain in your legs will be something you’re already used to.
Here’s why we really do it: Keeping four points of contact with the ground or other surface will allow you better balance and added safety in precarious situations. Additionally, it trains your coordination and endurance, and it also gives you another way to walk.
Let’s assume you need to sneak under something low, something really low, like a wall or through a tunnel. You can’t walk under it, unless you’re the limbo champion of the world. You also may not want to crawl through it flat on your belly. One, that’s slow and two, there might be water. Or poop. Point being, walking quadrupedally allows you to continue to be mobile in situations where your bi-pedal habits aren’t as useful.
It also makes your transitions more fluid. Fluidity is clearly something I have yet to achieve in my parkour studies being only a few classes in, but it’s something I keep in mind. Being able to maneuver out of rolls and jumps and continue forward or backward motion while both hands and feet are on the ground is essential to moving fluidly.
Why it’s hard: Because we don’t practice it. Do you see people walking down the streets on their hands and feet? No. Why? Because it’s hard! See the vicious circle we live in here? Quadrupedal movement also requires flexibility. You have to be able to get your hips low and keep them there. Core strength, shoulder strength, and quad strength also come into play. Let’s face it, it’s a nasty movement, but it’s essential.
How to do it: Place your hands on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and your hips squared. Your knees should be off the ground and your hips as close to the ground as you can manage with your feet on your toes. To go forward, move your right hand with your left leg, then your left hand with your right leg. Keep them moving together. Stay focused on your balance and do it as soundlessly as possible.
Variations: The Crab Walk is a quadrupedal movement done with your face up to the sky and arms and legs down behind you. It can be helpful for getting across slippery or sharply sloped terrains. It’s also used to torture you in CrossFit warm ups.
The Cat Balance is another Parkour technique that allows you to walk on all fours on a rail or narrow surface.
So far, I’ve noticed that quadrupedal movement gives me a better technique for playing with my cats and dog.
That’s it for now!
Some extra tips from Parkourpedia.com on how to practice QM.
An awesome article from Apex Movement on why QM is great for your brain and your body (and your parkour).
Check out this video from Zombie Fit for a better idea of quadrupedal movement.