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Sport, social media fad, or something in between? Coming up with a clear answer to “What is quadrobics?” can be just as complicated as some of the movements associated with the latest #fyp workout trend to take over TikTok. 

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As a certified personal trainer who’s played competitive rugby for over a decade, I wouldn’t ordinarily view frolicking around on all fours or high jumping on a trampoline as a legitimate form of exercise. However, while quadrobics may seem strange at first glance, it would be foolish to dismiss it as simply another fitness trend with no scientific legs to stand on. 

From exploring its origins to examining some of its potential benefits, this guide covers everything you need to know about the unconventional world of #quadrobics. So, with an open mind, both hands, and both feet, let’s dive right in.  

What Is Quadrobics?

Quadrobics is a unique fitness trend that involves moving on all fours, mimicking the gait and movements of quadrupedal animals. Participants, often called quadrobists, perform various exercises such as trotting, cantering, and high jumps, emulating the movement patterns of their theriotype or the specific animal they identify with. This practice is closely related to therianthropy, where individuals feel a deep connection to animals.

Originating from the therian and otherkin (people who identify as non-human) communities, quadrobics has gained considerable popularity on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, where creators can share training highlights and foster meaningful connections with their followers and subscribers. Depending on the platform, you can find everything from full videos explaining how the movement began to short, CapCut-style reels offering technique tips and progress updates.

woman-performing-bear-crawl-knee-tap

Notable influencers in the quadrobics community often wear costumes or accessories, such as cat masks or fox-therian attire, to enhance their alterhuman appearance. It’s common to see furries (fans of anthropomorphic animals) and otherkin practicing quadrobics as part of their identity expression. 

Should Quadrobics Be Considered a Sport?

The debate on whether quadrobics is a sport is ongoing. On one hand, it involves physical exertion and skill—two key elements in defining a sport. After all, you’ll need muscular strength, endurance, and coordination to execute movements like trotting or high jumping. 

However, one distinction makes me lean more toward categorizing quadrobics as an activity rather than a sport. Unlike football, powerlifting, or CrossFit, there’s no specific set of parameters participants must follow. Without a governing body or clearly defined rules, quadrobics doesn’t meet the technical definition of a sport. 

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Benefits of Quadrobics: What Does Science Say?

As a fairly new method of exercise, there aren’t any direct studies on quadrobics,. but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some research that may support its efficacy. 

May Help Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion

A 2022 randomized controlled trial1 published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed that quadrupedal movement training improved active joint ranges of motion. In addition, researchers found that it can be used as an alternative form of exercise to improve whole-body stabilization and flexibility. 

It’s important to note, however, that the participants in the study didn’t show significant improvements in upper-body strength. Still, it’s tough to knock any activity that increases your range of motion and overall flexibility. 

Can Be Considered Unilateral Training 

Meanwhile, quadrobics can also fall under the category of unilateral training since your arms and legs are not always synchronized. A 2023 meta-analysis2 on the effect of unilateral and bilateral training on physical performance found that the former had a more significant effect on jumping and strength quality for unilateral power patterns. 

woman-balancing-on-one-leg

Unilateral training can also help address muscular weaknesses or imbalances, which can lead to bigger numbers on your squat, deadlift, and bench press. I’ve noticed improvements in my form and overall strength by incorporating unilateral exercises into my workout routine, and my clients have also experienced similar results by taking this one-sided approach. 

RELATED: Try These Unilateral Exercises For Strength, Balance, And Performance

May Help Improve Aerobic Capacity

At its very core, consider quadrobics as a form of aerobics. While it may not provide the same stimulus as running on a treadmill or sprinting up a hill, it can help you burn calories and increase your overall fitness. Research shows that regular aerobic exercise offers significant cardiovascular benefits3, including lowering your risk for coronary artery disease. 

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Quadrobics Exercises: The Basics and Alternatives

If you’re new to quadrobics, there are plenty of videos where beginners showcase their initial attempts. While some may cringe at the idea of failing the first time, it’s important to remember that it takes practice to perfect your form with any exercise. 

From trotting to the high jump, I’ve done my best to break down each of the main movements. Plus, I’ve also included a few of my favorite full-body exercises so you can put together a well-rounded strength and conditioning routine.  

Trotting

Trotting involves a steady, rhythmic gait, similar to a horse’s trot. 

How to do it:

  1. Place your hands and knees on the ground, ensuring your back is straight.
  2. Lift your right hand and left leg simultaneously, then your left hand and right leg, creating a diagonal movement.
  3. Maintain a rhythmic pace to simulate a trot, focusing on smooth, coordinated movements.
  4. Repeat for reps or duration.
Trotting

High Jump

High jumps can be quite challenging and carry a risk of injury if not done correctly. This quadrobics jumping tutorial should help you perform this exercise safely.

How to do it:

  1. Prepare to jump by crouching low, ensuring your limbs are ready to propel you upwards.
  2. Use your legs to push off the ground explosively, aiming to lift all four limbs simultaneously.
  3. Absorb the impact with your arms and legs, bending them slightly to cushion your landing.
  4. Repeat for reps or duration. 
woman doing tuck jumps

Cantering

Cantering mimics the gait of a horse between a trot and a gallop. 

How to do it:

  1. Begin in a crouched position with your hands and feet on the ground.
  2. Push off with your back legs and land on your front hands and feet, one at a time.
  3. Continue the leaping motion, alternating between your left and right sides to keep moving forward.
  4. Repeat the movement for reps or duration.
Canter

Bear Crawl

The bear crawl exercise is an excellent full-body conditioning movement that engages your chest, triceps, core, and legs.

How to do it:

  1. Place your hands and knees on the floor so your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. 
  2. Lift your knees a few inches off the ground so that only your hands and toes touch the floor. 
  3. Keep your back flat and your core engaged. 
  4. Move your right hand and left foot forward simultaneously, then your left and right foot. 
  5. Take small, controlled steps until you reach your destination or for time. 
bear crawl

Renegade Row

The renegade row is a compound exercise that strengthens your upper body and core by combining a plank with a dumbbell row. 

How to do it:

  1. Start in a plank position, holding a dumbbell in each hand, positioned under your shoulders.
  2. Lift your right hand with the dumbbell, pulling it toward your right hip while stabilizing your body with your left hand and feet.
  3. Lower your right hand and repeat with your left hand, alternating rows.
  4. Continue for reps.
renegade row

Mountain Climber

Mountain climbers are a dynamic exercise that engages your abdominal muscles, triceps, chest, and back. Mimicking a running pattern on the floor, they’re one of my favorite movements to include in HIIT–style workouts. 

How to do it:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands placed directly under your shoulders so your body forms a straight line from head to toe. 
  2. Engage your core muscles, lift your right foot off the ground, and drive your right knee toward your chest. 
  3. Switch legs, returning your right foot to the starting position while you drive your left knee toward your chest. 
  4. Alternate legs as rapidly as possible in a running motion, keeping your body in a stable plank position throughout the movement. 
  5. Repeat for reps or duration. 
Woman doing mountain climbers

Quadrobics: Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a therian looking to connect with your theriotype or you’re simply curious about this unique exercise trend, quadrobics offers a challenging and rewarding way to move your body. While it might be a stretch to call it a sport, there’s still some merit to simultaneously using your arms and legs to break a sweat, burn some calories, and improve your conditioning and mobility. 

If this community-oriented form of fitness allows you to fully express yourself and get you moving around more, joining the #quads movement can positively impact your physical, mental, and spiritual health. 

Quadrobics: FAQs

What do quadrobics do to your body?

Quadrobics can help improve your strength, flexibility, and coordination, especially in your core, arms, and legs. This form of exercise also enhances cardiovascular fitness and overall agility.

Is quadrobics a real word?

Yes, “quadrobics” is a real word used to describe a type of exercise that mimics the movement patterns of four-legged animals.

What is quadrobics all about?

Quadrobics is a fitness trend that involves movements on all fours, emulating the motion of animals. IIt creates a full-body workout by combining crawling, jumping, and balancing. 

RELATED: 30-minute Full-Body Workout At Home

How do you practice quadrobics?

To practice quadrobics, start by finding a safe, open space. Begin with basic movements like crawling on your hands and feet before progressing to more advanced techniques such as leaping and bounding. 

References

  1. Buxton, J. D., Prins, P. J., Miller, M. G., Moreno, A., Welton, G. L., Atwell, A. D., Talampas, T. R., & Elsey, G. E. (2022). The Effects of a Novel Quadrupedal Movement Training Program on Functional Movement, Range of Motion, Muscular Strength, and Endurance. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 36(8), 2186–2193. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000003818
  2. Zhang, W., Chen, X., Xu, K., Xie, H., Li, D., Ding, S., & Sun, J. (2023). Effect of unilateral training and bilateral training on physical performance: A meta-analysis. Frontiers in physiology, 14, 1128250. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2023.1128250
  3. Mersy D. J. (1991). Health benefits of aerobic exercise. Postgraduate medicine, 90(1), 103–112. https://doi.org/10.1080/00325481.1991.11700983

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