The move I love to hate: Cat Osterman's tabletop crawl
Cat Osterman was arguably at the height of her career when she decided she'd come to the end of her road as a pitcher, in 2015. After Olympic gold in 2004 and silver in 2008, Osterman had racked up back-to-back pitcher of the year awards (in 2013 and 2014) and four league titles during her eight seasons in the National Pro Fastpitch league.
But she clearly had unfinished business in the sport. The gold medal the U.S. had lost to Japan at the Beijing Olympic Games still weighed on her.
So with the news in 2016 that softball would stage a return to the Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo, everything changed. Osterman has now officially come out of retirement, trying out for a spot on the roster at the national team trials this week.
With this new commitment to intense training, she's been building back to the form that once earned her three USA Softball national player of the year titles. She shared the deceptively challenging core move that finds its way into her workout twice a week.
What it is: A weighted tabletop crawl both forward, backward and laterally.
How to do it: Unlike a bear crawl, you keep your hips down for this crawl. Get into a tabletop position on hands and toes, knees and hips bent, with a weight plate balanced on your back.
Walk hands and feet forward for five "steps" with each hand, keeping the weight balanced on your back. Then reverse back five steps to the start. Repeat this sideways as well, crawling laterally.
When I do it: This is in my workout at least once, but usually twice, a week. Most of the time it's at the end of the workout, but occasionally it's a good warm-up too. I do one down and back coupled with one lateral down and back for one rep. I usually do three reps.
Sometimes I crawl without the weight in a box formation too. For those, two boxes makes one rep, and that starts to burn.
Why I do it: This is great overall body work. It works your shoulders, arms and pecs by stabilizing you as you crawl. It's also great for your core since the tabletop position makes you engage your abs more than a bear crawl. Lastly, your hip flexors and upper quads start to feel it!
Why it's so killer: Crawling sounds easy, but once you get started, this burns. My hip flexors get a workout with these, as well as my core. It takes some time to master this without your hips swinging side to side -- try to keep the weight from moving. After three reps you might not breathe hard, but your body will feel like it worked hard.