As humans, we spend most of our mature life on two feet- walking, running and jumping. One of the best, most efficient ways to build better core strength, stability and coordination is by incorporating crawling exercises into your training program. Learning how to crawl well is not only important for getting through your next event, but it’s also a great practical training tool. There are quite a few obstacles on our courses that require some serious crawl ability, we’re talking Kiss of Mud, Electric Eel and Tight Squeeze.
The Perks of Crawling:
- Core strength and stability: The core stabilizes your body when you crawl to make sure you are not wasting energy with extra movement. Being strict on your technique practice is great for core strength and stability.
- Strength endurance: One a day to day basis, we don’t spend a lot of time with both our hands and feet on the ground. As a result, supporting your bodyweight across four pillars can be quite challenging and therefore great for building whole body strength endurance.
- Improved coordination: Crawling forces your entire body to work together to create movement which means you are balancing, moving and stabilizing all at the same time. Doing all of this at once is a lot easier with better coordination and training these patterns will help build that skill.
Now for the level- up question: “Are there any other ways of crawling?”
It’s time to tackle the variations of crawling, with the bear crawl and the army crawl.
How to Bear Crawl:
- Start in a crawling position with your knees on the ground and your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Push the ground away and take your knees off the ground. You should now be supported by your hands and feet.
- Lift one hand (right) and the opposite foot (left) off the ground and take a small coordinated step forward. Replace both hand and foot on the ground. You will be in a staggered position.
- Lift the other hand (left) and the opposite foot (right) off the ground and take a small coordinated step forward focusing on your whole body moving forward. Replace both hand and foot on the ground, this will keep you alternating opposite arm, opposite leg.
- Repeat in small steps focusing on keeping your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders.
How to Army Crawl:
- Start by lying on your stomach with your elbows and forearms on the ground at the level of your armpits. Your forearms will form a triangle with your fists coming together.
- Push the ground away from your chest and support your shoulders and chest with your elbows. This should be a very light support position.
- Reach your left arm forward and pull your right knee up outside your hip. Push against the ground away with your knee and elbow and bring your upper body an inch off the ground.
- Push with your knee and pull with your elbow to move your whole body forward. This will return you to the start position.
- Repeat the pattern using the other arm and leg.
In these examples, the bear crawl is focused on technique and building strength/stability, whereas the army crawl is based more closely on the skill that you will use to transport your body in a primed position from one spot to another. Try on softer surfaces until you get the technique down and you are comfortable in motion. Then, the fun really starts when using this technique through a few feet of mud at a Classic or 5k Tough Mudder.
Crawling offers a great alternative to typical core and ab exercises like sit-ups and are much more fun to practice. We have plenty more training guides and a official Tough Mudder training group. Feel like you’re ready? Book your ticket today, here are all our upcoming events.