Mud Run Mud Crawls -Which Mud Crawl is Your Crawl?
By Rick Morris
Crawling used to be easy. You just dropped to your hands and knees and away you went. Nothing easier. You’ve been doing it since you were a small baby. Now these fun and dirty mud runs have come along and complicated things. Crawling is no longer simple and easy. Now your mud run crawls goes through deep, slimy and sticky mud. To make things worse you will probably need to crawl in the mud while moving under or through obstacles such as wires, walls, fences, pipe or culverts.
Not only has mud racing made crawling more difficult, it has also forced you to choose your type of mud crawl. That’s right, there is more than one way to crawl in a mud run or obstacle course race. In some mud races you many need to train for and use all of the various types of mud crawls. Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend hours upon hours training for 50 different types of crawls. There are really only three basic types – bear crawls, baby crawls and belly crawls. The best place to practice any of these mud run crawls are in an actual mud pit, but you can also get in sufficient training by practicing in deep sand or as a last resort on grass.
If you want to move as quickly as possible, this is the mud race mud crawl for you. This is also the one that requires the highest clearance under your mud run obstacle. If you have around 3 feet or so of clearance you should be good to go with the bear crawl. To do a bear crawl you bend forward at the waist so that you are supported by your feet and hands. Unlike most crawls, your knees never touch the ground, although they will probably get dragged through the mud. Keeping your knees off the ground and moving quickly on your feet and hands allows you to keep up a decent level of speed in your mud pit crawl.
Practice a bear crawl by starting with a normal running motion and then rapidly drop to a bear crawl position. Crawl rapidly forward, keeping your head and hip low, using your feet and hands. Crawl forward for around 20 to 25 meters and then pop rapidly back up to a normal running motion. For some more advanced athletes and higher intensity training plans it will be beneficial l to add resistance to crawls. One very effective and difficult, but rather fun, is to have a partner ride on your back, hips or shoulders when you perform your crawl. If you don’t have a partner you can use any type of safe and stable weight such as a weight vest or loaded back pack.
The next level of crawl is the baby crawl. This one is fairly straight forward. You crawl just as you did when you were a baby, only much faster. If you can’t remember those days, a baby crawl is basically crawling forward on your hands and knees. This is usually the most effective technique for obstacles with a clearance of around 2 to 3 feet. Again, this is simple. Begin in a normal running motion and then rapidly drop to a baby crawl position. Crawl rapidly forward on your hands and knees. Crawl forward for about 15 to 20 meters and then pop rapidly back up to a normal running motion. A word of caution. If you need to crawl over a hard or rough surface, this can be brutal on your knees. You may want to wear knee pads or some other light weight knee protection. You can also add resistance to the baby crawl if you are at that advanced level.
Finally, the nastiest and dirtiest mud race crawl- the belly crawl. This one is really down and dirty. You are basically face down, flat on the ground and crawling forward. You only use this one when you must; for obstacles that are lower than 2 feet. You practice this one the same way as the other crawls. Begin in a normal running motion and then rapidly drop to a belly crawl position. Crawl forward as fast as you can. It won’t be very fast, considering you are flat on your belly, face into the ground. Keep your head up, unless you want to eat a large quantity of nasty mud! Crawl forward for approximately 10 to 15 meters and then pop rapidly back up to a normal running motion.
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