TOTW: The Single Most Useful Mud Run Training Exercise

Most Useful Mud Run Training ExerciseNearly every mud run event has at least one obstacle that will force you to get down on your stomach and low crawl. More often than not, the surface you will need to crawl on will be some form of rocky, muddy, grassy, snowy, icy, metallic, rubber or wooden surface. You might even have a few rows of barbed wire or a soaking wet cargo net directly above you. You might need to low crawl uphill, downhill or in a foot or two of muddy water. Most mudders turn to the low crawl, army style, and sacrifice their forearms, stomachs and knees in the process.

The single most useful mud run training exercise: the Gator Crawl

But, behold, there’s a better way to get through these creepy crawler obstacles and avoid a week of raw skin…the gator crawl. With the gator crawl, only your hands and toes touch the ground, so your forearms, stomach and knees will stay protected from cuts and scratches. Practicing the gator crawl a few times a week at the end of your workout is also a great way to get in a last-minute total body burn that will tighten your core, strengthen your upper body and develop your overall flexibility.

Most mudders turn to the low crawl, army style, and sacrifice their forearms, stomachs and knees in the process.

To perform the gator crawl:

  1. Get on the ground in a push-up position, keeping your elbows tight to your body.
  2. Stay on your toes and lower your chest until it is just above the ground.
  3. Keep your back straight and your butt down, and crawl forward by taking small steps with your hands and toes.
  4. As your hand moves forward, slightly open your opposite hip and bring your knee toward your chest, then switch.
  5. Concentrate on keeping your head and body as planked as possible.

Tips: Practice this movement forward, backward and laterally for maximum effectiveness. To stay low, imagine there is barbed wire directly above your head. Push-ups will go a long way in helping you perform this exercise.
Mud Run Maniac wants to know what you think! What other exercises do you suggest to avoid getting scraped up at mud run events? What other topics or exercises would you like to see featured in TOTW? Please no spam-mongers. Happy mudding!

Meet the Author

Mud Run Maniac
Mud Run Maniac

I'm the proud owner of, specializing in mud run training and tips! The mud run community is growing fast and I’ve made it my responsibility to keep you up-to-date on the latest and greatest mud running topics.

4 comments… add one
  • Ben Schaffner Oct 17, 2011, 9:09 am

    I would like to know the best way to get up the huge slippery hill first try. Many people seemed to rush it and were already exhausted, thus running out of steam halfway up. Slippery, mud covered shoes were also problematic when trying to get tractiion.. What would you recommend as training tips and advice for conquering it first try? Thanks for your advice!

    • Mud Run Maniac Mud Run Maniac Oct 17, 2011, 10:49 am

      Hey Ben, great question. For me, the best approach on the huge slippery hills is really to attack them head on. In other words, don’t contemplate all the “what ifs…” for too long at the bottom of the hill. Instead, charge at it as if you are Mel Gibson in Braveheart with full battle cry included! If the hill is really steep and you want to make it up in one shot, crawling probably isn’t your best move as this will make it difficult to leap up and grab someone’s hand. I like to run upright and make eye contact with a fellow mudder at the top of the hill just before I bust into my charge. Most mud runs are about teamwork, and those “impossible” hills you’re talking about are a perfect place to lend a hand and dive for one. One more thing you can try if you are really exhausted is to aim for the outer edges of the hill, as generally the middle portion is the most slippery and wet.

      To train for this, you can find a nice size hill and charge up it a few times. There’s a nice water reservoir near my home with some intense inclines that I like to run up, especially in the rain.

      Thanks Ben and Keep mudding!

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