The leopard crawl


Continuing on from my last column about taking on obstacle events; you will need to know this exercise! You’ll be crawling under barbed wire, through water pits and, of course, through mud – lots of it.

This week, we look at how to best do the leopard or military crawl. If you practise this while training and do it correctly, you will be able to smash through all these types of obstacles.

Here are few things you may not know about crawling:

  • It is a great cardio exercise as it uses the entire body.
  • It stimulates the brain stem that promotes self-regulation.  
  • It is great for core strength and balance.
  • It promotes bilateral movement.
  • It works shoulder stability, which is critical for fine motor and visual skills.
  • It creates body awareness and helps develop weight bearing on different body joints while doing different movements.
  • It creates body movement patterning and sensory integration.

How to tackle the leopard crawl:

  • Lie on your belly in the prone position, hands just forward from your head.
  • Keeping your body as close to the ground as possible (don’t poke your hips up), extend your left arm forward.
  • Slide your right knee up to your right elbow.
  • As you move and push yourself forward, your weight will be on the inside right knee and your left elbow and shoulder – keep your body low to the ground.
  • As your move forward, your right arm will slide up as far forward as you can reach, and your left knee will slide up to your left elbow.
  • Repeat the movement: slide your left arm forward, raising your right knee to your right elbow.


  • Keep your body low to ground.
  • Always look forward.
  • Push off your knees as they will drive the most power and movement.
  • Get your knee as close to the elbow as you can.
  • Use the lead elbow as the extension point, to give the upper body a little clearance off the ground.
  • Breathe with each forward movement.


Repeat the below five times:

  • 5 mins skipping
  • 10 x superman pushups: lower yourself all the way down to lie flat on the ground and extend your arms forward, bring them back and then push up
  • 10 x down and ups: lie down on your belly and then stand up
  • 5m leopard crawl
  • 30 secs plank
  • 5m leopard crawl
  • 10 x elbow sit ups
  • 10 x squats

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