What Are Locomotor Movements?

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Locomotor movements are any movements that take place over some distance. These include walking, running, leaping, jumping, hopping, galloping, crawling, sliding and skipping.

Some elementary schools use locomotor movements with young students in physical education classes as fun warm-up exercises designed to prepare students for more complex athletic skills. Teachers may name the various movements after the ways animals move, such as “crab walk,” “flamingo hop” and “deer leap.” Locomotor movements may also be combined to form dance steps. Motions in which a person’s feet remain in one place are considered nonlocomotor motions. These include bending, twisting, stretching, pushing and pulling.

There are several locomotor movements that will successfully transfer weight from one location to another:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Leaping
  • Jumping
  • Hopping
  • Galloping
  • Sliding
  • Skipping

Non-locomotor movements, also referred to as axial movements are movements that are performed while remaining in place. Examples include:

  • Swinging and swaying
  • Pushing and pulling
  • Bending and stretching
  • Twisting and turning

Both locomotor and non-locomotor movements of the appendages or body are used by all animals and humans in order to achieve locomotion. The mode of locomotion that an animal or person uses depends on their size and the medium that they use as movement.