7 exercises that will prepare you for Tough Mudder
Your essential guide to Tough Mudder training
Yes, Tough Mudder is tough. You’re going to face some pretty challenging obstacles. But by doing three to six hours training per week for a couple of months before your event you should be ready to face the Tough Mudder challenge. So, what kind of training should you be doing? Well, doing these seven exercises wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
Mountain climbers aren’t fun. No one has ever looked forward to smashing out a set of these beasts, but remember, you need to earn that fuzzy orange headband and the only way you can do that is by working hard. So bring your a-game to the challenge by doing mountain climbers. They’ll strengthen your quads, chest, shoulders and hamstrings, so that you’ll be able to power through the Kiss of Mud® or Swamp Stomp®.
Even if you’re Zydrunas Savickas (the World’s Strongest Man) and can lift Atlas Stones like they were kittens, doesn’t mean you won’t find something difficult in a Tough Mudder. There is always something on the course that will challenge you, which is why doing total body exercises, like the bear walk, is essential if you want to turn up to the start line on the day of your event at your very best.
Sure, having a strong core helps if you’re going to be able to hold the plank for a decent amount of time, but as well as a strong core you also need another weapon in your arsenal – mental strength. When you’re beginning to ache, stop yourself and remember you are stronger than you think you are. Not only will this kind of Tough Mudder thinking help you eke out another few seconds, or even minutes, doing the plank, it’s also great mind training for the event, where you’ll be forced to question your abilities at every obstacle. Tough Mudder is just as much about mental power as it is physical prowess.
The Farmer’s Walk exercise is legendary and should definitely be a part of your Mudder training regime. This exercise will help you to prepare for Tough Mudder because it works your forearms, abs, glutes, traps, quads and hamstring. If you don’t have Farmer’s Logs (the equipment Andy Deck uses in the video above), use dumbells or bars instead. When completing the exercise, take short steps and walk quickly. Also, remember to breathe. After all, you’re not going to be much use to your Mudder comrades if you’ve passed out.
There’s nothing fancy about squats. They’re just a good, old-fashioned and hugely effective exercise. And that’s exactly the kind of exercise you need to be doing if you’re training for a Tough Mudder. If you’re fit and strong, squat using weights. If you’re not quite up to using weights yet, stick to squatting using your own bodyweight. Or you could try squatting using just the rack bar. Remember though, technique is key when it comes to squats. Don’t sacrifice form by being too ambitious.
It’s true, you don’t have to have arms as thick as tree trunks to take on the Mudder Madness, but some strength will definitely be a bonus when you’re taking on obstacles like the Cliffhanger®. Dips are a good exercise for building arm strength, as they strengthen your triceps, chest and shoulders. If you don’t have much arm strength you could ask someone to hold your legs to help make this exercise easier. If you’ve got a lot of arm strength and need to push yourself, incorporate weights.
Don’t underestimate the importance of agility. It will help you duck and dart through the diciest of obstacles. To improve your agility, complete ladder drills regularly. Once you’ve completes the ladder drill, do 60 seconds of the alternating step (stepping onto a box or step and lifting your body). This combo will maximise your agility and help you achieve what you didn’t think was possible when you’re out on the Tough Mudder course.
Although these seven exercises will help you prepare for Tough Mudder, you need to do some other strength and CV (cardiovascular) work too if you’re going to proudly conquer the Tough Mudder course. Variety is key, so mix your regime up regularly so that you’re constantly pushing yourself.
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