Tough Mudder Training Part 1
|The Tough Mudder is going to smash you! So good luck to all of you attempting such an awesome challenge! It’s a very unique event and it’s going to take a lot more than just doing spin bike classes or going out for long runs to get your body ready for it.|
For those of you who don’t already know the Tough Mudder is basically a 20km obstacle course. Obstacles range from things you’d expect – running through tires, climbing walls and crawling through mud – all the way to some pretty wild things – jumping off planks into water, trudging through swamps and running through a field of live wires!
Apparently the event takes – on average – about 3hrs to complete. Now, that’s a looong time to be running and navigating obstacles, so you’d want to make sure that your conditioning in the build-up to the event is covering all bases, seeing to it that you’re at peak performance right on time and that you’ll cross the finish line in one piece :)
Here is a quick list of 5 key areas (as well as a couple of exercise programs to download below) that have worked well for me in conditioning for a big/unique endurance challenge (100 MAN KUMITE), that I think you should consider as part of your training – email us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
1. You’ve gotta be able to walk before you run! Can you move well? Do you have any injuries, pain or niggling problems? These are all signs of postural dysfunction and if you want to remain injury free they should be addressed before getting stuck into tough training.
One of the major issues I see with people when a challenge like this pops up is that they automatically switch to the mindset of the all-or-nothing approach and smash the hell out of themselves. At the risk of sounding boring it’s important to build a strong foundation of mobility and strength before busting out the harder sessions. There’s no point in jumping into an intense challenge like the Tough Mudder if you’re currently nursing an injury or if you ‘re so restricted when you perform natural movements such as squatting or lifting that you feel uncomfortable and sore.
It is fun jumping into tough or dynamic activity but you should be realistic about your current strength and fitness levels. Plus, in taking the time to build a strong foundation you’ll be at less risk of pain or injury.
Try this workout BIG 4 WORKOUT as part of your base level conditioning.
Download the ‘Foundation Exercises’ PDF (below) for some exercises you should have under your belt before moving on.
2. Toughen up! The Tough Mudder will smash your legs – be ready for it! As I said above, the Tough Mudder takes around 3 hours to finish, in that time your legs will have skipped through tires, run up hills, jumped over obstacles and sprinted to the finish line. Needless to say they will be fried at the end – they’re going to be shocked in a way you haven’t felt before.
A great way to prepare your legs for such a beating, is to develop their lactic tolerance with a couple of awesome training drills you may have seen in a few of our videos – The Leg Crank & Hill Sprints.
Neither of these require a lot of space or time to complete but both will see your explosive power go through the roof!
3.Top Shelf. The Tough Mudder hasn’t forgotten about your arms! You’re going to be climbing over walls and up nets and then across monkey bars – all while you’re extremely fatigued. If you can’t pull your own body weight around then you’re going to be in trouble!
If you can, get to your local play-ground at some point to practice on the monkey bars as it's the most specific upper body condtioning you can get for the Tough Mudder.
Download the ‘Chin-Up Variations’ and ‘Push-Up Challenge’ PDFs (below) for some awesome exercises that’ll build your strength quickly.
4. Going the distance. Yes the Tough Mudder is a long distance event and your endurance will need to be right up there, but simply running and punishing yourself for long periods IS NOT beneficial for your conditioning.
This may sound weird for a few of you reading this but I can speak from personal experience that you don’t need to train for hours on end to reach optimal performance for a 3 hour endurance event. For my conditioning for the 100 MAN KUMITE (4 hours of fighting 100 rounds) my conditioning sessions very rarely went over an hour in length – if you’re training well in that time you’ll find your endurance will increase dramatically!
You may enjoy long distance or prolonged exercise, which is fine as we all have our own preferences, but just remember that prolonged activity actually causes a breakdown of your body – not growth, which we are after.
5. Don’t over do it. Your goal right now should be to reach peak performance and energy, free of pain and injury just in time for the big event. As I mentioned above, it is fun to jump into the explosive, dynamic training all the time but it’s not sustainable.
Plan your training with this in mind, listen to your body – are you tired, are you eating enough, are you moving well? Don’t try and squeeze every element of the Tough Mudder into single training sessions.
Structure your training well, listen to your body and you’ll be ready to put in an awesome performance at the Tough Mudder! Read our GET IT RIGHT article for some pointers on structuring workouts for maximum benefit.
The Tough Mudder is an awesome test of human strength and endurance and your body will be able to perform some pretty amazing things if you listen to it and treat it well .
Good luck with your training!
You can read the other articles in our Tough Mudder Training series here:
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