Other than being able to run for a few miles the biggest thing you can do to help you prepare for Tough Mudder is getting your upper body strong.
If you cannot do a chin-up or pull-up you probably won’t be able to do many of the climbing obstacles without help or maybe not at all.
Upper Body Strength
Aside from running from obstacle to obstacle the hardest part most people have is getting over walls and climbing ropes, these obstacles require upper body strength.
This is both guys and girls. That means you should be doing pull-ups and lots of them. Here are is the pull up bar I use, these mount in your doorway, no installation needed.
Doing pull-ups is as close to pulling yourself over a wall as you can get.
If you can bang out some pull-ups with ease then you should be able to do the climbing obstacles.
If I could only do five exercises or lifts, one of them would be pull-ups. Pull-ups are an amazing exercise that incorporates multiple muscles and just happens to be some of the same muscles you’ll need during Tough Mudder.
If your not going to lift weights (you should) but if you don’t you should just do pull-ups.
No other better way to gain raw strength. Some people have an aversion to the weight room but if you are doing only running or cardio you are going to have problems with the obstacles.
Lifting weights for 30 minutes three days a week should be enough for you to see results. Here are the dumbbells I use.
You don’t need a full weight set, these should be sufficient for all but the hard core weight lifter.
This is my personal favorite. The rowing machine will give you a total body workout guaranteed to get you in shape. I dare you to go all out and see if you can make it 10 minutes.
What I like to do is, do a few sets with the dumb-bells then hit the rowing machine for 5 minutes. If you’ve ever done CrossFit, I’m sure you’re familiar with this. Keeps the heart rate up.
Rowing is great because it works your arms, back and legs in one smooth, non-jarring motion. It’s good for building your lungs up. You won’t be able to do long durations of it but mix in rowing during your core exercises or weight lifting and you’ll get a great workout.
It will help simulate the Tough Mudder obstacles because during Tough Mudder your going be a little winded when attempting the obstacles. You want to be able to perform well when your heart rate is up and you are breathing hard.
Varying Your Routine
Obstacle races test your body and muscles in ways you probably aren’t used to. So the best thing to do is vary your training as much as possible.
Running is definitely part of any obstacle event but just jogging on the treadmill isn’t the best way to prepare.
Mix up your training by doing sets of sprints, running hills, trail running and variations of flat land running. If you run three days a week make one day a distance run. The second day sprints and the third a trail run or hills. The more you mix it up the more fit you will get and better prepared you’ll be.
The same thing applies to workouts. Don’t just live in the weight room. Do bootcamps, HIIT or Crossfit.
My personal favorite is the P90x workout. This is an awesome workout routine, guaranteed to get you the best shape of your life.
Other activities to do: cycling and spinning classes, lift weights, swimming, climb a rock wall, or kayaking. The more you can mix it up the better. A little bit of everything will get you in better shape, less risk of a repeat motion injury and your body won’t get as used to one exercise. Plus you are less likely to get bored.