Before I hit you with the 5 exercises you better master before your next (or first) Tough Mudder I want to send out some mad props to two CIS champions that we have the honour of training at RevCon.
- Robin Bone has won CIS Gold in record setting fashion in the Pole Vault, so the next goal for her is the PanAm Games this summer.
- Stacey Scott and her teammates made history by winning the first ever CIS Gold medal for the Western Women’s Hockey Team with Stacey tallying a goal in the gold medal game.
Congrats to both of you on your huge achievements!
As you know, we don’t just get a kick training Olympic, NHL, and CIS Champions, we love training recreational athletes from a broad spectrum of sports from running your first 5km to dominating your ball hockey league, so that note, it is time for some dirty talk…about the Tough Mudder I mean…
It really isn’t THAT bad, sure jumping in a dumpster filled with ice and water (yes, literally ice in the water) and dunking right under water to get through it, crawling on your belly under barbed wire up to your chin in mud, jumping off a 30ft tall ledge into a murky pond of water and getting zapped by dangling electrical wires that make your knees buckle…okay, that part genuinely sucks – but the rest is not that bad.
But if you are going to do it you need stamina and lots of it, body dexterity so you can get low and still move and upper body strength (leg strength helps too, but upper body strength will limit you more)
1) Pull Ups
Chin ups will help too, but you are more often using a pull up grip to hoist yourself over a wall, hang on by your finger tips or navigate the monkey bars that go up first and then down. Yes, grip strength is important too, but that will come if you are getting proficient with your Pull Ups.
If Pull Ups are your nemesis, join the club, get in line, you are not alone. Start by holding the top position for 3 seconds and then lowering yourself under control to a count of 4 (1-2-3-4), then use a step to get back up to the top position. Start with 4-6 reps like that and build up to 10 – then you should be able to bust out at least on Pull Up.
Do not fool yourself by using the Gravitron at the gym set to 60lbs and think that you are doing great when you can rip off 15 reps like that…not the same.
You will need to run – I mean, there are people that walk the entire thing, but that is going to take a long, long time, so plan to run. Depending on the race you do it may be 5-20k (a real Tough Mudder is typically 10+ miles). Running will help you build your stamina, but again, resist the temptation to go out and plod along for 10-miles at a time. Do some speed workouts, where you run 400m repeats – do 8 of those with a walk of 200m between each one. Do one of those each week. Once per week do a quick paced 3-5 mile run and once per week do a longer 6-10 mile run. That will cover you.
3. Hill Running
There will be hills – I guarantee it and there will be a lot of them and climbing up and down, you need to have climbing legs. Now, when you are in the Mudder, do not feel that you must run up the hills – you will actually probably be faster by power walking them. When Paul and I did our first race at Blue Mountain, we thought it was cheating to walk, so we started by running to the top (and spent the next 3km trying regain our breath and any sensation in our legs), the next time we power walked and passed runners left and right – then when we hit the top, we were ready to motor.
So find a steep hill that takes about 45-60s to run or power walk up (the one at Grosvenor St where it goes into Gibbons Park is idea) and don’t get carried away. Add about 3-5 reps of ‘the hill’ to your regular run 1-2 times per week.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if a little is good more is better – hill training can be hard on your body and the last thing you want is an injury from your training.
4. Push Ups
You will spend quite a bit of time on your belly pulling yourself through mud and tunnels and such. This requires upper body strength and you probably imagined, but also a lot of torso strength so push ups are a great way to get both at the same time.
If you can already do 15 perfect push ups, try adding in these variations that will help in the race…
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5. Best Stretch Ever
You need to be able to get low and move so this dynamic stretch let’s you experience some of those positions that you don’t normally find yourself in over the course of your regular 9-to-5 day. Having good body dexterity will make it much, much easier for you.
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The Myths of the Mudder
- The electricity at the end is ‘not that bad’ – this is what I told myself all the way through the race – ‘it CAN’T be that bad’, ‘I think they just put it there to mess with your mind’ and then I hit it and ZAP!!! buckled at the knees to the point where I almost went face first into the mud pit – I must have looked like a cartoon character as I kicked it into high gear getting another ZAP and another one for good measure ‘ZAP’!!! I have no idea what the deal was, but Paul didn’t find it too bad at all. Weird eh?
- The beer afterwards will taste great. It never does. We have run three marathons and a couple mud runs including a Tough Mudder and at the end you are cold and tired and a little woozie so a beer immediately afterward is not a top priority and never tastes that good to me. The shower at home afterward feels GREAT and the beer you have after said shower is quite good.
So I hope that helps if a Mudder is on your horizon. It is a great way to spend a few hours of your life, there are some good physical challenges and some good mental ones too, it definitely feels great to cross the finish line.
PS – regardless of your sport or your level of proficiency, we can help you improve your performance AND reduce your risk of injury – we always give you a free tryout session so you can see if it is right for you. Email today to get started – info[at]revolutionconditioning.com